A Restored and Converted ’40 White Truck

    From 7-Ton 10-Wheeler to Heavy-Duty Four-Wheeler

    Ben StewartPhotographer, Writer

    Original 4x4 buildups are hard to come by these days. It’s tempting to build a popular model using tips, tricks, and trends found in magazine articles or ads. That’s fine if you want a built ½-ton Chevy or Jeep CJ. However, in the desire to be different, true originality starts with the truck.

    We can’t remember the last time we saw a ’40 White truck, much less one that has been meticulously restored and converted to 4WD. Bernard Boucher from St. Ligourim, Quebec, Canada, commandeered this beast in rough shape back in the winter of 1993 and went to work building and converting it over the next six years. The truck was originally a 7-ton 10-wheeler. Bernard shortened the frame 12 inches and began blending fullsize Chevy 4WD running gear onto the White. A 400-cid Chevy small-block was mounted under the cavernous hood and sips fuel from dual custom 30-gallon tanks. The mill mates to a four-speed Muncie 465 granny low transmission. From there, power flows to the venerable NP205 and on down to 4.10:1 geared Dana 44 and Corporate 12-bolt axles. The generous fender openings allow the use of stock Chevy springs augmented by Rough Country shocks to fit 39-inch Mickey Thompsons onto custom-painted 15x10 steel wheels.

    Though the drivetrain is certainly beefy enough and beautifully painted, it is the body’s restoration that intrigued us most. Instead of fabricating a wooden stake bed or just leaving the truck a flatbed, Bernard decided to make his own vintage pickup box. Using a variety of Ford parts, Bernard fabricated a bed that looks amazingly like it came straight from the White factory in 1940. The 6 ½-foot bed box was hijacked from a ’51-’52 Ford pickup. To this box, he used the front and rear from a ’48 Ford and the wood flooring from a ’37-’41 Ford. All of these parts were found at Mack Pro Parts in Moberly, Missouri. The outside of the rig was painted Dupont Chormaone by Andre Arbic, who also handled most of the bodywork. Though the front bumper is a restored stock piece, the rear was custom-built to match and has a custom hitch and spare-tire rack.

    Inside, Bernard used a mix of old and new. While the general feel of the interior is classic, the steering wheel is a wood-rim chrome spoker, the seats are from a 300ZX, and the gauges come from an ’81 Chevy Suburban. He custom-built the overhead console and fit the custom carpeting.

    We congratulate Bernard on a tasteful restoration and 4WD conversion on this classic heavy-duty truck. Though rigs like this can be found relatively cheaply in poor condition (as Bernard’s was) only time, money, and originality create a truly custom classic.