Truck of the Month

March 2019
Frank Di Paolo's 1964 Diamond T model P4300
Frank Di Paolo's 1964 Diamond T P4300
  • Mark Harter
  • Frank Di Paolo

For many of us who love old trucks, there are certain reasons we like specific makes and certain models. Maybe it was the first truck we saw, a truck that was in a television show or movie, but whatever the reason, many of us will always have our own favorite rig. For Frank DiPaolo of Rosemere, Quebec, Canada, a 1964 Diamond T model P4300 has always had a special place in his heart and has been his favorite truck ever since the day his father purchased a brand new one in 1964.

Emigrating from Italy to the Montreal area in 1958, Frank's father, Nick Di Paolo was a self-made man. Not afraid to get his hands dirty, Nick found work in a local quarry at the time, driving and working on Mack B-81 trucks the facility owned and operated. But in 1964 Nick had the opportunity to go on his own, and Nick's truck of choice when he started his own trucking company? It was a brand new 1964 Diamond T model P4300.

Frank Di Paolo's 1964 Diamond T P4300
Frank Di Paolo's 1964 Diamond T P4300

Like many of us, Frank is a certified "Truck Nut" and when he saw a photo of a 1964 Diamond T P4300 in an issue of Wheels of Time in 2014, he began to get nostalgic about his father and the summers he spent riding with his dad in that old Diamond T. So, after making a phone call to the American Truck Historical Society headquarters in the hopes of tracking down the P4300's owner, Frank was given Daniel Payne's phone number and told that Daniel owned the Diamond T he had seen in the magazine.

One day, Frank gave Daniel a call about the Diamond T. It was a lengthy call and Frank was impressed with the old truck. The P4300 had not been worked hard most of its life and was initially built as a dump truck for a Diamond T customer named Bill Parker. The Diamond was in great shape for its age with little to no rust on it and had been well taken care of. The P4300 originally had a gas engine in it, but had been repowered with its current Cummins diesel engine at some point during its life.

Frank Di Paolo' 1964 Diamond T P4300

While Frank wasn't looking to buy a truck and Daniel wasn't looking to sell the truck, Frank told Daniel that if he was ever interested in selling it, to let him know. But, a week later, Daniel phoned Frank and offered the truck to him.

Frank and his dad had discussed restoring an old truck together, but sadly, the elder DiPaolo passed away in 2009. So, as a tribute to his father, and to realize the dream of doing what he and his father talked about for so many years, Frank bought the Diamond T from Daniel in 2014, and after having the truck transported from Oxford, Ohio to Montreal, the restoration began.

Excited to own the same type of truck that his father began with, and the same model truck that provided him with so many great memories of his childhood, Frank was anxious to get the truck restored. Hiring 4 mechanics and nearly 4 months later and spending over $75,000, the once drab green and gold Diamond T P4300 rolled out of the garage. Its entire driveline was rebuilt, with power coming from its 190 HP Cummins Diesel Engine, mated to a Spicer 5x3 transmission and riding on Hendrickson suspension and vintage 1000x20 tires. Frank also gave his P4300 a bright red paint scheme, looking better than the day it rolled off the line at the Chicago, Illinois Diamond T plant in 1964.

Frank Di Paolo's 1964 Diamond T P4300
Frank Di Paolo's 1964 Diamond T P4300

Not one to let his beautifully restored rig just sit, Frank hopped in the truck the day after it rolled out of the shop and drove it to the 2014 Challenge 255 Truck Show in Baie-du-Febvre, Quebec, placing 2nd in the antique class. Frank also drove his Diamond T to the ATHS National Convention in 2015 in York, PA, and having never met Daniel Payne, the two finally had the chance to meet when Daniel saw the truck parked in the lineup of rigs at the show.

Frank has been married to his wife Diane for 33 years and they have two children, Melissa and Nicolas. The family all loves the old Diamond T, helping Frank keep it shined and show ready, but when Frank bought the Diamond T in 2014, he did not tell his wife Diane until it was fully restored. When Frank finally did tell her, he drove the truck home and parked it in front of their house, walked inside and said "Honey, I got a Diamond you need to come outside and see it!" Well, you can guess what happened, as Frank continued "She didn't speak to me for a week!"

  • Special thanks to Frank for sharing his story and his Diamond T with us!
  • Do you own a unique rig? Get your truck featured here on our website and show-it-off to the world! Click Here to contact us and tell us about your truck!

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