Paging Rouge Val Holsteins: 1956 Ford COE

Is there an old truck any cooler than a Ford COE? If there is, I haven’t found it. These striking big-rigs remain stunning pieces of trucking archaeology, with their stacked front end just oozing with art deco-inspired facial features. Today, they remain  as imposing as they are beautiful, and they’re typically made even better with traces of their past lives still inscribed on the doors. Check out this hulking workhorse here on craigslist for $3,500. 

In addition to being a cool cat simply for driving a COE, the previous owner is apparently just a general bad-ass, especially with a name like Rouge Val Holsteins. Part of me is inclined to believing this is a case of “patina on purpose”, as I almost can’t believe that such a place actually exists. However, if you Google the name, do you know what comes up? “Holsteins Shakes and Buns,” a burger joint in Las Vegas. Looks like this truck really did have a past in the livestock industry, and ‘ol Rouge diversified into fast food before selling his rig.

This COE hasn’t run since it was parked in 1983, so  there will be a fair amount of mechanical restoration needed before tackling the bodywork. In general, I’d say this rig needs a full restoration, cosmetic and mechanical, before it’s a pleasant to drive and inhabit. The seller points out that this year in particular is desirable for the curved windshield, which was apparently a one-year only option. Unfortunately, there are rust holes in all  the spots along the perimeter of the cab that you’d expect, and a large dent in the roof is allowing water to enter.

If it were mine, I’d sort the rust and mechanical issues, then make the interior near-perfect before clear-coating the entirety of the body. As for the bed, it absolutely deserves a flat-bed, in my humble opinion, but you may feel differently. The wheelbase is 13 feet, so there’s plenty of room for your imagination to take hold. No matter what you do with it, the homage to Rouge Val Holstein should remain imprinted on the doors forever, and a visit to his burger joint is a requirement on its maiden voyage.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    While I agree with Jeff, these trucks did have some nice styling. ’30’s through the 50’s are my favorites. Great to see these still around, but driving them was another matter entirely. The owner is correct that this was a 1 year only cab, but those are not tubeless tires. Tubeless tires were standard on the F-100 in ’56, these are still the “widow maker” split rims. Like the Alfa story, I bought a ’55 F-600 ( non cabover) flatbed, with hoist in the 80’s, that ran for $100, and the guy begged me to take another non-running Ford “parts truck”. I declined on the parts truck ( there was really nothing wrong with the 1st truck) and he had it hauled away for scrap. It looked a lot like this one. Just so you know where I’m coming from, I’d find it really hard to pay this much for one. If, by some outside chance, you were to tackle this, I’d go the “Counting Cars” route, put the cab on a modern chassis.

    • Jeff Staff

      Howard, I think what we’re seeing is not only just pure supply-and-demand but also sellers who want to see if people will bite just because it looks wild, or different, thanks to an old paint job or other effect of nature. Some of these, I’m guessing, have a selling price well below what they are advertised for.

    • Dale Powell

      Those are tubeless tires on the front, just installed later in it’s life . See how the edge of the bead area tapers sharply in to the wheel ? When new , this truck would have had the Firestone RH5* 20 inch “widow maker” tube type 2 piece wheels , but they were replaced by these tubeless 22.5 types at some point.

    • Howard A Member

      Oh, one more thing to bolster why I would have a hard time paying much for these, and I don’t mean to brag, this is just the way it was years ago. The reason I declined the “parts truck”, was I already had a ’55 Ford F-500 box truck, that didn’t run, and I got it for NOTHING! (And was better than this) I spotted it in a corner of a church parking lot, and when I inquired about it, they were using it for storage, and were fixing to have it hauled away. So I grabbed it. Like I said, the thing about this truck, is they aren’t in church parking lots anymore.

  2. John Holden

    Actually the name is “ROUGE”, Jeff, not the more colorful ‘ROGUE’, so red holsteins…

    • Brian Miller

      The word on the truck is indeed Rouge…. although I’m wondering if it’s supposed to be Rogue in reference to the Rogue Valley and Rogue river which are both near Eagle Point, Oregon… not sure if the spelling on the truck door is intentional or not!

      • tugdoc

        Brian, under the Rouge Val in the close up it says Eagle Point

  3. Ed P

    I agree with Howard about a new chassis. As this truck stands, this would be a beast to drive. No power steering and the 292 v8 was not overpowering for this rig.

    • Snuffy

      Which reminds me of the old term, seldom-if ever heard these days: -‘double-clutching’ …

  4. Rustytech Member

    Snuffy. Most modern HD trucks still require double clutching, the manual transmissions are not synchronized.

    • Rustowner

      Really? Which model transmissions? Can you give examples?

      • Howard A Member

        Hi rustowner, most semi’s are still non-synchro, except for the wusses that have automatics ( you calls that a truck driver?) Most 9, 10, 13, 15, or 18 speed trannys are non-synchro, although, I think there is a synchro going from low to high range.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      I spent (5) years towing cars running an early 2000’s UD (Nissan) 2300 cabover with a six-speed behind the 6.9L inline 6 diesel (yes, not an HD truck, but along the same lines as. . .). Transmission was fully synchronised BUT double clutching allowed for faster and smoother shifting, particularly when downshifting in city traffic.

      This is just my experience and not meant to be a primer on modern truck transmissions.

      • Martin Sparkes

        I was trucking in the late 80’s and Volvo bought out White and started bringing european trucking technology to North America. They stuck an all volvo drive train into the white and it included a really nice motor that you couldn’t get parts for, and a fully synchronized 12 speed. A lot of lazy old truckers flocked to them, but quickly found out that the syncros slowed the shifting down tremendously and they would stall on the hills, or drop three gears instead of one. They developed a bad name, at least in B.C.

  5. JW

    I love the truck but even putting another chassis under it there’s still a ton of work to do. It’s such a mean looking design.

    • boxdin

      A late model Econoline E350 or E450 chassis would do well under this cab, after all late model vans are all COE !!

      • Jay E.

        I have a Dodge Tradesman flatbed van (with a 360) like the one in the photo above, or a GMC motorhome with a bigblock, either or which I will include, complete, with the sale at no cost.
        I live in the Rogue Valley, OR and the doors obviously say Rouge. Since BOTH of them say Rouge, I’d like to think it isn’t a misspell, but don’t know for sure.
        TImes were different when this truck was parked, better to be here-rusted and patina’d then scrapped. Scrappers try to buy this truck all the time, even today.
        I guess I should have said wraparound windshield instead of curved, I think it looks great.
        Thank you for all the comments, if you have the skill and desire to restore it, please make me an offer.

  6. Lee Jensen

    I see what appears to be 2 gear shift levers, i wonder if it had an over/ two speed axle or a dump bed set up?

    • Nate Member

      The lever sticking straight up is for the driveshaft mounted parking brake.

  7. gardener

    I think Howard is right drop this on a 3/4 or 1 ton of your choice and then enjoy would be a lot better and cheeper to do.would be loads easier to drive then the old farm monsters of the past man they sucked going into town to the grainery to unload whatever you had that year.But with modern frame and running gear could be a hoot to take to farm market or where ever you will.Good luck on this one hope someone enjoys.

  8. Kevin in Iowa Member

    In May of 2015 I went searching for some parts for my ’40 DeSoto. Finding nothing I took a few hundred pics (with a real camera, not a damn phone) of their old vehicles. The place is Oakleaf Salvage near Hartford, SD a couple miles south of I-90 in case you need a stop over to drool. I should have gone a month earlier as the ticks were thick. I’m pretty sure this COE is still there but I think they only sell parts, not complete units. Walking briskly you should be able to see everything in a couple hours.

  9. turretman1st
  10. RicK

    I much prefer the one year only vertical windshield post design w/ wraparound glass on the “Rogue” ’56 than the slanted flat winshield ’55 that Kevin in Iowa discovered

    • Kevin in Iowa Member

      It’s slanted yes, but I believe curved as well. I think the one 60 miles from here looks much better, considering it too is a Ford. If I could just find my Tad Burness Truck Spotters Guide! I’m not much of a Ford fan for all cars built after 1936 and pickups/trucks after 1963-ish. Most brands COE’s 1950’s and older quicken my heartbeat! Here’s another pic from Oakleaf, love that 1838? Ford grille.

    • boxdin

      That cab is standard 1956 ford same as pickups. COE differences were obviously a large hole in the floor w different front end.

  11. scottymac

    Some time back I spotted an ad for a Rambler American Rouge. I messaged the seller and told him I couldn’t see the red coupe he claimed to be selling. I had to tell him he’d misspelled the i.d. He called me a smart a++ and cussed me out. No sense of humor at all.

    • Kevin in Iowa Member

      Misspelled words are running rampant these days on social media, etc. As a guy who very rarely misspells any word, it drives me crazy as they jump off the page at me. It’s as if their phones are dumbing their users down. Doesn’t everyone proofread before posting? Are our schools not teaching the basics anymore? From what I’ve observed, young people are indeed going backwards in intelligence.

      I can’t resist posting another Oakleaf pic.

      • Kevin in Iowa Member

        I goofed on the picture. This is what I meant….

        I was only able to spend 3 hours there. Another 3 hours and I might have seen everything. Generally 19teens to thankfully very few 1980’s.

      • Eric 10Cars

        Kevin, I have the same reaction, but on this site, I give everyone a personal and non-verbal break. I worked with special ed kids for about 12 years, and I can attest to the fact that failure to spell correctly or read well has nothing to do with intelligence. On BF I could care less about our fellow posters’ literacy because I’m so taken with the phenomenal amount of vehicular knowledge present. I learn something new every day.

        On the other hand, when I read columns (particularly sports columns, but political as well), I am astounded at the number grammatical errors, misused homonyms (their, there, they’re), missing words, missing punctuation (making it impossible to parse the sentence correctly without 2 or 3 tries at it) and misspellings by professional writers. It’s as if the entire copy-editing function has been out-sourced to OCR software. My mother was a copy editor at Reader’s Digest Condensed Books for 25 years, so I’m particularly attuned to this sorely lacking feature in today’s on-line material.

  12. Andre U

    This truck seems to be located in White City, Oregon. The ranch name, partially obscured, appears to be in Eagle Point, Oregon. Both are in the ROGUE Valley, Oregon… could it be that the sign painter actually meant to paint “Rogue,” and misspelled it? If so, I hope the truck owner got a discount.

  13. milotus

    I believe that’s a take on the Rogue River Valley,
    in Southern Oregon.

  14. Eddie Nash

    A lot can be done with one of these.
    Here is a friends 53 Ford COE which is a show winning working truck!

    Like 1
  15. Eddie Nash

    Wayne’s truck now has a 8.3 turbo Cummins with a 6 speed auto trans and every goodie you could imagine!
    This was what he started with!

    • Mark S

      Not sure why you got 2 thumbs down for your post, I think your freind did a great job at turning a nothing scrap heap into a well laid out work /show truck. If I had this truck I’d do something similar.

  16. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like what I see. This style of truck had a class all its own. Not the easiest truck to drive, however, the short cab helped get the weight more evenly distributed between the axles; something that made the scale bosses a little easier to get along with. Sure weren’t the easiest to maneuver without power steering and a good many of them didn’t have that back then.

    Although these cabs look great stuck on a modern chassis, I cannot condone doing that because there weren’t very many of them built in the first place and it ends up being another derelict chassis either rusting away or off to the blast furnace. The cab will be enjoyed on its new chassis for a couple of years, until the novelty wears off and things start needing attention, then it ends up being a derelict that will end up being parted out or crushed. Every time we go down to see the kids we pass an International and a Chevy that were transplanted some years ago and each time the surface rust gets bigger and the splits in the bondo get more defined.

    • Mark S

      Hi Geomechs your right about keeping the chassie but thats where it would end for me. Pull the cab and fenders off for restoration, while there off gut out that engine and trans. I’d put in a cumins diesel with an Alison six speed behind it. I’d then investigate changing axle ratios depending on what is back there. I’d blast and repaint the frame upgrade the brakes and steering to include power steering. I like the idea of a vintage sleeper behind the cab. I’d go with a fifth wheel hitch and some nice rap around fenders. I like the versatility of trailers as you are not limited in what you can use this truck for.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Mark. I could go along with that. I sure wouldn’t object to softening up the ride either. I’ve seen some trucks done up like that and they look real good…

  17. Dairymen

    Rouge Val Holsteins is the name of a Dairy. Most likely this dairyman had registered Holstein cows. The official names of their cows would start with the prefix “Rouge Val” followed by the cow’s name.

    Like 1
    • Loco Mikado

      Ginger Rogers had a dairy farm in the Rogue Valley, Roger’s Rogue River Ranch..I always looked at her differently when watching her movies after I found that out.

  18. Mr. Bond

    I’d try to find other doors for it, then hang those on my garage walls.

  19. ELMER TURNER

    i cannot understand that most antique collectable cars and trucks are just plopped down on the ground in a woods or field etc, somewhere, instead of using common sense and blocking them off the damp ground with blocks or railroad ties. then as the years go by and rust takes its toll, the owners expect to get big bucks for a vehicle thats scrap.

  20. M/K

    Look closer at the door art, eagle point Oregon is just outside Medford or. It was a real farm. I live in grants pass or. About 30 miles away. No burger joint.

  21. Eric 10Cars

    Coe

    Here’s a COE Chevy that someone did (on an 95 chassis, believe he said) shown at the Raleigh, NC Spring 2016 Good Guys National.

    I’m also reminded of the ‘Fast & Loud’ episode where Richard and Aaron ‘test’ drove a similar flat-screen Ford. To say that it drove like a truck would be to impugn trucks in general. After that short jaunt, they may all have needed kidney transplants and developed CTE.

    • Eric 10Cars

      Failed again…screw it.

    • Josh Staff

      If the photo is high resolution and quite large, it won’t upload. If it’s under 8 mbs and still won’t load, you might have to select the photo and let it sit for a minute or two while it loads to our server. If all else fails, just email it to me and I’ll add it for you!
      Josh

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