Legacy Classic Trucks restomodded a 1937 Kenworth 706 Mount Rainier touring bus
Visiting America's national parks has been a staple of American family life for more than a century. The Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899 and is one of the five oldest national parks - a list that includes Yellowstone, Yosemite, General Grant (now part of Kings Canyon), and Sequoia.
From 1937 to 1962, five 1937 Kenworth touring buses transported guests visiting Mount Rainier from the Winthrop Hotel in Tacoma and Olympic Hotel in Seattle to the park.
Art Redford purchased one of the buses in 1985. In 2009, Redford and Frank Pupo donated that bus to the Mount Rainier National Park. At the time of its donation, the Covington Reporter interviewed Redford and Pupo who told them that, "the coach is one of only five built by Kenworth between 1937 and 1938. Three still remain active, one in Sitka, Alaska, one in Montana and the one [they owned]."
Throughout the years, the duo allowed the park to use the coach to celebrate important events, including its Centennial inn 1999. Recently, Legacy Classic Trucks was given the opportunity to restore one of the original five models.
"Today, most people associate Kenworth with large format semi-trucks, but the company actually manufactured buses as part of its business back in the thirties," said Legacy Classic Trucks Founder Winslow Bent. "Decades have passed, but the Kenworth Mount Rainier tour buses delighted travelers for years and years. When we were presented with the rare chance to work on the bus, we knew it was just too cool to pass up. Our work at Legacy Classic Trucks is focused on giving workhorses like the Mount Rainier Tour Bus a new life, and we can't think of a more deserving vehicle. This tour bus has brought so much happiness to the world."
During its lifespan, the bus logged thousands of miles and visitors. As part of its restoration, Legacy Classic Trucks equipped the model with a six-cylinder Hercules JXD engine that they mated to the vehicle's original manual five-speed transmission. The bus now is able to produce 130 horsepower. The first three gears are all compound low gears that originally assisted in climbing and descending the steep mountain passes of Mt. Rainier. Legacy upgraded the bus with 20x6 Budd wheels and shoed it with Bias Ply Tires.
The long body of the bus had its rust repaired by Legacy and it was repainted its original flame red shade. It features retro-style gauges and instrument paneling designed to give a feeling of nostalgia. The bus's wood flooring is original to the vehicle.
The bench seating received an upgrade. The seats are now covered in leather made from 23 hides of imported Italian leather. In total, the bus can seat up to 18 people in the cabin. Ann open top canopy system allows passengers to see their surroundings while riding.
"Interestingly, the Mount Rainier Kenworth Bus was actually brought to us by a long-time customer who thought Legacy could have some fun with this project," continues Bent. "Restoring a classic bus like this takes an insane amount of work. A larger format vehicle demands an exacting amount of detail, so the restoration is more extensive. However, it was one of the most rewarding processes in our company's history, and Legacy couldn't be happier with how everything turned out restoring this bonafide piece of automotive history."
The fully restored Legacy Mount Rainier Kenworth Tour Bus is available now priced at $580,000.