Heavy Hauler #2: 1953 Chevrolet COE Truck


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If you liked last week’s “Vintage Bow-Tie Hauler“, maybe you’ll appreciate this one too. This 1953 Chevrolet COE is listed for sale here on St. Louis’ craigslist, but is apparently located an hour or so west, in Mexico, Missouri.


The asking price is $5,000 and my first thought was that the price is too high for an “old farm truck”, but upon closer inspection, I’m not so sure. It isn’t sitting in waist-high weeds, has air in the tires, it’s not in pieces, and looks like it could be in running condition, or at least close. So those of us here at Barn Finds have to ask our readers: What’s it worth?


The seller’s eleven-word description doesn’t mention whether it runs or not, so that would probably be one of the first questions. Although for many buyers, it actually may not matter. Besides cutting the frame down and finding a car carrier and some ’56 Chevys to pull around, this truck has a number of other possibilities which will enable to continue earning its keep for the next sixty years.


With the addition of a late-model drivetrain, it would make an awesome single-car hauler, either in ‘ramp’ configuration, or with a regular hydraulically operated roll-back tilt bed installed. A race car or show car hauler. The door jambs appear to be black, or brown, which would be common for a heavy truck of this vintage, but someone long ago has painted it blue. There’s no nice way to say this, so I’m going to just come right out and say it: it has an attractive patina! Some buyers would consider updating the drive train and interior, and not doing too much to the outside.


Looking inside, I see an added-on turn signal lever, and even more interesting, what must be a factory-installed radio. How rare is that in a heavy truck of this vintage? The interior obviously needs some deep cleaning, for starters, and probably some seat cushion and cover work.


They’re only original once, as the saying goes, and it looks like this truck has probably never been apart. As the value on these COE trucks climb, the “correct”, frame-off restoration is not out of the question for it as one possible future. But again, what’s it worth, and what would you do with it?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. DrinkinGasoline

    OK, lets start from scratch on this COE. Break it down to it’s bones.
    Seriously….by no stretch of the imagination, am I a Bow Tie Guy…but, this is a real resto realization. Regardless of the Author’s use of the dreaded “P” word, this is a serious candidate for anyone’s personal vision of a seriously Bad@ZZ COE in any world ! I love COE’s regardless of manufacturer ! The insurance companies say: Are You supposed to drive 3/4 of a car?….Nope…..I’ll drive a 1/4 of a truck…Thanks.

    Like 0
  2. Terry Hilkemeier

    OK. So has anyone put a “For Sale” price on this bad boy? I am interested. Thanks. Oh….by the way…..does it run?

    Like 0
    • Jamie Palmer JamieStaff

      The link to the craigslist ad is in the first paragraph.

      Like 1
  3. grenade

    It’s cool, but it reminds me of a giant dung beetle. It’s just not the best shape for a big truck.

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    • Matt Tritt

      It only reminds you of a dung beetle because of all the mouse poop in the cab. The nice, big nest behind the speaker grille made of seat stuffing must have been the highest rent, but there are sure to be many others. He’s asking about 2X too much for something this rough, but they definitely aren’t all that common these days,

      Like 0
  4. jim s

    interesting truck but seller does need to work harder on the listing. it could be made into a nice work truck. love the look. nice find

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  5. JW

    Put a modern drivetrain in it, paint it add decent interior then lose the box and add a roll off car hauler bed with winch and your ready to roll.

    Like 0
  6. Van

    Mount Spartan camper on the back and go see the USA in a Chevrolet.

    Like 0
  7. andrew

    Put a camper on it now say motor home

    Like 0
    • Van

      Do tell

      It’ll never catch on.

      Like 0
  8. HoA Howard AMember

    Well, somebody sure is optimistic. Years ago, these were $100 trucks. My, how times have changed. I just couldn’t justify paying 5g’s for something like this. I suppose you could go like the “Count’s” truck. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/c2/96/c9/c296c9bb0384fced401028ca7732dc15.jpg
    I like that guy ( although, I know nothing of his work aside from what I’ve seen on TV, which could be misleading)( I heard, trucks that came from the “Chrome Shop Mafia” fell apart) Gonna have to use your imagination ( and the kid’s college fund) to get this going. I like Van’s idea, put a camper on the back. I almost did that with a Peterbilt day cab after seeing a guy in Florida that did that, but lost interest.

    Like 0
  9. whiskey runner

    wow nice truck… these old coe trucks are very popular as a re-cab to a late model chassis, and many other custom builds.. i just sold one a lot rougher than this and missing parts for 1500.. so i woul;d say the price is just about right if the rust issues are as small as it looks

    Like 0
  10. Little_Cars AlexanderMember

    I would guess the radio was to entertain the fruit pickers or hay balers who undoubtedly hopped in the cab every morning and evening. But sure is odd to see a period-correct push button “entertainment center” in a work truck of this vintage!

    Like 0
  11. Joe

    okay im interested if this available still please call me 209-445-5789 serious reply…

    Like 0

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