Owned by the Lever family and preserved by Driver Classics
Australia in the late 1940s had not seen a bus this advanced
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White Trucks Australia imported this 798-12 route bus from the White Motor Corporation plant in Cleveland, Ohio USA when it came off the line in December 1948, with the hope of creating interest and in turn orders, primarily from government authorities, for this very advanced route bus.
Between 1937 and 1948, White Motor Corporation built 1,532 model 788-12s and 798-12s. Forty five of the 798-12s were built right hand drive (RHD), with all but this one operating for the City of Kingston on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. To our knowledge, all of the Jamaican Whites are gone with this being the only example left in the world of a RHD White 798-12.
As part of its Australia wide inaugural demonstration tour, it was put into service with the New South Wales Department of Government Transport for a three month trial in 1950 to show off its impressive performance and reliability. It was substantially more advanced than other buses of the day with integral construction, a 35 foot length…5 feet more than any permissible length at the time, an aluminium body and effortless performance from its 12 cylinder, horizontally opposed, under floor petrol engine.
Unfortunately the White 798-12 was launched when the Commonwealth Government acted to freeze trade with the USA by restricting currency exchange to force Australia to deal with the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries. The 798-12 also had an unhealthy appetite for petrol and with government and private orders not forthcoming, no further White 798-12s were brought into Australia.
In May 1952, the White was advertised for sale for 6,950 pounds and in March 1953, the White was sold to Quodling Brothers, Queanbeyan, ACT where it operated the Canberra – Queanbeyan route service. The Quodling Brothers repowered the White in 1958 with an AEC diesel engine and ZF 6 speed transmission which improved its fuel economy considerably. The Jamaicans also repowered their 44 White 798-12s, but with Leyland engines and then rebranded them as ‘Whitleys’.
In 1977, Quodling Brothers sold their business to Doug and Dawn Lever and the White continued in service with Lever Coach Lines.
The Levers also operated the White on the Canberra-Queanbeyan service and later, on school services until 1990, when they sold their business. They did not however, sell the White.
The Levers bought Bega Valley Bus Lines in Bega, NSW and the White was taken to Bega…for its retirement.
Driver Classics are proud to preserve and maintain the White, now based in Melbourne, on behalf of the owners, Doug and Dawn Lever and their family.
The 798-12 was originally powered with a White 12 cylinder, 681ci, 210hp, horizontally opposed petrol engine with a 3 speed White transmission. Today it still has the repowered AEC 11.3 litre 690 six cylinder diesel engine mounted under floor but now with a Fuller 5 speed transmission.
1930 Pontiac 29-6
1946 Bedford OB
1947 Bedford OB
1948 GM PD 4151
1948 White 798-12
1954 Flxible Clipper
1959 Bedford SB3
1961 GM PD-4106
1968 GMC PD 4107
1972 MCI MC7
1976 MCI MC8
1983 GM Denning
1988 Denning Landseer
1989 Eagle Model 20
1977 Kenworth W925
1986 Kenworth W925
1950 Dodge Pick Up
1962 Ford Thunderbird
1968 Ford Fairlane