WHITE 798 CITY BUS

Between 1940 and 1948, White Motor Co. of America built the White 798 City Bus, where they were a common sight. Detroit, for example, operated 130 from 1946 until 1960. They were not such a common sight in Australia, where buses of the 1940s were primarily of British origin. 

 

Then, in 1948, Maurie Point, the Australian agent for White Trucks Pty Ltd, imported this White 798 City Bus. At 35ft long with a huge 12-cylinder petrol engine, underfloor mounted, nothing like it had ever been seen in Australia! Apart from being right-hand drive, it was virtually identical to ones operating in America.

 

Unfortunately, unlucky timing would see that this was the only bus of its type to make it to Australia - shortly after its arrival in 1948, the Commonwealth Government acted to freeze the purchase of American dollars to buy goods from that country.

 

White Trucks then demonstrated the bus around the country for various operators, including a three-month stint for the NSW Department of Government Transport in 1950 where it operated between Rockdale and Brighton-le-Sands. Following the completion of these demonstrations, and with no orders having been placed, White Trucks advertised the bus for sale in May 1952 for £6,950. 

 

In March 1953, Quodling Brothers of Queanbeyan purchased the bus for operation on their expanding Canberra - Queanbeyan service. It was registered (NSW) MO-3101. 

In 1958, the bus was sent to Sydney where J.E. Taylor Pty Ltd of Lakemba replaced the fuel-thirsty 12-cylinder petrol engine with an AEC AH690 horizontal diesel engine. The 3-speed White gearbox was also replaced by a 6-speed ZF transmission.

 

The bus continued operating the Canberra - Queanbeyan service. Quodlings was sold to the Lever family in 1977, who continued to operate the bus. In the later years, the bus was retired from route service but was kept registered and operational as a standby school bus. Between 1990 and 2000, the Levers sold their Queanbeyan services, but kept the White, and started running Bega Valley Coaches. 

 

It has been fully restored and is in operational condition. This most historic bus is on loan to the Museum from Bega Valley Coaches and Doug Lever. 

 

Specifications: 

Engine (as imported):

White 681 12-cylinder horizontally opposed petrol, underfloor mid-mount, 11.14 litre displacement. Output 210 h.p. at 2800 r.p.m.

 

Engine (as preserved):

AEC AH 690 six-cylinder horizontal underfloor mid-mounted, 11.3 litre displacement. Output 168 h.p. at 2000 r.p.m. 

 

Transmission:

(as imported): three speed synchromesh. 

(as preserved): ZF six speed synchromesh.

 

Brakes: Westinghouse air operated and a manual hand brake to rear of transmission. 

© 2019 Sydney Bus & Truck Museum Limited

 

Images courtesy:
David Wilson, Liam Brundle, Greg Travers, John Ward, Steve Burrows, Dean Jones