Crazy Cabover: White 3000 COE Sleeper

COE or Cab Over Engine trucks were a staple in the trucking industry for decades.  They were partially developed due to length limits imposed by the government for commercial vehicles.  By placing the cab over the engine you can haul a longer trailer.  Longer trailer = more cargo = more income.  This White brand truck is found for sale here on eBay with an asking price of $4,000.  There is also a “parts” cab that can be purchased for an additional $2,000, or for $3,000 by itself.  Both trucks are located in York, South Carolina and have the potential to be a fun and unique project.  The ad doesn’t state what year the trucks are, which probably indicates they don’t have a title.

This truck looks like it may do a forward roll if the brakes were applied hard enough!  In this photo, you can see the dual-sided gas tank that straddles the frame.  You also get a good look at the sleeper cab.  Sleepers were fairly rare during the early years of trucking.  When President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, he paved the way (pun intended) for the Interstate Highway System.  This provided maintained roads across the country and allowed truckers to deliver their cargo over a multi-day trip.  Thus the sleeper cab became more popular.

These trucks certainly have their share of rust.  They appear to have spent a lot of time outside in the elements and probably haven’t seen a road under their own power for decades.  Along with the rust, finding parts to complete a restoration will certainly be a challenge.  The ad does state that the “parts” cab is relatively rust free.  Maybe a skilled welder can combine the best of both cabs to make one solid one?

If you have a hard time visualizing the potential of this project, check out this photo.  These trucks can be really fun and make great haulers for other collector cars or they can stand alone as a restored project.  Can you imagine rolling up to the car show in this truck with a cool hot rod on a trailer behind it?  I can.


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  1. DrinkinGasoline

    I grew up in Cleveland when White was still active. Thanks for the reference link Montana. We had quite a few of these running around town as tractors as well as straight trucks. I would love to tool around town with one like it but at my age, i wouldn’t put the time and effort into this one. I do hope it finds a home and is preferably restored.

    Like 2
  2. Joseph Wayne Haddock

    Very cool find. I’ve actually driven one of these in the 70’s hauling oilfield equipment in northeast Oklahoma. We named her Maxine. What always stick with me was the electric over hydraulic single tilt ram that tilted the cab. Really cool truck.

  3. Beatnik Bedouin

    That’s a lot of ferrous oxide to deal with for $6K…

    These used to be a pretty common sight around SoCal back in the 1950s/60s, and I’d suggest that one could find a better example, out west.

    Every time I see one of these I remind myself of the Allison-powered one that the late Tex Collins built as an exhibition drag machine (which dropped something like 27 quarts of motor oil at Lion’s!)…

    … and Rob Crumb comics from the 1960s (cheeky grin).

    Like 1
    • Brakeservo

      I saw that Allison powered truck when I was a kid in North Hollywood – he’d also set a BMW Isetta body on top of an Allison V12 as well — I can’t imagine it ever drove. Does anyone else remember these cars? I think the shop was on Magnolia, it might have been Burbank Boulevard though.

      Like 1
    • Steven Ligac

      Yes, Crumb could have drawn these trucks! Great reference.

  4. Paulbz3

    I’m very curious as to the model year of this truck.

    Looking at the picture of a fully restored example makes me ponder what wonderful adventures long haul trucking was like back in the early days of Ike’s interstate system. I’m sure there were bad days but oh, what a view that must’ve been seeing America unfold as never before looking out from the driver’s seat of this rig.

    Finished up to match a fifth wheel RV trailer (one of the period, even better) would be a fun thing to do with this now. Wife in the passenger seat and the Shelties on the bed behind. I’d stay off the interstate and hit as many national parks as time and money would allow. Canoe, fish, cook and repeat…

    Like 3
  5. JW

    I like that blue & white restored one but these two featured would be a labor of love if even finished.

  6. glen

    This thing is beautiful, …no really!, I love it. If it ran safely, I’d leave it like this, except, of course, the seat. It looks so awesome.This isn’t a rat-rod, this is , lets say, “weathered”.


    It would make a cool “Stubby Bob” Wheelie truck via Roadkill

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    Used to see the odd one on the road back in the 60s but even by then most of them had been retired. Restoration is the order of the day but it would take some serious dedication. I sure hope it finds a good home….

    Like 1
  9. Vegaman_Dan

    Love the design. Two different cabs though as the spare is not a sleeper. Look at the fuel tanks and the saddle across the frame rails. That is beautiful design as an art form.

    Love it. Throw a military trailer bed on the back and still retail 5th wheel use for a travel trailer or gooseneck flatbed.

    Very cool. Just stock up on tetanus shots first!

    Like 1
  10. Classic Steel

    Barf this three wheeler truck is ugly !

    Restore it and put some painted on teeth on the front grill to complete the picture of this scary idol like heap 😜👀👀👀

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Do you ever have anything good to say?

      Like 2
  11. Bob

    The first large truck I road in, was a regular cab version of this truck. That was back in 1950, when this type of truck was fairly common. I can’t imagine how big my eyes were when I saw that trailer behind us. I would love to make a clean, stock driver out of that truck. It is one of those styles that is iconic.

  12. Dave Mc

    Back in the day you would need a sleeper to get from Podunk to Pixley.

    Like 1
  13. Dick Johnson

    Spent a bit of time in one. With the “Mustang” engine, she would pull a 40 footer at 70mph, and deliver a really smooth ride with seemingly no effort. A real workhorse, the beast would deliver a high 90s dispatch reliability.

    Like 2
  14. Canadian Mark S. Eh! Member

    Boy are those two cabs ever crusty! You’d have to really want one to bring these two trucks back from the dead. It would be nice to see them restored though.

  15. Rube Goldberg Member

    Thanks to Montana for a pretty good description of trucking in the 50’s. Railroad was king, and most goods moved by rail to terminals in city’s and small trucks would deliver it from there. Sleepers were indeed rare, and usually reserved for on demand goods, such as perishables. Most times, these were team driven, and one drove while the other slept. Remember, on all 2 lanes, it took a LONG time to get coast to coast and these trucks never stopped. It was a rough life, not like the rolling apts. of today. The 3000 changed very little over it’s run, but the sleeper and large tanks suggest this is a later 50’s or even early 60’s, when interstate travel increased, as the author states, as they were made well into the 60’s. ( 67 last year I believe) I love old trucks, obviously, but even this would be a challenge. Maybe a grand for both units is all I’d go..

    Like 2
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Oh, another tip off it’s a later model, the “West Coast” mirrors that became popular in the late 50’s early 60’s.

      Like 2
      • Metoo

        Wow, good catch! Because no one could possibly have added on newer mirrors later.

      • Rube Goldberg Member

        Not sure if that was sarcasm, apparently, what this site is getting known for, but truck mirrors in the 50’s were a luxury. Most trucks still had the small round mirrors, as there was generally nobody next to you. Once 4 lanes came into existence, it became necessary to have bigger mirrors.

        Like 2
  16. Maestro1

    Montana, this would be a hell of a project for a truck person. I remember seeing these Whites on the road. Someone needs a lot of talent and dollars to do it, and
    they should and then enjoy.

  17. Brakeservo

    There’s a fairly rust-free one just outside of Deming, New Mexico on the east side of the highway towards Silver City. Been for sale for a number of years now.

    Like 1
  18. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    In an era they did rule…

  19. Madmatt

    This is really a great artifact ☺️ ,and reminds me of my grandfather. He drove truck most of his life,from the 1930’s til the early 70’s,and I’m not sure,but I think he had one of these at one time.He had a bunch of old semi trucks in his woods,along with many old cars.It was always my favorite place to visit,and the hardest for me to leave as a kid😀….!

    Like 1
  20. Snotty

    Early truck aerodynamics!

  21. MathieuB

    Never seen one!

  22. Rob M.

    Man, I love these old trucks. My favorite though is the round-fender Macks. When I was a kid there was a business near our school that had a half dozen or so of the Macks sitting in a lot all dilapitated. My buddies and I would jump up into them and pretend to grind some gears, honk the air horn, and hit the air brakes, all with the appropriate sounds (insert “grinding sound”, womp, womp, and chi chi here) Always wanted to learn to drive a big rig and actually had a friend who was going to teach me on the side but sadly he passed away before he could. Maybe it’s not too late? Do they take 50 year olds? lol

    Like 2
    • Rube Goldberg Member

      You must mean the “B” model Macks. Neat styling but not so nice to drive. There is no age requirement to drive a semi. All that’s needed is to pass the medical exam.( good luck with that) I’ve known drivers in their 70’s driving trucks( mostly because, the industry is strapped for drivers, and there are very few things an older person, who is out of options, can do for a job. After spending over 35 years as a truck driver, now retired, I can honestly say, it’s not what it used to be.

      Like 1
      • JoeBazots

        I drove from 2000 to 2010. Health sidelined me. I can honestly say, having continued some contact w/ the industry, that it has changed drastically even since I was out there. Not sure I’d do it for a living under the current environment. The way big companies treat drivers combined w/ how regulated they are, someone considering driving as a career would almost do as well to go get a job at the local grocery store. Drivers haven’t really seen any kind of cost of living increase in decades. Having said that, this is a really cool old cabover. Had I the room and the money, I’d jump on this in a second. Would make a really cool RV hauler.

        Like 2
      • jerry tobler

        u can do anything if u put ur mind to it. Been driving for 49 years now. Im 72 and still at it. drove 48 kb8 inc. 57 gmc 68 72 74 inc frist truck had a 18 in bunk than next one had 24 in bunk than a big one at 32 now I have a 72 in bunk, 1980 frist power steering. Now most truck have a auto shift tran.

        Like 3
  23. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I am sure they would take you Rob. The industry is begging for drivers. Pretty sure thats why there are so many auto trannys out there now. I am 62 and get calls in the spring for driving during the planting season.

    Like 1
  24. Jay E.

    I would not have seen that ruust heap ever looking like the restored photo, but they look pretty good when redone. I know quite a few log truck drivers that are still getting up at 4am putting in long days at 70 years. Seems to keep them young.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      So would a 25 year old Victoria Secret model,,,but that ain’t gonna happen,,,
      Even retired, I still toss and turn at 1am, because for 35 years, that was my schedule.

      Like 1
      • JoeBazots

        When I came off the road, there were all sorts of funny carryovers. I could hardly sleep because it was too quiet. I had no engine idling to sing me to sleep. Driving my little 1/2 ton pickup feld weird because the steering wheel was too small and I was always reaching for the shifter that wasn’t there. I still take power naps every day. My coworkers crack up because I eat a quick lunch and then go to my pickup and take a 20/ 30 minute nap.

        Like 1
      • Rube Goldberg Member

        Hi Joe, things sure have changed. I started driving trucks in the late 70’s, so I missed out on these types of trucks, but make no mistake, I listened to the old timers that drove these, and it helped me go over 3 million miles without an accident or speeding ticket( lot’s of overweight fines, tho) I came from a time, where the driver made the determination to keep going, or take a nap. I would run around the clock, as long as I felt good. 2 logbooks were the norm.( you can get it real close with a pencil, my 1st boss said) Today, sadly, a few bad apples ruined it for everybody, and as of Jan.1st, ALL trucks, including O/O’s are required to have an ELD.( electronic logging device)( goes right to the Pentagon, I figure) and drivers can only drive 10 hours and then a 14 hour break. I refused to be part of that silliness, and pulled the pin after 35 years. This truck would make a great RV or haul a flatbed with toys on, but even I would not want to be in this tin can for weeks at a time.

        Like 2
      • Clint

        Rube; it’s 11 hours of driving in a 14 hour window. In other words; if you start @ 6 am then you must be finished by 8 pm. You also cannot be on duty for more than 8 hours without taking a half hour break. You still can do 70 hours in 8 days. You can reset that 70 hours by taking 36 consecutive hours off. You can only split sleeper birth by 8 hours and two hours. No more taking a nap while traffic thins out. And if you did…no way in heck are you going to find a parking spot.

        As for the ELD….the info goes to your office. If you get pulled; then you have to be able to show the officer your 7 days of logs.

        Like 1
      • Rube Goldberg Member

        Thanks Clint. I’ve been out of the loop for almost 10 years, and refused to be any part of that foolishness. I was an “outlaw” trucker. Never hurt or killed anyone, but did what it took to get the job done, and I wasn’t the only one doing that.

        Like 2
      • Clint

        Rube…if I wasn’t so old & dumb; I’d park the keys as well. Too old to try to do something else.

        I’ve been an outlaw most of my career. I ran my first interstate load @ 19 yrs of age. My dad was an old school driver & taught me the finer points of multiple log books. I currently work the loophole of trucks built prior to 2000 can stay on paper. I have a 1999 KW T-600.

        Parking is a freakin’ nightmare now. Most of the older truck stops are marked for 48′ trailers and a cab over. I’ve got a 53′ wagon with a 260″ wb tractor. I’m 73′ and the reason that one parking space is available is because the wheel holders can’t get into it. My tractor has its 3rd hood because these morons don’t understand the dynamics of backing.

        I could go on….but I degress.

        Like 1
  25. Bob

    A retired friend of mine was an owner/driver, and the best way of summarizing his experience, was that he went through a lot of money, but not much stuck to him.
    Another friend, sold his truck, a beautiful “Pete”, and at the age of 55 retrained as a welder, and is working up in Northern Alberta in the oil sands. He is commuting 1000 miles to work, but still feels that he is doing better now than when he was driving.
    In the early 60, I drove part time for the CPR, and the guys I worked with, had a rewarding career through to retirement. I think a guy has to be very lucky to find this kind of stability anymore.

  26. Simon

    This looks like its from Fallout

    Like 1
  27. Dustin

    I’ve never seen a White 3000 with a sleeper cab before. Very interesting

  28. lbpa18

    Rube and the rest, I love reading this. Only in my dreams. The old roads traveled, the slower pace on two lanes, even as an outlaw. I hope you guys recognize you are lucky to have been part of it all. As far as the White, they were obviously purpose-built with the art deco look of a professional rig. Love to have one.

    Like 2
  29. chrlsful

    luv how small these were (geta modern dually bed on there?). Wish they were 4WD!
    See abuncha Macs (longer hood, not CO) at the annual antique truck show, Deerfield, MA (May is it?). Some models (Brockway?) R just as small. Mini Macs. Modern cummins 6, allison auto, modern air (conditioning’n breaks) –
    “White 3000? welcome to da 21st Century!” She’d B so happy, don’t U wanna participate?

  30. Cody

    I read through the whole article looking for a LT3 or something crazy. Then it finally occurred to me, “oh sleeper cab”. Duh

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