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Hot Rod Hauler Potential: 1952 Ford COE

COE’s or Cab-Over-Engine trucks are really neat.  They share the looks (and some parts) with their lighter duty siblings, but have taller hoods and cabs.  If you can spot a 1952 Ford F-1 pickup, then you can spot a 1952 Ford COE.  This specific truck was found by reader Matt Williams and is for sale here on eBay with a current bid of $5,900.  The truck currently resides in chilly Lake Park, Minnesota, so bring your puffy jacket if you are the winning bidder.

With the current configuration of stake bed and side boards, this truck probably spent its previous life hauling hay and livestock.  The ad does say it has spent the last couple decades parked inside a machine shop.  What will the future hold?  I guess that’s up to the new owner.  These trucks have great potential.  Not only can they be hot rodded, they can be made into a hot rod hauler.  If you are going to trailer a race car or show car, why not haul it in vintage style?

The interior of this truck looks pretty good.  Note the original gauges, steering wheel and pedals.  You can also see the large hump in the floor which is designed to give the engine clearance.  The nice thing about placing the cab over the engine is you sit up higher and can easily see around the front of the vehicle.

The downside to a COE is the engine can be less accessible.  Everything is a little out of proportion and parts aren’t always interchangeable between light duty models.  If you choose to take on a project that is out of the mainstream, you have to be dedicated to creatively sourcing parts and doing some fabrication.  When finished, you will end up with a unique ride that you can be proud of.


  1. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Me like. Great big red hauler! There is a 53-55 configured for horse transport on the local CL, unable to find a new home. A neighbor had a 52 decaying in his back field when I was growing up. I think I stole one of those grille teeth from it as a souvenir before it got pulled out due to county codes violation.

  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    This truck is in nice shape. Something like this should remain all together. Taking the cab from something as nice as this and leaving the frame and all the COE related hardware to the elements would really bother me. On the other hand, I’ve seen lots of these placed on a modern chassis, and they look good. For the likes of myself though, I’ll drive a little slower and enjoy it for what it was intended. Put a flatbed on it and use it as a classy hauler to take your other prizes to the show…

    Like 2
  3. Nrg8

    Phallic looking. Love it.

  4. Rube Goldberg Member

    Thanks for the trucks, you guys. This is the real deal, your classic Barn Find. Clearly, actual mileage. I’m surprised this doesn’t have a hoist, but very typical of these types of trucks. Used very little to haul something, and put back in the shed. ( until one of the kids took it out when mom and dad went to town, to see how fast they could get it going) These are a bit harder to work on, but I believe that “doghouse” inside comes off, and access to the motor. I suppose it could be updated with a modern drivetrain, tubeless tires would be nice, but is solid enough to remain as is. In the 80’s, I paid $100 dollars for a truck like this, a running ’53 F500 WITH a hoist, and the guy threw in a parts truck, to show you how things have changed. Great find. I bet there’s STILL a bunch of these in sheds across the country, found usually when the owner passes on and properties are gone through.

    Like 1
  5. Nrg8

    I wonder if this is the 239 or the 337 flattie? Had a 337 in a cosmo Lincoln went like snot

    Like 2
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Nrg. The pic isn’t very clear at all but I’d have to go for the 239/255 flathead. The 255 was available in the larger trucks and when you got to the F-7, F-8 Super Duty the 337 was available. They had pretty good power but for some strange reason, the truck applications tended to wipe out camshafts. And not flattening the lobes; they broke at high rpm, with pieces dropping down and hitting the crankshaft. When the rattling started it was pretty much game over.

      • Nrg8

        Interesting, the Cosmo wasn’t one that liked it when I would wind out the old powerglide. You could do it, but it didn’t take long. Lots of tourqe, that 49 went. People didn’t expect the H78 wide whites to start buffling out smoke from behind the skirts on that old tank. I guess I’m lucky cause only issue I had was vapor lock and the left motor mount/water pump sprung a leak.

  6. DJ McMackie

    This COE is Sexy!!!

    Like 1
  7. KSwheatfarmer

    Only one or two COE trucks that I know of in the whole county.Guessing farmers didn’t much care how long their new trucks were out in the wide open spaces. Maybe thats why these are scarce, hence the big money these command.They had to cost more than a regular cab back in 55?

  8. jdjonesdr

    I like the one behind it even more!

    • Bob Connearney

      The truck in the background is a c1941-48 Dodge COE, like the one that’s been sitting in my garage for too long (but not for sale).

      Like 1
  9. Madbrit

    I would like more info on the Buick too. Funny how a lot of these vehicles in the snow belt come up for sale in the middle of winter when travel is not too convenient.

    Like 1
  10. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    This seller has several old rigs on eBay right now. To clear the record, here is the 1954 set up as a horse hauler on the middle Tennessee Craigslist. I wouldn’t put my equine on this, or livestock of any kind. But imagine how much crap you could bring to Hershey or Carlisle after sorting out all of the safety and drivetrain bits!

  11. Mike

    Um, does the world need yet another COE hot rodded car hauler?

    • Bob


      Like 1
  12. Mike

    Secure the truck safe for road travel heck! I could dig haulin with this.

  13. chad

    but not very fast I’d assume. Even w/rear gear in 2nd, 50 mph would almost over rev the motor. “It could pull down a house” sure, haul a load, sure – but not built 4 today…
    One yr older than me, hope nxt owner would treat it as gentile as they would me.
    8^ 0

    Like 2
  14. JW

    Was at a car show in Higginsville,Mo. last summer and a guy parked his 50’s COE car hauler next to us. He upgraded the drivetrain but never painted it, it looked similar to the feature truck. He had saddle gas tanks made from beer kegs and spark plugs for lugnut caps. It was a awesome creation.

    Like 1
  15. Linko

    A Chevrolet “gas mileage gauge”? Never knew these even existed

  16. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member


    Like 1
  17. Mark

    I d

  18. Johnny

    I have a 56-c-600 Ford and have hauled quite a few loads on it. It has the 292 v-8 with the straight 4 speed. Which I like better then the 2 speed. Which I also have in a f-600 -75 Ford. You don,t have to worry about the points in any 2 speed fouling and busting the gears up. Its also done a good job and sometimes I have used overdrive on the interstate (HAHAHA going down a long hill. I need a original oil guage for mine. Sure would like to buy one off of someone.

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