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It's been a long time since anything like the Open Top Touring automobiles has hit the road here in Banff. They have a retro flair that's one-of-a-kind. Years in the making, the development, design and manufacturing of these uniquely stylish tour automobiles was a blend of historic inspiration and modern ingenuity.

"Old White"

During the 1930s, Jim Brewster and his legendary company were at the forefront of sightseeing tours in the Canadian Rockies. He'd been in the business for decades at this point and was keen to keep ahead of trends. With the advent of the automobile, travellers were able to see more and do so while enjoying a whole new level of comfort.

Old White was an open-topped bus that ran on the streets in and around Banff in 1938 and was manufactured by White Co. It's been beautifully restored and often makes its way down Banff Avenue even today for special events and parades. Old White, and Jim Brewster's personal sense of stylish hospitality, were the inspiration for the brand-new Open Top Touring automobiles.

A view from behind a group of people on a tour bus.

One-of-a-kind Vehicles

Pursuit partnered with Prefix, a family-owned manufacturer in Michigan that has specialized in complex, unique and "high concept" vehicles for 40 years.

"From high performance race cars to multi-passenger tour vehicles and even electric big rig trucks, Prefix has been involved with hundreds of innovative vehicle projects," says Prefix's Eric Foster.

When it came to the Open Top Touring vehicle, Prefix and Pursuit were both inspired by the historic beauty of Banff.

"The vintage 1930s styling, attractive design and convenient roll-back canvas roof was created to provide an enhanced experience to guests, while still providing the comfort and safety of a modern vehicle," Foster says.

Touring Banff in Vintage Style

Back in the 1930s, touring the Canadian Rockies was a swanky affair. Tourism was still a novelty. When visitors toured, they were usually well-dressed and received "white glove" service from their drivers and guides.

Each row of seating has its own door allowing guest separation and the driver to really deliver that personalized service. The drivers share lively and fun stories as they lead guests through the beautiful, windy mountain roads around Banff.

That Open Top

With a removable roof (just like the one on Old White), guests can really enjoy the spectacular sights of the mountains that soar way above head. If the weather is not as nice, we can put the glass roof in so that all the sights can still be enjoyed, says Leah Corbiel, Guest Experience Manager for Open Top Touring.

Guests can even stand up and take photos from the open roof at some of the most iconic sights in the Canadian Rockies!

A historic photo of a tour bus parked in front of a stone building and snow-covered mountains.

Creating a Buzz

When the prototype was first spotted in Banff late in 2019, many heads turned at the uniquely stylish vehicle. It created quite a buzz in Banff. And now that guests are able to hop on board themselves, the Open Top Touring team is excited to bring an informative and comfortable experience to a ride that's so cool.

Prefix's Eric Foster says the result is a vehicle that's as comfortable and stylish as it is head-turning.

"From the beautifully constructed leather and wood interior, to the vintage lines of the body and front end, the tour bus vehicles are incredible works of art, and something visitors will enjoy as much as the beautiful landscape."

Banff tours have never looked this good!

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