Thursday, November 10, 2016

Heavy Hauler #2: 1953 Chevrolet COE Truck

00S0S_69TvQv1cgw8_600x450If you liked last week’s “Vintage Bow-Tie Hauler“, maybe you’ll appreciate this one too. This 1953 Chevrolet COE is listed for sale here on St. Louis’ craigslist, but is apparently located an hour or so west, in Mexico, Missouri.

22The asking price is $5,000 and my first thought was that the price is too high for an “old farm truck”, but upon closer inspection, I’m not so sure. It isn’t sitting in waist-high weeds, has air in the tires, it’s not in pieces, and looks like it could be in running condition, or at least close. So those of us here at Barn Finds have to ask our readers: What’s it worth?
The seller’s eleven-word description doesn’t mention whether it runs or not, so that would probably be one of the first questions. Although for many buyers, it actually may not matter. Besides cutting the frame down and finding a car carrier and some ’56 Chevys to pull around, this truck has a number of other possibilities which will enable to continue earning its keep for the next sixty years.
With the addition of a late-model drivetrain, it would make an awesome single-car hauler, either in ‘ramp’ configuration, or with a regular hydraulically operated roll-back tilt bed installed. A race car or show car hauler. The door jambs appear to be black, or brown, which would be common for a heavy truck of this vintage, but someone long ago has painted it blue. There’s no nice way to say this, so I’m going to just come right out and say it: it has an attractive patina! Some buyers would consider updating the drive train and interior, and not doing too much to the outside.

Looking inside, I see an added-on turn signal lever, and even more interesting, what must be a factory-installed radio. How rare is that in a heavy truck of this vintage? The interior obviously needs some deep cleaning, for starters, and probably some seat cushion and cover work.

They’re only original once, as the saying goes, and it looks like this truck has probably never been apart. As the value on these COE trucks climb, the “correct”, frame-off restoration is not out of the question for it as one possible future. But again, what’s it worth, and what would you do with it?