Former Consolidated Freightways spotter truck gets new life

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Self-proclaimed “sports car guy” George Phillips, out of Danville, Indiana, found this 1973 White Compact spotter tractor — formerly a Consolidated Freightways-owned unit — for sale about seven or eight years ago.

Phillips said some friends helped convince him to buy it one New Year’s Eve as a truck they would rebuild together. After he made the purchase, though, he was pretty well left to do the custom build himself, which took about five years off and on.

He showed the final fruits of his labor in the Paul K. Young Truck Beauty Championship at the Mid-America Trucking Show two weeks back.

George Phillips' custom-built 1973 White CompactGeorge Phillips didn't know much of the truck's history other than that it was once a yard tractor for Consolidated Freightways. When he stripped the paint to repaint it, he found the green and red scheme the fleet used to run.

Among custom touches Phillips added to the truck include an air suspension, chopped top and much more. “It was just a custom fabrication job,” he said.

George Phillips' 1973 White Compact enginePhillips also added a 5.9L Cummins with a 4-speed overdrive automatic to the truck during the build process.

Phillips originally planned to paint the rig in a two-tone brown scheme, and a friend of Phillips’ wanted to go with a two-tone orange — both a big departure from the truck’s green and red Consolidated Freightways heritage. He finally decided on the Dreamsicle orange and cream scheme.

“I said it’s got to be single-stage [paint] so I can touch it up, and then we decided to do the Dreamsicle look,” he said. “It’s appropriate for this truck.”

George Phillips' White Compact fendersThe fenders were the only custom additions Phillips added during the build that he didn't fabricate himself.

Phillips drives the truck around Danville as much as he can, because it always gets a good reaction from people who see it.

“It’s fun to drive; it makes people smile,” he said. “You take it to Walmart, the women don’t know anything about it, but it makes them smile. The little kids, they think it’s a toy. It’s just for fun.”

Rear view of George Phillips' 1973 White CompactPhillips said after some back-and-forth with a friend, they decided on the Dreamsicle orange and cream color scheme, which he said he feels is "appropriate for this truck."