Speedster Conversion: 1913 White Project


This speedster was once a police “squad wagon” for the St. Paul Minnesota Police department and then it was converted to a fire truck. It’s been in storage since the late 1960s. The steering box and column were repositioned and the seat and tank added to make it an oversized speedster. It’s for sale in Lawton, Iowa with an asking of $10,900. The brakes work, the engine is free and the transmission and clutch seem to work. The haven’t tried to start it yet though.


This is the truck when it was a fire engine in 1916. It’s from the Twin Cities Fire Dept. historical website. To quote: “Work began in 1916 to convert this 1913 White chassis (a former police truck) into a hose wagon. With a large deck gun mounted on its side the rig was assigned to Hose 8 at Station 8 at 8th & Minnesota Streets.”


There’s not much to accommodate the driver and no sign of any instrumentation.


The engine turns, but the seller has not tried to start it.


The wood looks solid and there’s no sign of rust.


So what do you do with a giant speedster? It’s actually just a truck without a body with little more than a seat and gas tank attached. This would be a great vehicle on which to mount a period body of some sort. This does seem rather overpriced, though. There is a similar one on autoquid that runs and drives for $9,800. It’s also a 1913 White but a bit shorter than this one. It’s been on tours, has new tires and is much more finished. What kind of body would you put on this? Perhaps one could mount an old school bus body and use it for tours or an open air body with seats. Find it here on ClassicVehiclesList.


  1. Van

    I like it. I’d turn it into a police intersepter with steel cage on the back. You in a heap of trouble now.

  2. Mark S

    I’d shorten the frame and wheel base. I’d go throw wheels, steering, brakes, and suspension, I’d change out the engine for an inline 6cyl probably a gm 292cid with 4 speed stick behind it. I’d than find or fabricate some period fenders/running boards and soft top. It have doors and curtains as well I’d then do a a custom boat tail body with metal sides on the body and wood strips on the top of the boat tail. And then coat the wood with fiber glass and apoxy resin. I’d paint the fenders black the body red with gold pin stripes and the wood part of the boat tail I’d clear coat. The outcome would be a very cool big boy roadster that could actually be used. The engine I’d get running and put on a display stand.

    • Van

      You have great ideas. They don’t require this as a starting point.

  3. Dave Wright

    So, inother words……..you would ruin what is left of it.,.,..,,.

    Like 1
  4. motoring mo

    Perfect for the race of gentlemen

  5. Dusty Stalz

    I want to drive this around my town just the way it is. Wearing a leather hat and old timey goggles and scarf.

  6. Dusty Stalz

    I want to drive this around my town just the way it is. Wearing a leather hat and old timey goggles and scarf. Would love to pull up to the gas station in this and watch the reaction from the norms.

  7. gearjam1

    As-is, it looks like a “George Shrinks” car. (I watch too much children’s programming I guess… I have a 1926 Henney Limousine/Hearse that was built on a Packard Chassis. Wood body burned in 1933, so I’m left with essentially what is shown with this one. I also have thought about adding a seat and tank, but the car is so damn long, i think it would look really mis-proportioned as a speedster. Too expensive to consider another body for it, so I may go the speedster route, after-all. Glad this one was saved, but it looks like it was kind of a quick slap-together of a project…maybe just to better market it… https://www.facebook.com/GraveLimos/photos/a.278519252319045.1073741920.209759885861649/341611142676522/?type=3&theater

    • Dave Wright

      I have a 1920 Packard truck, Yours would be a commercial chassis but not a truck. Sounds like it would be perfect for a Yellowstone type touring car body. Those were very attractive years for Packard.

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