Former Fuel Truck: 1969 Ford C700 COE

This 1969 Ford C700 hit a chord with me, as I recently passed up my first-ever tractor trailer cab purchase. More on that later. This example is a former fuel delivery truck, now with its tanks removed, that looks to have survived in very nice condition despite its workhorse past. The Ford comes with a 361 motor paired to a manual gearbox, and is listed here on craigslist for $5,000.

COEs have been enjoying a nice rise lately, as collectors begin to appreciate them more and more for their novel design. This example presents nicely with an interior that doesn’t look like it was lived in by raccoons for the last decade, as is sometimes the case with old, neglected work trucks. The seller concedes this 1969 model hasn’t run in about 15 years.

The good news is that the engine still turns freely, and if it was maintained by its previous fuel company owner, there’s a sporting chance it will run again with ease. One thing to remember (and which I recently learned) is that even as a utilitarian work rig, there’s plenty of complexity on board and some parts may still prove quite costly.

Of course, I was taking all of this into consideration with a much more maintenance-hungry rig known as a Mercedes 1319, which was discovered as part of the recent Rhode Island junkyard tour. This diesel-powered Mercedes would also likely still fire up, but the costs of replacement parts proved exorbitant, and that was only if they were still available new. If you’re like me, it’s hard to ignore the potential of a COE converted to a vintage car hauler, but it will be a while before I can add such a rig to the fleet.

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  1. Howard A Member

    The ubiquitous C cab Ford. Probably the most recognized truck for most of us. They did everything, not including heavy duty applications, but everything else. These typically don’t have a lot of miles, but the miles they do have are usually rough,as shown, with many deliveries per day, usually not too far from base. Not sure what you’d do with it like this, maybe make it into a fuel tanker,,,kidding, too short for a flatbed, maybe a small dump,or box. I suppose it is a complete truck, but I wouldn’t give you a grand for this, as is. Not exactly rare. Besides, for the same price, you could probably find an old fire truck and remove the back, they were very popular as fire trucks, that would be a much better buy.

    • Dave

      When I was a kid a friend of mine’s dad had a 59 with sleeper and tandem axle. He was a Teamster OTR owner operator.

  2. Bob_in_TN Member

    Old fire truck…. that’s the first thing which comes to mind when I see a C cab. The volunteer fire department in my home town had one when I was a kid. It was bright yellow, their color of choice. It was a sharp rig.

    I believe the Ford C series was in production for over 30 years.

    • scottymac

      1957 to 1990, probably longer than any other design in North America. Stretch and reinforce the frame for a hauler, commonly done. This guy had the money to do it right.

  3. Scooter

    Roadway used these trucks in hudson county nj, they were rode hard, put away wet. As for the frame being too short for a car hauler, not true, put an angle up ramp on the back. Winch on top. It would be perfect. Or, put a fifth wheel, pull a trailer. Is does have a 2 speed rear in it, but I doubt it will do 70 on the interstate

  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Perfect foundation for a car hauler. Love COE’s and I’ve seen a few set up as haulers that would knock your socks off.

  5. rjc

    There was a sizable fleet of these nearby (I think Roadway, tractors), in service until just a few years ago. Then, over a very short time, they were gone (replaced). Can’t imagine there was a market that could absorb that many at once. Maybe they went for scrap? I believe Mack had a version that used the same body.

    • Scooter

      Most go to other countries

  6. doug edwards

    I serviced a fleet of these back in the late 70’s. The 361 gas engine would usually crack a piston & blow up at around 50,000 miles. Long shifter linkage with two u-joints was usually loose. Fairly easy to work on.

  7. azd

    There’s one still in use as a private garbage truck around here. Haven’t seen it in a while, but when I do it’s hard to miss. Wheezing along with a thick blue cloud trailing behind it. Still kind of fun to see, but it sure isn’t doing any favors for the air.

    • Scooter

      Here in Allentown pa, there’s a home heating oil guy still delivering with one

  8. 427Turbojet Member

    Just bought this ’73 International to replace a ’63 Ford F350 with a 16′ rollback. Plan on removing the add-on tag axle and sliding the rear axle back enough to add a Brown Line over-under gear box. Looking for a 19 or 21 foot rollback bed. I bought this at a garage sale I saw while on my way home from work. Runs and drives great, will have to do some brake work

    • Howard A Member

      No offense, but I’d take the Ford anyday over the cornbinder. I drove those Loadstar cabovers for an asphalt company, and while they got around nice, they were miserable trucks. Hard to work on, boiling hot inside, almost kill yourself tilting the cab,( a daily ritual with those trucks) terrible shift linkage, at least when well worn,,,I hated that truck,,sorry.

      • 427Turbojet Member

        None taken. The International is in pretty nice shape, 51 thousand miles on it- the interior is real clean. I’ve replaced the fuel pump, exhaust manifold gaskets and a seal in the cab hoist jack. Should be fine as a toy hauler from my home to my farm (65 miles). And it was cheap, $800.00.
        The 63 Ford it is replacing has a somewhat built 390, Clark 5 speed and a GM 1 ton rear axle with 4.10 gears and posi. I also installed a GM brake booster and a dual reservoir master cylinder. Oh, and a Cadillac leather 6 way power seat. The frame is weak around the rear spring hangers so I don’t trust it to haul big loads- it has been overloaded many times. Time to retire it to lighter duties.

  9. junkman Member

    A very hard ride when empty. You will spend more time in the air than on the seat in any metro areas.

  10. Mad Maetti

    If someone has the opportunity to save the Benz truck, he can get spare parts here, even used:
    Great enthusiasts with heart blood, there are various great videos of them on youtube.

  11. Chuck

    I worked on these in the late 60’s & early 70’s. One of the problems was that they had valve seat inserts, which would come loose, hang a valve open, and then the piston would help close the valve. It usually destroyed the engine. A short block and a new head took care of the problem. I certainly would want to feed one today with gas prices where they are!

  12. Darryll

    wheezing along….i like it.

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