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Restore or Replicate? 1941 Ford COE Crew Cab

This 1941 Ford cab-over is offered for sale by Iron City Garage. If you aren’t aware of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based dealer, they are one of the premier sources for vintage patina project trucks in the country. They have about 400K followers across their social media platforms and seem to find some of the coolest trucks to flip. They specialize in COEs, but also have a consistent selection of nice pickups, and have recently branched out into petroliana, vintage parts, and even a fastback Mustang. This truck can be found here on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $12,500. As you’ll see, it is a pretty rare truck but will need a ton of work. Check it out.

Here is one shot of the interior. You can see this truck has a ton of rust. It is a really cool “mega-cab” COE, which is extremely rare. According to the ad, this truck was originally a U.S. military vehicle used to pull tanks from the mud. It was later acquired by Bell Telephone to erect telephone poles!

The seller is pretty clear that this truck is very rusty. In fact, they say it is probably best used as a template to build a new crew cab COE. If the truck was to be restored, it would need to be blasted or dipped, which reveals the true extent of the rot. I’m guessing the truck would come back a lot lighter than it left.

Here you can see the heavy-duty winch located behind the cab. I bet when it was new, this truck was a beast! Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an engine now, so a new owner will need to source a drive train. How about repairing the worst of the rust and dropping the body on a modern diesel chassis? What would you do with this one? Is it savable?


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    A COE of this vintage is rare enough but a crew cab would be akin to the winning Power Ball ticket. I would love to see this restored and certainly hope that the buyer is as passionate as I am. If I was able to take this on it would be the biggest challenge I ever had, just to restore it. I would consider a Mercury engine. I can’t tell if the truck has a 2-speed axle but I would sure recommend it to keep up with the traffic in the slow lane. For me it would be a lot of fun to take the grandkids to the show-shine in. But other than that it would be another rare truck saved from a butcher’s torch…

    Like 28
    • Rallye Member

      There aren’t a lot of sleepers on conventional or COEs from that era either. Grandson and I toured a large truck collection 20 years ago. Maybe a crew cab, a Diamond T 614 and B model Mack with sleepers.
      Took the grandson and the Mack EH to a thresheree near Eden, WI. It was free and fun.
      That was days after I learned all the different costs to be in the shows and parades in Waupun, Wi at the annual truck thing.

      Like 1
      • Rallye Member

        I found photos of the 614 with the sleeper.

        Like 0
    • Scott

      Would enjoy tasking myself with that puzzle.would make it into a custom RV with a 7.3 supercharged.

      Like 2
  2. Howard A Member

    You know, I stay on this site because of people like Geomechs. It’s always tough to follow his normally optimistic posts with my down trodden ones, but in a case like this, I can’t contain myself. I’m not sure if I should lambast the seller for their greed or pity them for their illness. It looks pre-military, and more than likely a special built municipal truck, for RR or forestry crew, and a very rare FWD( cough) Does anyone here, besides the seller, think this is worth anything? To alter the saying some, one mans junk is still another mans junk,,I’d give $50 bucks for the winch.

    Like 25
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Howard. I have to admit that I seriously disagree with some of the asking prices for these vehicles. But IMHO that doesn’t alter the vehicle. In a perfect world I’d take one of these on and give it what it needs. Cost be damned. In some of the custom shops, $12K is a mere fraction of what the end result is going to be whereas my personal budget says $12K for the completed project. If you had to pay someone $100.00/hr to fix the rust on this you’re going to be in the upper 5-figures and then you’d have to source out the paint. For me it’s a labor of love. Call it silly but my relics become part of the family. Even my wife has expressed sadness when one of the vehicles leaves. All too soon we’re going to become empty-nesters again. First it’s the kids, then it’s the vehicles. Then it’s the stuff in the house. That’s one of the things I hate about getting older, however, I don’t plan on stopping for a few years, yet…

      Like 38
      • TomP

        $100 per hour? Boy, did screw up in life. I studied hard to be in honors classes in high school, was on the dean’s list in private college, interned for three years in an architectural firm, studied for three years to pass the architects licensing exam and became an architect, and make nowhere near $100 per hour. I should have dropped out of high school in tenth grade, went to local Votech school for autobody, got my GED, worked in autobody, and I’d be living in a mansion right now driving a Bentley, making $100 per hour doing auto body. What a loser I am.

        Like 15
      • Bellingham Fred

        The shop charges $100 per hour, the body man doesn’t make that much.

        Like 21
      • John Eder

        @ Tom P

        I managed an emergency vehicle repair/parts company for about 7 years. In the mid 1990’s (we were in California) our shop labor rate was $125.00/hour. My best techs (all trained/certified as expert fire apparatus techs) were making around $40.00/hour plus full benefits, plus 10-12% profit sharing in those days. A $10-20 K bill for accident damage or pump rebuild was not uncommon. Refurbs ran $100 K in some cases (as opposed to $300 K + for a new apparatus).

        Have you called a licensed, professional plumber or electrician lately? The installation of two LED security lights high up on the wall of my commercial building cost $500.00 labor (I supplied the lights)- and this is in New Mexico.

        Yes, a willingness to still get your hands dirty often (not always) pays significantly more than “cleaner” professions.

        Like 7
      • Rallye Member


        Not mentioned in the shop overhead is insurance. I just wrote a check from the shop account. If I locked the doors, probably would need insurance on the building, contents and liability for people going to the locked door.

        Like 1
      • Connecticut mark

        I pay my lawnmower mechanic 125.00 per hour, my repair shop 150.00 per hour, dealers more. Almost not worth it. I try to go on you tube to fix things myself. Body work never I could do it.

        Like 3
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    After spending most of my life, and probably a ton of money, restoring cars I question if this truck is restorable at all. Pretty rough.

    Like 16

    If that were an early 50’s Ferrari in that condition all three would be restored.

    Like 5
  5. Jay E. Member

    I’d say 10K of the asking price is the extended cab. I have seen several 6- figure COE’s that have had custom long cabs, but never seen a factory one. The asking price might be right for the rarity. It is much easier to copy than design.
    Geo, I like your comment about the kids, then the cars,in my case then the equipment, tools and remaining stuff. I’m at the cars phase, and stuff will follow. Tools and equipment will probably go with my estate.

    Like 6
  6. Big C

    This seller always seems to ask big prices for rusted hulks.

    Like 3
  7. TomP

    This truck has been for sale for a while. This is kind of a niche vehicle, only loved by truck people.

    Like 4
  8. TheOldRanger

    Where are the horror movie makers? This one would make a great “villain” vehicle… like Christine.

    Like 3
  9. George Birth

    Too much rust on this one for the price. If seller were to lower the price to $6K it would sell a heck of a lot faster. It may be a rare truck but it will take too much labor to restore. Rust + no drive train = no sale!

    Like 1
  10. Greg

    All I can say, a fool and his money are soon parted

    Like 3
  11. Bill

    Where is #BillCarlton from Texas Metal when you need him this looks just like something he would want to modernize. https://watch.motortrend.com/show/texas-metal-motortrend

    Like 0
  12. CatieH

    Tom P., your comment makes you a loser, not your education. We need tradesmen as much or more than architects. That does not mean one is better than the other. We all have our areas of expertise. As for $100/hour, that is the shop rate, not the tradesman’s wage. That covers buildings, utilities, wages and other overhead. You spent years at school to be an architect, the tradesmen take years to learn their craft. Don’t compare apples and oranges.

    Like 17
  13. Bill

    This was used to pull out stuck tanks??? For a Sherman at 33 tons AND being stuck in the mud I would like to see that! Sounds like the sellers fantasy!

    Like 9
  14. Kevin D

    I have a 45 COE custom & to me it will run about $150 to $200k to put this back in top shape either way, custom or original ( original would be great but much harder) A nice custom to pull a otter home type trailer would be great. Total project done correctly will run $450-$500k & you would have a unique custom that no one else would have. Being a crew cab is what really makes it special. That’s what I am doing with mine.

    Like 4
  15. Chevychase71 Member

    It’ll cost a lot one way or the other ( labor, time, money, and assets (after the divorce). How much exactly to be determined by the buyer’s vision. I saw a ratty one married to a carryall (or something of the sorts) over at Lead East a few years back. Ratty and all, it was a real show stopper. Not too many there who would have passed on the opportunity to buy it. This one is rough. Too far gone I believe to make it a worthwhile restoration project but hopefuly enough metal left for a ratoration (if thats even a word). Id love to take this on, but at 12k, the masochist & and the accountant in me are finally on the same page.

    Like 7
  16. Mike

    Please, don’t turn this into yet another custom toy hauler. We’re lousy with custom vintage toy haulers. How about restoring just the cab and put it on a new frame with a huge custom camper on the back? Everything would have to be designed to look vintage though. A huge project and a huge pile of $$$$.

    Like 1
  17. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I could just picture this truck – in its present form – practically snarling, while chasing Dennis Weaver in his “Scamp” across the desert highways of New Mexico.

    Like 0
  18. John C.

    Looks like a old truck junkyard, I like it!

    Like 0
  19. JEFF G. 4X4

    it need’s joe martin at iron resurrection…….

    Like 0

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