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White Freightliners


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By John Wollenman Inc. - Saturday, March 06, 2010 6:21 AM
     A friend and I were talking truck the other day and he asked me when they took the "white" out of White Freightliner.  I found that White and Freightliner disolved their partnership in 1974 and I was wondering if that is when the logo was changed also??  Thanks
By newfie-trucker - Saturday, March 06, 2010 6:53 AM
i think the last white freightliner was sold in 1976 i am not 100% sure
By John Wollenman Inc. - Saturday, March 06, 2010 7:11 AM
    I know that has to be close.  Thanks  John
By KeithC - Saturday, March 06, 2010 7:30 AM
I just looked up a picture of a 77 my father drove and it still had the White Freighliner logo. I'm 99% sure the 78 models the company had only said Freighliner. Funny how I can't remember the trucks I worked on, but then, 79 was a while ago, I was a senior in high school. Ahh, the good old days.;)
By John Wollenman Inc. - Saturday, March 06, 2010 7:41 AM
    We were thinking that was about the time it happened, so I feel we must be close.  I graduated in '69 so I know all about the CRS syndrome!!
By John Wollenman Inc. - Saturday, March 06, 2010 2:51 PM
    Thanks to everone for their replys   John
By u118224 - Monday, March 08, 2010 6:37 AM
My dad and I bought a new 1977 coe and it was labeled a White Freightliner. Later that year at a truck show, though I don't remember which one, we asked a Freightliner rep for a Freightliner nosepiece. He was kind enough to send us one for free. As I recall, the 1977 truck show Freightliners no longer had any White badging. 
By Cam - Monday, March 08, 2010 2:18 PM
Just to clarify, White never owned Freightliner. The two companies had a marketing agreement that lasted about 25 years. That is why the the '40s and into the '50s Freightliners are labeled as just Freightliners. But starting (darn it, I forget the year) around 1953 Freightliner signs a deal with White. White already has a well-established dealer network. Freightliner at that time is unknown beyond a few western states. So, for 25 years Freightliner has on paper one customer: White trucks. As a part of the deal, the trucks say "White Freightliner" on them, and Freightliner agrees that it will not market a conventional. White sells and services the trucks through its dealer network, while Freightliner's competitors (Pete and KW) have to slowly move east, setting up dealers.

I don't know the original term of the agreement, but 1977 is the last year of trucks bearing the White Freightliner badging. I will say this: it can be very confusing looking at trucks from this time period, because shortly after this deal was done, or when they ran out of inventory, you could not get any "White Freightliner" branded parts. So, you see lots of trucks with a mix of Freightliner and WF emblems, horn buttons, mudflaps, gauges, and pedals. In addition, everyone figured out that the new ones said Freightliner and the old ones said White Freightliner, so many people went out and bought new emblems to update their trucks. Both of the Powerliners I had were like this when I got them.

I am speculating here, but I would not be surprised if the agreement had to be renewed every 5 or 10 years, and finally in the early '70s Freightliner renegotiated, knowing that it would set out on its own eventually. And as a part of the renegotiation I bet they one thing they really wanted was to be allowed by the terms of the agreement to build and market a conventional. Which of course they started producing in '73. Coincidentally about 20 years after the inception of the agreement.

So, Freightliner sets out on its own, and makes it about 4 years before they are bought out by Mercedes. Freightliner has been owned by the Germans longer than its products were marketed through White dealers.
By Eddy Lucast - Monday, March 08, 2010 2:38 PM
I'd be curious how much effect losing Freightliner's sales had on Whites bottom line. They went into bankruptcy just a couple of years later.
By kblackav8or - Tuesday, March 09, 2010 6:54 AM
Daimler did not buy Freightliner until 1982.
By Cam - Tuesday, March 09, 2010 8:59 AM
Freightliner and Western Star are the two brightest stars to come out of the Big 4. And I think they are both now owned by Mercedes, aren't they?
By glenn akers - Tuesday, March 09, 2010 10:29 AM
Cam (3/9/2010)
Freightliner and Western Star are the two brightest stars to come out of the Big 4. And I think they are both now owned by Mercedes, aren't they?
     Your right.
By newfie-trucker - Tuesday, March 09, 2010 10:29 AM
yes cam you are right .. unfortuniately western star and freightliner and sterling is part or mercedes and now they have stopped the sterlings and there is talk about dropping the freightliner badge also
By Rich Hedges - Tuesday, March 09, 2010 1:55 PM
In 1980 CF began negotiations with Daimler to sell Freightliner.  On July 31, 1981, Daimler purchased Freightliner and the other manufacturing operations CF owned for $284 million.  In 1982 was poised for growth of the freight hauling business with cash from the sale of Freightliner.

Rich Hedges

By kblackav8or - Tuesday, March 09, 2010 8:27 PM
Had CF kept it, maybe they might still be around.
By Tatra - Tuesday, March 09, 2010 9:16 PM
I always thought the deal was somewhat one sided, seein as White was not forbidden from producing its own COEs. Trucks like the so-called "Japanese Freightliner" and the Road Commanders I and II surely took sales from Freighliner. I'm surprised the agreement lasted as long as it did, but maybe I missed something...

Cheers,

Tatra

By dashby - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 8:13 AM
Maybe Freightliner was not in a position to tell White what they could and couldn't do.
By TonyClemens - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 9:31 AM
Dad's first White Freightliner was a '67. This green truck was a '74. 325 Cat, 13 RR, 4.33 axles. I got my CDL with this truck when it was new ( I was 19). The silver Freightliner was an '80, 400 Cummins, 13 RR, 4.33 axles, painted in the Las Vegas scheme.
By Cam - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 10:28 AM
I used to make fun of Freightliners, just like the next guy. But the more I studied them, the more I have come to realize that (at least in earlier years) were one of the purest forms of trucks ever made. And this is one of the reasons why Freightshakers are not well-remembered by many drivers. They could be very skimpy on comfort and frills. But every single tiny element of design on a '50s or '60s Freightliner was evaluated by the factory, as to how it could be made lighter or more compact. Between that, and the massive number of available options (different configurations), it is easy to see how they became the first western make to be known in the East.
By glenn akers - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 1:00 PM
Cam (3/10/2010)
I used to make fun of Freightliners, just like the next guy. But the more I studied them, the more I have come to realize that (at least in earlier years) were one of the purest forms of trucks ever made. And this is one of the reasons why Freightshakers are not well-remembered by many drivers. They could be very skimpy on comfort and frills. But every single tiny element of design on a '50s or '60s Freightliner was evaluated by the factory, as to how it could be made lighter or more compact. Between that, and the massive number of available options (different configurations), it is easy to see how they became the first western make to be known in the East.
       Well i have hear all of the jokes made of freightliners.Mostly about the doors.But thay have been a good work truck to many familys. Most of them are not as pretty as a pete but they are simple and later years built to be serviced with ease. When you have been a mechanic as long as i have you learn which trucks that are easy to work on.I love ever truck that i have owned but a freightliner is the one i like to work on. I dont need to look at a pretty truck as bad as i need to make money from one. I do think a 70 and 80s cabover is a good looking truck.
By scsiguy - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 1:26 PM
glenn akers (3/10/2010)
Cam (3/10/2010)
I used to make fun of Freightliners, just like the next guy. But the more I studied them, the more I have come to realize that (at least in earlier years) were one of the purest forms of trucks ever made. And this is one of the reasons why Freightshakers are not well-remembered by many drivers. They could be very skimpy on comfort and frills. But every single tiny element of design on a '50s or '60s Freightliner was evaluated by the factory, as to how it could be made lighter or more compact. Between that, and the massive number of available options (different configurations), it is easy to see how they became the first western make to be known in the East.
Well i have hear all of the jokes made of freightliners.Mostly about the doors.But thay have been a good work truck to many familys. Most of them are not as pretty as a pete but they are simple and later years built to be serviced with ease. When you have been a mechanic as long as i have you learn which trucks that are easy to work on.I love ever truck that i have owned but a freightliner is the one i like to work on. I dont need to look at a pretty truck as bad as i need to make money from one. I do think a 70 and 80s cabover is a good looking truck.


I agree with everything said above. There is no comparison in the ease of working on a White Freightliner and any International of the same era. None. The same holds true with IHC farm tractors.
I've told the story many times: I can clutch a John Deere 4020 before noon, but with an IHC 806, I won't even have the tractor split by noon.
By GoldenGoat - Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:30 PM
One of my favorites of my dad's back in the seventies.  This is a repost, but a lot of new guys on here.   About a year after this pic another dummy wiped it out in Monroe, LA.   
By jbpoage - Monday, April 11, 2011 10:45 AM
I have a 1976 White Freightliner COE I'm fixing up.  Cummins 350, 13 spd, Rockwell SQHDs.  Now drivable on the road.  Anyone know how to get a parts manual for these old ones?  I go to Freightliner and with the 13 character VIN, they come up empty even on the old "crossover" VIN system.

I'd also like to know how close this one was to the end of the line for the White/Freightliner saga.  Must be pretty close.  Does anyone know of a VIN listing that may show that or was this secret info?

Jim
By mickemoose - Monday, April 11, 2011 4:18 PM
Jim,

Keep an eye out on Ebay.  A few months ago, someone was selling a parts manual for a 1970s White Freightliner COE.  (I remember it because it had a yellow front cover.)

If you're looking for a service manual for a '70s Freightliner COE, there's one on Amazon for 20 bucks.  I know it's for a 70s Freightliner cabover because I emailed the owner of the book store that's selling it.  I was trying to find a service manual for a 1974 - 79 Freightliner FLC Conventional, and she said it was for a '70s Freightliner cabover.

I've contacted Freightliner Corp. many times in the past, trying to get info on parts for '70s Freightliner Conventionals.  Don't bother contacting Freightliner dealers, you're just wasting your time.  They know absolutely nothing about old Freightliners built over 30 years ago.  Most of the people working there weren't even born when these trucks were coming off the assembly line, so they don't have a clue what an FLT or FLC is.

What specifically are you looking for on your truck?  When I contacted Freightliner Corp. in Portland, OR, 3 years ago, I gave the customer service rep the VIN # of an old '70s FLC Conventional and he was kind enough to send me a complete parts breakdown for the hood and floor-mounted cab heater-A/C unit.  As long as you provide them with a 100% accurate VIN #, they should be able to go in their archives and pull up whatever parts info you want.  All the old stuff from the '70s is stored on microfiche.

Now, go figure this one out!  I contacted Freightliner 2 months ago requesting a paint chart for an old '79 FLC Conventional.  I gave the VIN # and the customer service rep emailed the chart to me right away, no problem.  Then, a week later, I requested paint charts for a few other old '79 FLCs and another rep replied to me, "Sorry, but we don't have any information on trucks this old."  What??  I just received a chart two weeks ago!!  :crazy:  I suspect he was too lazy to go back in the archives and retrieve this info.

So, I guess it depends on what customer service rep you talk to.  Some are definitely better than others.

As far as when Freightliner broke away from White Motor Corp., some say 1975, others say '76, and still others say '77, so I guess you can say anywhere from 1975 - 77.  One thing I do know for fact, Freightliner introduced their new "Freightliner" only nameplate in April, 1976.  I have a picture of Freightliner CEO, Ken Self, President, Bill Critzer and VP of Marketing, Harry Joy, presenting the new nameplate.  Also, the very first sales brochure with the Freightliner only nameplate was printed in May, 1976 (see picture below).

However, I do know that some Freightliners built after April, 1976, still had the old White Freightliner nameplate!  I had heard that Freightliner wanted to use up the stockpile of old nameplates.
By Mackdaddy - Tuesday, April 12, 2011 6:16 PM
I am not sure that the demise of CF was no more than a transfer to the parent companies non union outfits.

Menlo Logistics? Still in Menlo Park, CA.
By Eddy Lucast - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 1:21 AM
Mackdaddy (4/13/2011)
I am not sure that the demise of CF was no more than a transfer to the parent companies non union outfits.

Menlo Logistics? Still in Menlo Park, CA.


IIRC Conway was one of the non-union CF companies that ended up with all of CF's freight!