Hot Rod Hauler? 1950 Chevrolet COE

COE (Cab Over Engine) trucks seem like they are coming out of the woodwork lately…Probably because they are commanding really strong prices and sellers are capitalizing on a strong market. This 1950 Chevrolet is another example of a truck with a high price tag. It can be found here on eBay with an asking price of $7,700. Obviously a seller can ask whatever price they want, this price may not be out of line. Let’s take a look and see what you think.

Climb up to the interior and you’ll find a bit of work to do. As you can see, it looks fairly original but will need a bit of work to make it comfortable. You can see what appears to be a couple of aftermarket gauges under the dash.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a good photo of the engine. You can see the tall firewall which is a trademark of a COE. Everything in the nose is exaggerated. The seller says the truck hasn’t been started in about three years, but before that, it was running and driving. If the new owner is going to make it into a hauler, they will probably want to swap in a Cummins, Duramax or Power Stroke.

COE trucks make awesome hot rods and hot rod haulers. You can go to a show like the Lone Star Throwdown and see dozens of 1950 Chevrolet pickups, but you won’t see too many COE’s. How about hauling your 1950 hot rod with your 1950 COE? The current wheelbase is perfect for a ramp-back conversion. If the COE is going to be the hot rod itself, the new owner would probably want to shorten the wheelbase.


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  1. Howard A Member

    Nah, I think the steam has fizzled on vintage hot rod haulers. People are finding, it’s too much work to convert these today, and there are plenty already converted. Sadly, I don’t see anything happening to this old gal except what you see. One thing for sure, with an oil filter like that, the motor had clean oil.

    Like 9
    • Ken

      It’s got a hoist, so just fix the bed, add grain racks and some good used tires, and put her to work hauling grain out of the fields. The powertrain is adequate, because she doesn’t have to move fast, she just has to move.

      Like 3
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I’ve never driven a cab-forward Chevy but I’ve driven lots of conventionals in the field hauling grain. It’s a lot of fun starting out with 250 bushels of wheat (15K lbs net) in a soft field. Granny-granny and you’ve still got to rev the hell out of it and ride the clutch. It didn’t matter if it was a 216 Chevy, or a Green Diamond powered Binder, or a Ford F-6 with a flathead V8, it was still an effort to get it moving. But move they all did. Fortunately, this one looks like a hydraulic hoist. Wait till you get to run a cable lift…

        Like 2
      • Ken

        I hauled hundreds of tons of wheat and barley out of soft fields in eastern Washington in my youth. I started out in a ’52 IH L-160, but the best truck I ever drove for the job was a ’69 Loadstar 1600 with the 345 V8. My uncle swore by IH trucks, and wouldn’t have any other make on the place. Six thousand acres with five slow-as-snot John Deere 95Hs with 18-ft. headers and three Loadstars kept us busy for nearly a month every summer throughout the seventies. The JDs replaced three IH 403 hillsiders and one 503 prairie land machine. My dad said they were the worst combines ever built.

        Like 1
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Sheridan, WY. Relatively salt free. This would be a great project. I wish I had the werewithal to take on a project like this. I would restore it to its original glory and really enjoy it. A bit of a rough rider and somewhat slow motion but that wouldn’t be the first time I held up traffic while enjoying a nice vintage ride. It says that it’s running a 216, which I am quite happy with. Besides, it’s my average golf score…

    Like 9
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      And while the other golfers show up with their Cadillacs, Lincolns or the too-oft seen Porsche, you’d drive in to the parking lot with one of these unstrap your golf caddy with clubs from the bed and walk into the pro shop-the expressions of wonder would be a picture worth framing!!!
      Very cool potential, worth restoring. Finding just a clean cab though I’d go with Montana’s suggestion to use a modern Duramax set up on a modern frame and add a manual gearbox if it’s possible.

      Like 4
      • Patrick

        That’s the way I would see it. Would have to add some semi style stacks I think. A toss up to make it into a semi tractor hauling some sort of RV trailer or 5th wheel set-up or add a body to its original frame.

        Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I just got a flashback to Rodney Dangerfield driving his Bentley onto the golf course in Caddyshack. I’d be almost bold enough to drive the truck onto the course. You could easily haul a set of clubs the size of Rodney’s…

        Like 4
      • Chevy Guy

        Yes!!! A Duramax would be awesome!!! As long as you don’t put in a cummins or a powerstroke!!! If its a Dodge put in a Dodge engine!!! If its a Chevy, put in a Chevy Engine!!!!!

        Plus a manual Duramax would be awesome!!

        Like 2
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        I’ll bet no one would say anything to you if you did, geomechs-most people like them are kinda ‘fraid of those like us who do crazy &/or goofy stuff….🤪

        Like 4
    • BigDoc

      That’s better than mine so when are you going pro. LOL

      Like 2
  3. KSwheatfarmer

    I don’t think all of these had the five window cab? could be unique in that respect? Would like to hear the story on that.

    Like 5
  4. Classic Steel

    I still like them 👍😏

    I see this Air Force blue paint on body with a white cap 🧢👍 (Possible orig color as firewall is blue )

    Like 4
  5. Gaspumpchas

    Yea KS wheatfarmer, those corner windows are the bomb. Dunno about other parts of the country, but these COE’s are hot stuff here in the Northeast. I know 2 builders that have built multiple COEs using the 1 ton ram frame and Cummins oil burner. They don’t even have them finished and they are sold! This one is too cool. I’d almost like to see a 283 or a 235 in this, what a blast to drive. The market will set the value on this beauty!

    Like 5
  6. lbpa18

    Tons of potential here. If there was a way to keep the original wheels front and back but have a modern running gear, keeping everything else looking the same, Id do it. Id start by looking for a 4X4 front axle and try for the NAPCO look. Certainly the diesel would be a good choice. New high quality bed wood, some genuine working-quality stakesides and put her to work. The visor and high-option deluxe cab on a COE arent very common either.

    Like 1
  7. Doug

    I’ve seen several of these with Cummins engines mounted behind the cab under a ramp bed which had toolboxes mounted under the bed along the sides – one of the toolboxes was a dummy, designed to give access to the starter side of the engine and house the battery. It also had removeable hatch covers over the engine and driveline that looked like the rest of the bed floor, allowing for easy access to engine, trans, and GearVendors overdrive unit. The owner used it to haul both his show car and his race car……must be nice to be able to afford that kind of toys !

    Like 2
  8. Ken Cwrney

    Hi GPC! A 283 would be an improvement,
    but I feel that a 400 or 454 would be more
    in order for this beast. Can’t see much use for it other than a really wild RV now.
    A year ago, I may suggested its use as a
    scrap hauler, but my times have changed.
    My BILs got out of the scrap business due to health reasons and the fact the
    price of scrap took a dive a few months
    back. A lot of scrappers I know have left
    the business because there’s no longer
    any profit in it. I was putt-puttin’ around my workshop when I took a lunch break,
    looked at my phone, and saw this. Gotta
    try and finish a portrait of my girlfriend’s
    old ’67 Chevy Impala wagon that she drove in Maine in the ’70s. Take care folks, and Merry Christmas!

    Like 1
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Hey Ken! You are right about the scrap business. It was bad before this past few months where more of the foreign countries pulled out. Pitiful. I know one scrapper who is now charging to pick up scrap metal. far cry from the redneck Bonanza a few years ago when I got 16 cents a pound for cars. Finish that portrait of the 67 wagon, would love to see it!

    Like 2
  10. Paolo

    I would get it running and reliable, tidy up the interior but otherwise leave it looking pretty much the same. I like that visor and those mirrors. The “hot rod hauler” and swap to modern chassis is a pretty tired idea, imho.

    Like 1
  11. TimM

    I wish I had a need for something like this!! Still one of the coolest style cabs I’ve ever seen!! Hope it gets the love it deserves!!!

    Like 1
  12. Paolo

    Definitely needs someone to fall in love with it. Don’t they all.

    Like 2
  13. Chevy Guy

    Dang, maybe i should get one of these instead of a regular half ton. I have always loved the look of the COE ones too!! They look kind of goofy, which i love!!

    Like 2
  14. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I’ve seen a couple of COE’s over the years set up as car haulers. They had a look and feel to them that modern equipment doesn’t. Unless planned for local use only, I’d be inclined to agree that a modern drivetrain is the way to go. This will take a lot of space and money to fix up, then add the shed required to store it in. Then again, if those things are fulfilled, this could be a fun project IMO. It has character that hasn’t been seen for a long time in trucking.

    Like 1
  15. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    Frankly, the only thing of value here is the cab itself. Every one of these that I’ve seen resto-modded were put on modern a chassis with a modern drivetrain. The cabs are usually extended and the interior entirely upgraded. They’re definitely cool when done properly. Danny Count has one with a non-extended cab. Lotta work all in all. Definitely requires a committment.

    Like 1
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Retro mod can be done on existing frame rails by simply upgrading the components one the frame, such as engine, trans, brakes. Axles could still be reused with brake upgrades being fitted. I think it would simplify the conversion and may even cut the costs down quite a bit.

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