Unfinished Restomod: 1946 Chevrolet COE

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The Chevrolet AK-Series COE (Cab-Over-Engine) trucks were workhorses back when this hauler was built after World War II. If you Google photos of these things, you’ll find more examples of modified customs as opposed to original trucks as most of them were all used up after a few years. This ’46 Chevy restomod may have retained little other than its sheet metal, with an 8.1-liter Chevy V8 installed to get things going. The seller says it’s not 100% complete, so maybe a few finishing touches are needed. From North Bergen, New Jersey, the bidding here on eBay has reached $31,100 but the reserve is still looming.

It’s been a while since I last saw one of these mules. They served all sorts of purposes back in the day, including use as flatbeds, tankers, and even city buses. In form, today this truck is light years away from what it was like 77 years ago. Photos provided by the seller not only include what we believe is the final product (as of now), and some work-in-process pics have been added to the mix. The mechanical structure of the vehicle has changed a lot, with the engine moved to the bed behind the cab, a 510 cubic inch Chevy motor from 2004 that looks to have its share of mods. A rebuilt 4l60e automatic transmission takes care of the shifting now.

Though the paint looks original with patina, it’s actually been redone to look that way. The interior has received a makeover with custom two-tone bucket seats and it looks as though an under-dash air conditioner has been sandwiched into the dashboard. The truck sports new glass, new tires and wheels, and new brakes, and the suspension has been lowered (lifted from a 1984 Jaguar).

A litany of other parts and pieces are new to the equation, such as a conversion to a 12-volt electrical system, LED lights, airbags, and power steering. I suspect this truck can be driven as-is as the seller does not say what’s needed to make it “100% complete.” How much is a new old truck like this worth – and what would you do with it?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    This is really cool. Just shows what money can do. Seems these things are popular on either coast, but not much in between, and for good reason. The money has gravitated to either side of the country leaving Joe Lunchpail in the middle dry. In a “more is better” theme, I always wondered why that motor wasn’t used more often. I knew someone with a dump truck with an 8.1. Like most gas motors in a hauling situation, I wasn’t too impressed. Still, for today in a street rod,,”oh my, an 8.1″. Like it or nor not this is the future for any vintage truck that gets found, and that’s okay, really, it has no appeal as original( except for the few folks here) and at least it’s saved. Again, as a motorhead, OF ANY AGE, if you don’t think this is cool, may I suggest knitting?

    Like 16
  2. bobhess bobhessMember

    I like it. Crew Chief says it needs a bed cover so she could use it as a grocery getter.

    Like 7
  3. Dave

    I’m amazed that the “Debbie Downer” of the comment section didn’t attempt to eviscerate this old Chevy. Maybe he’s seen the light? These look awesome with this treatment. Maybe the “Not 100% Finished” means an engine cover?

    Like 7
  4. Jim

    Once again, “Simulated Patina” rears it’s incredibly ugly head! I never understood spending more money to make a car or truck look like crap than it would take to make it look great! This truck would look fantastic in a base/clear black cherry metallic paint job. No, the seller decided to make it look like it NEEDS a paint job instead of already having a high end paint job. Of course, the cost of this foolishness will be passed along to the buyer. I might be interested in this truck (if I were into trucks in the first place), but the necessary expense of getting it painted properly would put it well out of my price range. Other than that, I like the style of these postwar Chevy trucks and the series that followed them.

    Like 15
    • Rw

      Jim I can’t believe Howard didn’t get upset over the paint.

      Like 2
  5. Robert West

    With the owner having reserve set somewhere in outer space, one would think he actually doesn’t want to sell this truck. The automotive market today has gone off the rails.

    Like 6
  6. T. MannMember

    All the primer spots are there to hide poor body work and poor paint :(

    Like 5
  7. Mark396

    Very neat truck, but get the poor thing off the ground. It is way too low.

    Like 4
    • Mike's57

      It’s called air-ride, learn about it…

      Like 1
  8. Greg GustafsonMember

    What’s with the double-ugly exhaust pipe escutions behind the wheel well openings in the rear fenders…gauche! In a few of the photos, they’re not there and the paint looked better sans the addition of the faux patina.

    Like 6
  9. Bill

    NO white wall tires on pickup trucks ever! Its just wrong. But for Gods sake if you’re gonna do it at least have the spare match the other 4

    Like 6

    Hell! I’d initially leave it pretty much as-is and then, maybe add some vintage accoutrement that really fit in as I found them, one piece at-a-time. I just love cars and have never had the right time and $ to get one myself.

    I think this is a sweet looking cab, with a generic bed added to have a place to carry the 2 rear wheels. All that compact metal, chrome and glass of the cab are way beyond cool! Shine up that chrome and give some thought to what to do with the back half of the vehicle at my leisure, sitting back with a beer.

    In the meantime, I’d love to just drive around and let people see REAL “WOW! LOOK AT THAT!!!” power released. I’d gladly to have that as my personal classic vehicle.

    Like 3
  11. BimmerDudeMember

    Love that 8.1, it looks great trimmed out in red. I have the 8.1 in my moho with some Bank Engineering upgrades and it sounds and feels great.

    My only dislike is the street-scraping suspension but the air tank and compressor behind the engine suggest that it is adjustable.

    Like 3
  12. chrlsful

    here’s from the “DD Club”, just wait Dave.

    As often as 1 comes up (if not ignored) I run them down… I hate ‘a patina finish’ (unless it’s a mild, occurring naturally, survivor). Fake patina is @ the worse. (notice I am not running any person down verbally). We got kids round here take an actual brillo pad (the kitchen scrub pad – 000steel wool w/soap embedded ) and buff a finish. Earthier oil over it or clear it out ( any – gloss, satin, mat). Some use ‘rust colored’ paint in ‘their creation’ (what’s not even there).
    Better in my world would have been to do the truck, with useable bed space and the actual finish, cleaned up, /or/ !! a re-spray. Cars’n trucks are for use (commute, etc or haul) not display really, even the racer – it races (sure, if a side line – but not primarily). (sure I gota sno plow comes out only in winter when needed, a woods truck, etc. But these things pay me, they dont just sit there waiting for 3 parades a yr or Fri nite shows 5 – 10/yr).
    The truck’s fine otherwise (rear fenders go on for too long but he has some kinda funky exh. under there’n I dont like raked or slammed so much) but minor points.

    He brought together the COE & p/u almost as if they had ’em back then (otherwise). Not the 1st but big Kudos !

    Like 1
  13. bone

    Well its nothing I’d want, but there’s been some serious work done on this old COE. I’d sure be checking it out if it was at a car show !

    Like 1
  14. Tom

    I would love, love, love to have this!! First change would be to make this a car hauler for my show cars. Have been looking for a steal on one in reasonable condition for just this reason. Probably wouldn’t do the “patina” funk, but rather a high-end custom paint job. Just another bucket listing for me.

    Like 2
  15. T. MannMember

    “patina funk” dates this truck to the 90s

    Do the math:
    40,000 for the truck
    15,000 for paint unless you want quality, then it’s 25,000
    15,000 for wheels, tires and suspension upgrade, unless u want quality

    Last chance, BID NOW…

    Like 1
  16. Lowell Peterson

    In SoCal we are seeing former ratty “rat rods” show up with shiny paint and soon after optimistic asking prices. Not sure who wants that. Cut up chopped up and generally crude “hotrods are not much improved with paint. IMHO.

    Like 1
  17. Richard

    That’s not a COE. It’s a LCF ( Low Cab Forward )

    Like 1
    • Jim

      I had the same thought. Unfortunately, very few car/truck fans nowadays recognize the “LCF” designation. Even at 60 years old, if I weren’t a life-long car nut, I probably wouldn’t recognize it either. But lots of people, even outside the trucking industry, know what a “Cabover” is. Frankly, to my eye, an LCF looks a lot better than an all-business, no-play cabover. The LCF has a modicum of style to go with its workhorse raison d’etre, while a cabover is just a blunt front end hauling a big ol’ trailer.

      Like 0

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