Rare White takes flight

In such a big place as Australia, when you come across a truck which is only one of 37 to have ever been put on the road in this country, it certainly stands out from the others.  

When it has also been beautifully restored, it really makes a visual impact and a talking point for those who see it. 

Such is the case of a 1953-model White 3000 which is owned by Scott Hough that hit the road for the first time earlier this year after a comprehensive restoration and overhaul.

Originally put to work as a prime mover for Mayne Nickless Tanker Services the White had a succession of owners before being acquired by Hough and his partner Jenny Cotterell, with the truck today fitted out with a 4-metre tray. 

Loaded with a 1930 A-Model Ford, Hough had the truck on display at the recent American Truck Historical Society Display in Echuca, with the truck drawing a steady crowd of admirers across the September weekend.

The interior has been overhauled and makes for a comfortable driving environment.

“We bought it as a rolling static truck, it had gone up to Alice Springs in 2015 on a float as a bit of eye-candy, and we had seen it at a few shows like the White Truck Muster at Kyabram in 2018  so we knew it was about,”  Hough explained. 

“Jenny always liked that rounded shape-art deco look and when we were asked if we wanted to buy it she nearly jumped out of her skin! It sat at home for 18 months and when winter came around I reckoned it was time to crack it open,” he continued.

With restoration underway the truck was fully stripped back and a pusher axle which had been fitted along the way by one of the trucks owners was removed. 

The full restoration took place over a nine-month period, with the project not without some issues as Hough detailed: “It was that rusty, if it was an old Inter you would have just sent it for scrap – they only bought 37 of these into Australia so being pretty rare it was worth persevering with. 

“The top of the roof had been popped in at some stage so we had to weld a new section of the roof in. 

“We bought three other trucks for parts; we were going to use bits and pieces off them but because the cabs were all hand-made back in the day, none of the panels were interchangeable. 

“We repaired what was there, re-fabricated bits for the A and B pillars, and put a new floor in from front to back, there’s a lot of work gone in.”

The restoration of the White has been beautifully done.

As a vehicle built in the post-war years the truck had some unique features and was solidly built to cope with the increasing transport requirements of the era.

“They were the dearest truck on the market at the time because they were so well made and heavy spec’d. They came out of the factory with full air S-Cam brakes, and it has a very heavy front axle and steering box. 

“White Motor Company back in the day after World War 2 re-purposed the bomb-door actuators from B-52 bombers to lift the cabin, so it is a factory-electric tilt cab…they were way ahead of their time,” said Hough.

Under the cab sits a Cummins 6BT rated at 160 horsepower, with the power going down the line via a 6-speed ZF Eco Life drivetrain, with the truck today having both good road speed and fuel economy with a vehicle on the back and towing a caravan. 

“They came out in America with the 160hp Cummins 6BT in them, in Australia they only had a side-valve 6-cylinder petrol which were rated fuel-wise at .8 of a mile per gallon so you couldn’t afford to run one of them these days!” said Hough with a grin.

“With the Cummins, in top gear she’s doing 200 revs at 110k’s and with the caravan on the back and the car on the tray we are getting 17 litres per 100k’s so that’s pretty good.”

The chassis was left at its original length with Hough fabricating a 4-metre tray body himself, along with a set of 2.4 metre ramps sliding in under the tray to allow a car to be loaded easily. 

The White was painted in-house in a deep Holden Special Vehicles ‘Spitfire Green’ tone, which is not too far off its original paint colour, and inside the cabin has been refurbished and air-conditioning fitted.

With its classic rounded lines, the White certainly stands out from the pack.

Taking to the road earlier this year, the White’s first long run was to Gundagai for the Sylvia’s Gap Run over the June long weekend, with the truck managing the run up the Hume well from Scott’s hometown of Kilmore.

“It was registered about three days before that, so it was big ask, but nothing went wrong. It hadn’t been sign-written then so this is its maiden trip as a finished truck,” Hough said.

“We had to drop the tyre pressures down a bit as she used to buck a bit but now it’s good, we sat on 100km/h with the van on no worries coming up.”

With a White Road Boss and a Western Star at home as part of his earthmoving business, along with a restored White 9000, Hough thinks he might have a bit of an obsession for the White product. 

Subsequently he reckons there could be another project in the future with the trucks he did not use for parts on his recent rebuild.

“The other three trucks are still in the shed so we might do another one down the track. We have sort of cornered the market having 4 of the 37!” he said with a smile.

But for the moment he reckons the 69-year-old White bearing the Huffy and Co Highway Haulage name certainly ticks a lot of boxes.

“We are planning to drive the wheels off it and do a heap of trips around Australia in it. Its economical, easy to drive and has a heap of room in the cab.

“It’s a bloody great old truck, it’s come up pretty well and we are really happy with it.”

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