Hot Rod Hauler: 1947 Dodge C.O.E.

It must be COE (cab over engine) truck week at Barn Finds. A few days ago, we featured this 1939 Chevrolet and today it’s a 1947 Dodge which appears to be a model F or H. But again, things aren’t always as they appear, so let’s delve in. This Dodge is located in Lecompton, Kansas and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $15,100 with 54 bids tendered as of this writing.

Unlike the ’39 Chevy which was more like a pile of parts than a potentially useful truck, this Dodge is a runner and has undergone extensive modification. Its original station is life was a Holmes-bodied wrecker, but this truck is now a 1947 COE body perched upon a 2000 Dodge RV chassis. There are no particulars included and no underside images provided so if one is intrigued with this mashup, further inquiries will have to be made. The seller refers to it as a “rat rod hauler” which covers any number of bases. The bed is of a non-descript, diamond-plate fabricated nature – it looks well prepared but the lack of meaningful side height will limit its functionality. The two large eyelets, attached to the rear bulkhead, could be connected to a towbar, and, yes, one could haul a rat rod around. The aluminum alloy wheels are a nice touch and of course, a  mandatory “patinaed” finish is in place. BTW, the wrecker boom is available if anyone’s interested.

OK, here’s a kick in the head, this COE has some major E going on in the form of a 440 CI Mopar V8 and there isn’t a single image of it included! There isn’t a single utterance mentioned either – I don’t get that one. The seller states, “The vehicle is drivable and is mainly used for car shows“. It is further stated that an automatic transmission is in place, more than likely a TorqueFlite automatic shifted via a Lokar selector.

If you think you are seeing Ford bucket seats, you are, they’ve been boosted from a 1965 Mustang. The interior is an exercise in simplicity with a mix of original and updated. The born-with instruments are still ensconced in the very faded and worn dash panel but auxiliary gauges have been added underneath. We’ve covered the matter of the seats and a new carpet has been installed. The ancient windshield panels haven’t been swapped out and probably should be, they are badly delaminated.

In profile, this hot rod hauler looks like a Pug. It’s an interesting juxtaposition to the ’39 Chevy because it is finished out and set up as a driver – the same place one might want to take the Chevy assuming that, in its dilapidated condition, roadworthy attainment would even be possible. Let’s face it, the big deal here is the engine, and not expounding upon it, at least with a single image, is a big gaffe. I’ve only recently warmed up to older, modded pickup trucks, I don’t think that I’m ready for something like this, yet. But how about you?


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  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Of course, the first thing I would want to say was keep it original. However, since it’s already been divorced from its chassis, there’s nothing left to do but finish what you started. It’s still got good lines; just finish up the bodywork and treat it to a decent, however, budget, paint job. Shine it up, finish the details and then put that 440 to work. Patina: old Indian word for Lazy Body Man…

    Like 22
    • Howard A Member

      Hey Geo, I can always count on you being in the same gear with these as me. As much as it tears at what we hold dear, this is about as practical as you can get, for todays travel. It’s a lot easier to fabricate a couple cab mounts on a modern frame, than to redo the entire drivetrain for the sake of originality. As is, this is nothing more than a fancy( and expensive) ride, it’s work days are long behind it. I like this because it shows, when properly updated, the styling is timeless. I agree, finished out, it would be a sharp ride, fo’ sho’.

      Like 9
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Agree with the above comments. I’m pretty well up to my gills in patina at this point and this old guy cries “paint!”. I like it.

    Like 8
  3. canadainmarkseh Member

    Yes paint it and swap in a cumins diesel.

    Like 8
  4. JohnfromSC

    This one got me thinking. Maybe a good path to a car hauler is to find an older motor home with a dilapidated interior but a good frame, and put on a cabover along with a rollback bed. Thoughts anyone?

    Like 8
  5. Ken Carney

    Think I’d put a stake bed body on the
    back and use it to carry large loads of
    supplies from Home Depot that I need
    to remodel Mom’s house. $15K. and
    climbing fast. I just hope that there’ll
    be some affordable cars for me to
    choose from after we get done.

    Like 2
  6. Steve Clinton

    I watched “Jeepers Creepers” last night and I will never look at COEs the same way again!

    Like 4
  7. Chuck Morrison

    Clarification on the bed: it’s the original Holmes wrecker bed, minus the winch and hooking gear. And I think it was a mistake to mount that body on an RV frame. I’d have kept the frame, and rebuilt the suspension with Peterbilt air ride components. And I would have made a natural marriage for a Dodge truck by dropping a Cummins in it. A Spicer 7 speed stick would be tempting…but I’m getting old and an Allison 6 speed auto would be more relaxing. I’d have replaced the bed with a new flatbed in finished oak and stainless steel ribs, with a B and H turnover ball gooseneck hitch. Throw in some high end side boxes, and a pair of 50 gallon polished aluminum saddle tanks, a restored interior, new glass, and finish with hunter green over black fenders…..oh well…a retired trucker can dream, can’t he? 🤠

    Like 3
  8. vintagehotrods

    It doesn’t have “a 2000 Dodge RV chassis” because the Dodge M-series RV chassis was used under Class A motorhomes from 1968 to 1979, so it must be of that vintage or from a Dodge pickup or van. With that heavy duty chassis, the ride would be bone crushing, to say the least unless you lightened up the suspension.

    I had the COE bug pretty bad a some years back and had three 1939-47 Ford COE Cabs, including two with the very rare 1938-40 Ford oval grills. I sold two of them when I moved to Arizona and I kept the one with the best rust free cab that was mounted on a Dodge van chassis. I cut it off that chassis and instead mounted it on a lowered Chevy one ton 1T dually chassis. I was going to mount the engine, a Chevy 8.1L Vortec big block behind the cab under a ramp back car hauler body I was going build for it. I was short of garage space so I had it parked in front of my shop by my house. One of my neighbors wasn’t a fan of it and I wasn’t going to get it finished anytime too soon so I sold it to a friend. I told my neighbor I thought it looked pretty nice out there when he had a cow over it.

    Here’s a few pics of it.

    I still love them but they are really big projects and a pretty impractical for daily use.

    And a few pics of the other two. The first was pretty rusty.

    This one was pretty nice and it went to New York and was built with a 6.0 LS motor in the conventional location on a Chevy pickup chassis. He even chopped it, which I wouldn’t have done.

    Like 1
  9. Bill McCoskey

    Sadly, the available chassis length behind the cab is too short for a car hauler unless one is carrying only microcars. Come to think about it, this big cab with a shorty rollback or ramp bed, filled with a BMW Isetta, would be quite a sight!

    Like 2
  10. Wayne from Oz

    Not aluminium alloy wheels, they are only wheel covers.

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