As America's vintage 1/2-ton pickup supply slowly dwindles (for a variety of reasons), creative builders have turned their attention to the larger-capacity trucks that have survived the elements, or crusher, over the past 50 to 60 years. Restored Ford and Chevy cab-over-engine (COE) trucks are regularly showing up at events in increasing numbers-with higher-quality builds. CCT is finding and featuring more award-worthy COEs attending Goodguys and NSRA hot rod events.
We recently met Alain Morec of Livermore, California, at the Goodguys West Coast Nationals 2005 in Pleasanton, and were taken with the photogenic '40 Chevy truck he drove to the event. Painted in an olive drab-green custom mix, the door panels were lettered in gold leaf by Moe. The custom interior, designed by Howdy in Fremont, California, of alligator and leather, was visually inviting. And the oversized and varnished bed floor was as immaculate as any 1/2-ton pickup we've seen.
"Originally a farm truck with a flatbed in the rear, it was used to haul orange crates from the citrus groves. It was pretty much junk, with wasp nests and dirt everywhere!" Alain states. Alain's friend Johnny took on the task of repairing the bodywork. Many painstaking hours were spent patching and straightening the XXL hauler.
The chassis was also modified (shortened) to accommodate a '78 Chevrolet 454ci big-block-and the front and rear suspension of the '78 were modified to accept Air Ride Technologies adjustable airbags. The ride is still rather truck-like, but much more road-worthy and dependable.
The days of hauling heavy loads are over for Alain's '40 Chevy. No longer will the bed be filled with dirt or cargos that will leave scars or chip the paint. Passengers will now be careful to step over the running boards and ease themselves into the cozy interior to ride above the crowd. The powerful big-block engine will make any trip a pleasure rather than an adventure. And that's a fitting reward for an old Chevy truck that has earned its retirement.