All White at Kyabram muster
THOMAS WHITE began making sewing machines in Orange, Massachusetts in 1859. In 1866 he moved his operation to Cleveland, Ohio.
In 1900, with his four sons: Clarence, Rollin (who also manufactured pistols for Smith and Wesson), Walter and Windsor, he ventured into building the first White steam vehicle.
By 1906 vehicle production was running at 1500 units per year.
The depression took its toll on some truck manufacturers, allowing White to acquire the Indian Truck Corporation and then merge with Studebaker, which had in turn acquired Pierce-Arrow.
In 1940 Consolidated Freightways decided to build a truck to their own requirements which became known as Freightliner in 1941.
Originally making trucks for their own use, they started to sell to the public in 1948.
In 1951 an agreement between White and Freightliner was signed to sell Freightliner trucks through White dealerships.
The name then became White-Freightliner.
The agreement lasted until 1975 and Freightliner was then on its own until bought by Daimler-Benz.
In 1957 White merged with the REO Motor Truck Company and a year later Diamond T was folded into the organisation. In 1967 White merged REO and Diamond T and that brand became known as Diamond REO.
In 1967 the company introduced the Western Star. Built in Kelowna, British Colombia and designed by White's Cleveland office, the Western Star was built specifically for the premium conventional market dominated by Kenworth and Peterbilt.
By 1980 White was insolvent and Volvo acquired its US assets.
At this time Western Star became an independent corporation based in Canada.
In 1981 White was sold to Volvo and became known as Volvo White Truck Corporation.
In 1986 GM merged with Volvo and the company became known as GMC White Volvo. Eventually Volvo dropped any reference to White and is now known as Volvo Trucks North America.
Ray and Michelle Grima are the driving force behind the White Muster held at Kyabram, Victoria every other year in March. Given that over 160 trucks turned up to the event, they are doing an admirable job of keeping the marque well and truly top of mind.
Whilst the emphasis at the Muster is on White and associated brands, other brands are most welcome and plenty turned up as the support act to the main event.
Ruth Cutler and her husband Rob Perrottet from Narrabri have a 1965 Diamond T which they brought to Kyabram for its first public showing.
"We bought it in 2007 and slowly restored it.
Many moons ago we were going through a truck magazine and I saw a photo of a Diamond," Ruth said.
"I said if we are ever going to get a truck to restore I want one of these.
One day Rob asked if I could come home early from work because he had a surprise. It was this old girl!"
Ian Lee with his famous "Lady Di" Diamond T was a great help to the couple in their endeavours.
"We'd never met him until yesterday. I was very excited to meet him after all this time," Ruth said.
Regular attendee Rob Jenke turned up with his 1966 Autocar on the back of his 1980 White Road Boss.
Doing all the work himself from home, he made an Autocar cab out of a White cab.
"The original cab was very rusty. I got new Autocar doors from America and made it exactly the same as it would have been in the day.
This was a logging truck spec and there are only a few of them about.
"White bought Autocar in about 1951, basically for the cabin.
White were using these tiny little cabins like on the Superpower and they needed a better and bigger one so they bought Autocar and use that cabin right up until 1987.
You'll see it in some of the Western Stars as well. The Autocar was very expensive for the time but they were over engineered and very heavy duty. They were great for heavy haulage and logging."
Don Hughes and long- suffering wife Gayle will attend any show where the White brand may appear, so Kyabram is a given.
Don's addiction to the White brand goes beyond the two vehicles he owns.
He has become an avid collector and seller of anything associated with the brand. If you want White mudflaps, a White-Freightliner badge or cap, or perhaps a model White truck made in the days before everything became plastic, then Don is your man.
You'll find him wherever there's a White truck or derivative thereof.
Congratulations to the Grimas and all involved with staging another spectacular event.
Next year at the same time Kyabram will stage The Mack Muster but you can guarantee there will be plenty of Whites turning up.
They will just have to play second fiddle in the back paddock.