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Kansas Kool: 1949 Ford F-6 COE

061516 Barn Finds - 1949 Ford F-6 COE - 1

This great-looking cabover 1949 Ford F-6 COE is in Great Bend, Kansas and is listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $4,800. It looks like it’s in nice condition, overall. Just think, if you had a TV reality show you could restore this thing in three days!..

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The F-6 is Ford’s 2-ton chassis and it has a 14,000–16,000 GVWR. COE stands for “Cab-Over Engine” for anyone wondering about that. I’m guessing that this truck will be modified quite a bit, these are such unique-looking vehicles that they always seem to get turned into big Hot Wheels-looking trucks. Not that it’s a bad thing at all to modify them, if a person is going to use these trucks for actual hauling duty instead of car show duty, it makes sense to upgrade things a bit while keeping the classic shape intact.

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But, man do they look great when they’re restored back to original spec! This truck is only “missing a few pieces”, and you should be able to find a company or two out there to help locate parts.

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Steering wheel and horn button: page 13, etc… This is what the interior could look like again, and hopefully it will someday. There are a couple of plates missing on the dash, one for the GPS and one for.. er.. no, wait. You should be able to find those. The seller says that it’s “pretty much complete”, hopefully that’s the part that they’re talking about, those little parts and pieces. The seats will need to be redone, of course, and so will everything else. I can’t tell if the gauges were painted or if that’s just faded and could be buffed out? The floors look pretty solid and in fact the whole truck looks pretty solid without a lot of rust-through visible. You have to love Kansas for how it preserves its vehicles, compared to a lot of other states.

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The seller doesn’t mention which engine this is, only that it’s a flathead six-cylinder. I’m guessing that it’s the base engine, a 3.7L 226 flathead six with around 95 hp. There was another optional six-cylinder engine so it could be a 4.2L 254 cubic inch flathead six with 110 hp, which was only available in the F-6. Most likely, only the numbers will tell for sure what it is. In any case, the seller says that the “truck is not currently running. Everything under the hood appears to be intact.” You’d want to pull the engine and at least clean it up and paint it so you may as well rebuild it. The hoses look new, though; weird. I love the look of these COE trucks, I can think of a hundred uses for this one. How would you restore this truck and what would you use it for?


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Nice truck. I still find it so unusual with an early Ford to see a 6 cyl. motor. First Ford six I ever saw was a ’51 pickup, and that would’ve been around ’63. It seems like the majority of truck buyers in my region ordered the V-8. Please, someone get this and restore it. I don’t want to see another cab pulled off and dropped onto a modern 1-ton chassis. Let it keep its dignity.

    Like 2
    • Scotty G Staff

      It’s the annual “Back to the 50’s” weekend here in St. Paul, Geo, you should be here for that. 12,000 vehicles and a truck like this would be a huge hit there since it’s slowly evolved into mainly restomods and rat rods over the years.

      Like 0
    • Mark S

      Hi geomechs so what if we kept the original chassie but installed a 5.9 cumins turbo diesel backed up with a five speed trans and two speed rear axle. Than we could shorten the wheel base and put a nice aluminum deck with skirted sides and back. We could than add a fifth wheel, upgrade the brakes add power steering and restore the cab. You’d have a pretty nice two ton trailer hauler.

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Mark. A 5.9 would fit in that cavity just fine. I see that it’s already running a 2-speed axle so you could either use that or find a single speed axle and run a Gear Vendors Overdrive unit. Upgrade the brakes and restore the rest of it. Nice unit but then, you’ve still got a truck that will keep up with modern traffic but rides like a lumber wagon. For all that trouble you’re better off to pull the cab and install it on a Ford 550 chassis with Power Stroke or Dodge 5500 with Cummins and be on your way. But by then you’re into the scenario that I continually preach against: another LCF (Howard and I agree on LCF vs COE terminology) cab on a modern chassis, and a stock running gear with lots of restoration potential ending up in the scrap yard.

        Don’t get me wrong here. These cabs set on a modern chassis look really good. I saw a ’39 ford COE that had another half cab grafted on to make a crew cab. He dropped it onto a modern chassis, painted it orange with black trim and it was something to behold. I might add that I’ve got a good friend doing something similar with a ’57 Chevy LCF.

        I guess we should all be thankful that we still live in a land where we are relatively free to do with our vehicles what we want.

        Like 1
    • Mark S

      Well it’s hard to decide how to move forward, at least by modernizing these trucks get to live a second life. Personally if I had the means financially I’d modernize for the sole purpose of hauling an RV trailer around. If done right it be a great hauler and would draw lots of attention where ever you went. As for comfort to modern air ride truck seat would help a lot.

      Like 0
      • Geof

        Hi Mark. I’m with you on the air ride. Sort of.
        If I had the means, I’d clean up the chassis, brace it where needed, and bag it for comfort.
        I’d stretch the cab with 2 more doors to haul the family. And either ad a period looking pickup bed. Or, a period looking SUV. Add a Powerstroke to
        keep it all Ford.

        Like 0
    • Geof

      I’ll probably get massacred for this, but I’d love to have this to turn into an interpretation of the current F-650 SUVs. I love those, and this would look great with a period added panel/SUV type back half!

      Like 0
  2. Healeydays
  3. Pharmag8r

    Definitely a car hauler in my book. I want one bad but the hubby says I have to wait a few years. We bought a 52 chevy grain truck on vacation to convert to a car hauler but it is in great shape and all original so I doubt that I will chop it up. Besides everyone needs a grain truck in Florida. lol Love the finds and love torturing my husband by forwarding them to him.

    Like 0
  4. Howard A Member

    I agree with Pharmag8r, It’s long enough to have a rolloff bed on it, but will certainly need some more horses.While I can sympathize with geomechs, about keeping it original, and kudos to Pharmag8r for keeping the Chevy original, since it was already in one piece, but there’s a great chance this will be transformed into a useful, modern truck, like the car hauler truck the “Counting Cars” guy drives. Great styling, and I’m sorry, but anything with a hood out front, disqualifies this as a true cabover. ( I know, we’ve been over this and over this) I’d sure like to know the story on this truck. I mean, it couldn’t have been used very much, and what was on the back. Had to be a grain box. It’s the only way a truck would stay like this. Very cool find.

    Like 0
    • BR

      I’m really late to this party.
      I know what you’re thinking Howard, but COE and LCF cabs don’t tilt. Only tilt-cabs tilt. Just proves the old adage: “Just because you’ve been doing something for fifty years doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it correctly”.
      Here is my ’50 F-6 COE with the 254 “Big Six’, which was more powerful than the V-8.


      Like 0
  5. Wayne Thomas

    Might not fit neatly, but what a great candidate for a Ford V10 swap!

    Like 1
    • Aidan F

      What the heck dude why put a V10 in this, it deserves a restoration

      Like 1
  6. guggie

    Went to a car show last week , guy there had on of these done over pretty nice , had a power flat bed on it , he raised the bed and what did you see , a chevy 454 ,what in hells name does someone go to all this trouble to restore a Ford truck and put a Chevy motor in it !!!

    Like 1
    • Danny74

      You can fault him too much for wanting to upgrade it to somthing better.

      Like 0
    • Geof

      Too cheap and know knowledge of Fords much better engines. I hate those swaps.

      Like 0
  7. Steve hagebusch

    I agree leave it on the original frame upgrade the brakes engine ect….lowered a little to give it a better looking stance leave the cab alone restore the interior build a nice aluminum wedge bed and have a great “period” car hauler for the weekend vintage drags…..be the coolest way to show up in my opinion….being a GM person id rather have a GM COE but even the fords are so cool looking i definitely wouldnt pass one up…

    As for the putting them on newer 1 ton frames ya they look cool and if your only able to locate a cab that has already been pulled off the original frame then well some times you gotta do what you gotta do….

    Like 0

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