Pickup Conversion Candidate? 1952 White 300 COE

COE projects are always so compelling. The art deco design is extremely attractive, and you know that trucks like this White 3000 will look absolutely killer when someone builds a high-quality rat rod out of it. And while commercial-grade trucks tend to consume a fair bit of real estate, one like this 1952 example with no bed on the back at least looks easier to store, as you can slide the rear end under a carport or a deck while the nose hangs out. Of course, that’s the least of your concerns when it comes to rescuing a long-dead truck like this, which will need total restoration – but it at least comes with a running six-cylinder engine. Find the White COE here on eBay with bidding just over $3,000 and the reserve unmet.

The seller thinks this example should be converted to a pickup-style body, which is actually something I would love to see. While it may run, the White is not yet drivable. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as very few of the working rigs that entered retirement years ago are still used for daily chores. The powered cab tilt feature still works, but there’s lots of other equipment that is currently DOA. The shift linkage is jammed up and the truck is firmly in neutral, and the brakes are also non-functioning. For whatever reason, the brake and clutch pedals have been removed, so you’ll have to sort that out as well (the pedals are included.) Yes, it has some quibbles, but the seller confirms it is largely straight and true, with no evidence of rust-through to report.

Luxury was not exactly on the menu when it came to tractor-trailer cabs, particularly in the 1950s. You were lucky to get a seat belt, which is why it’s accurate for the seller to point out that there isn’t much to report from inside the truck except for the two sections of upholstery used on the front seats. Both seats need fresh material and likely new foam as well to make them remotely pleasant to drive. The most interesting detail about this White COE (to my eyes, anyway) is that the seller contends the truck can easily be converted to an extended cab or a sleeper cab model given the space behind the front seats, which is currently occupied by a shelf. Having sleeping quarters would make this vintage White pickup infinitely more appealing.

Now, I happen to have a personal connection to this model of White COE, as there is one of these on the Georgia property I am helping to clear out. You can read the post on some of the old trucks we have on the property here, which also includes a photo or two of the White I have for sale. It’s a neat specimen but certainly, one that will need a fair amount of work, not unlike our subject truck that’s located in Eureka, Montana. I can assure you the White in Montana has far less rust than mine does down in Georgia, but the shipping costs for a truck this size will be a major deciding factor in terms of which zip code you go shopping for one in. Would you convert it to a pickup bed or leave it as-is?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    The White “3G”, growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, there wasn’t a more popular truck for city deliveries. You name it, the White 3000 probably had an aftermarket supplier to create anything you wanted. Most came from the factory just like this. Garbage tru,,oops, I mean, refuse packers, coal deliveries( yep, the grade school I attended, the boiler was fired by coal. Lucky was the kid, me, that got to see the truck unload, until the teacher caught me, that is,”HOWARD, what was the name of the pirate in Treasure Island?,,,Oh, oh, dang it, who cares, I’m going to be a truck driver anyways) freight box, tanker, again, you name it. It wasn’t until 1957 when Ford introduced the C series, White began to sweat, and concentrated on their HD conventional market. Mounting a cab like this to a modern chassis will be a big job, again, depending greatly on what you want to do with it. Very cool find, the sky is the limit here.

    Like 19
    • On and On On and On Member

      As kids we played in a coal company yard next to the railroad tracks by my house in Chicago. Friends had coal fired boilers with stokers in the basement. Our house had a converted ‘Octopus’ gravity hot air furnace from coal to gas. Most houses had old coal doors. Yikes, what a blast from the past Howard. Thank you.

      Like 11
    • Gunnar

      Howard,maybe you can remember when Ed Kramer and sons had a fleet of these with 5-,6 yard gravel boxes. That was in the late 50’s or early 60’s, back when almost all of the backroads in Richland County were gravel. They also had tri-axle Autocars. Their paint scheme was a red frame,Grey cab and orange box. They were always polished and looked like new. As a kid I always wanted to drive one of them. As luck would have it in the 70’s I drove for a Milwaukee contractor that had purchased 2 of the Autocars. 105 and 85. I got my wish.

      Like 4
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Gunnar, do I know you? I sure do remember Kraemer, Plain, Wis. not the cabovers, but a good friend was their leadman for years, Mike Reed( aka Pigman) I remember Max Tremmel had a couple old Kraemer trucks. I drove for Paul Schmit in the late 70’s and 80’s,( he recently died at age 94!!!) and did a lot of rock hauling. Remember a guy named Breezly? Drove for John Reimer? Killed himself @age 65. Another company I worked for , L.Mills Blacktop( a division of Amon) had a couple old A-Car tri-axles they used as yard trucks. They were a beast to drive.

        Like 3
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Eureka, dangerously close. 160 miles west as the crow flies. Since there’s a major mountain range you’ll either have to be a crow or fly an airplane. Lots of these out west but length restrictions weren’t quite as tough so in 1952 you were just as likely to find a conventional cab. Still enough to attract attention though. Restoration wouldn’t be a super major task although you would be well-advised to pull it right down. Would have to do some comparison checks but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get a new master cylinder and wheel cylinders. Drums are going to be a bear but I know of an outfit in MI that can recondition them. A trailer/brake shop can reline the shoes. Of course, once you get this redone there’s going to be the question of what to do with it. A roll-back would be good. I do know of a couple of these running Cummins 8.3 power and hauling show cars and tractors.

    Like 12
  3. Dave

    I didn’t read the previous two books, but to answer the authors question: I think this would make an awesome looking pickup

    Like 5
  4. Wayne

    There were a yard full of these on the south side of Chicago in the ’60s. (just a little ways south of the Sherwin Williams plant) I always looked at these and try to imagine what I would do with one as I thought that they were cool then.
    An yes a very cool pick-up was one of the options. I never got around to even checking them out. Was by there a few months ago and they are gone. (As is the Sherwin Williams plant so the air is cleaner now!) I would still like to do one some day If I live that long!

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Wayne, are you talking about the yard that was just off I-94, south of the 57 split, on the west side of the highway? If so, been more than a few months. I did most of my trucking in and around Chicago, and I remember a yard, kind of near that stinky power plant, had a slew of old trucks. This was in the 90’s, however, and I wanted to stop, but it was a poor area, and not much time. One day, it was all gone.

      Like 4
      • GCS Member

        That extra cab section puts it over the top. It had to ride painfully. I’d start with an air seat after trying to get it running.
        Then see which way to go if a Cummins fell in my hands. Look into a new LCF for frame/drivetrain. Could be cool but part of me likes it stock.

        Like 2
  5. Bill Garland

    My father had 3 of these trucks in our heating oil business in Carlisle Pa. I drove a 57 and a 61 and they were very reliable. A 5 speed with 5 direct transmission and a shift pattern that would cover half the cab. Most had the flathead 6 White Mustang engine. I do remember the cab being cold in the winter and hot in the summer but very solid. This should be restored back to original condition.

    Like 3
  6. Ken Carney

    Sure would make a dynamite scrap hauler
    wouldn’t it? Put one of those hydraulic kits
    under that custom made pickup bed, and
    call it done! And fuel, I could make my own
    biodeisel! Plenty of restaurants around here to get the used frying oil I’d need to
    pull it off. The only offensive odor there’d
    be would be the smell of french fries as you drove down the road!

    Like 1
  7. Jay E. Member

    As soon as I saw this I thought Garbage Truck!! All the garbage trucks when I was a kid had this body. Very distinctive, and they were around for a long time.

    Like 4
  8. Wayne

    Hi Howard A. They were on the west side of I-94 (I guess in that location it was/is called the Calumet Expressway) in a vacant lot. The last/closest exit was 115th street. And they were south of that. Remember, this was the 1960s. The Sherwin Williams plant was right there on 115th and I-94.(south west corner) I wasn’t surprised that the trucks were gone. (It’s been 50 years since I drove by there last.) But I was surprised that the SW plant was gone. (As in there is no longer a building on that spot.) It does smell better there now. (Still not wonderful)

    Like 1
  9. Richard Kirschenbaum

    This gorgeous truck screams “Make me a flatbed hauler. Pleasssssssssssssssseeeeee

    Like 2
    • Brian

      Ive seen quite a few cabovers at car shows but never one if these. I like this body style and would love to see one done as a pickup or flatbed.

      Like 2
  10. JudoJohn

    Reminds me of the Marshall Tucker song, 24 Hours at a Time: “I got this White going 70 miles an hour, ya know she’s down to the floor”.

  11. FireAxeGXP

    What Brian amd Richard said I heartily endorse. Off to buy another car?? Why bother with trailers? Get one.of these and flat bed it. What a beaut it will make someone!! Sadly not me as I have 2 cars on my list in front of it already. But whomever ends up with it is a lucky man.

    Like 3

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