Although the roots of GMC trucks can be traced back to 1902, it wasn't until January 1912 that the first GMC emblem appeared on a General Motors truck. By '42, the model year of Larry and Wes Wolfe's GMC COE gracing our pages, GMC was destined to become the nation's largest producer of vehicles for the war effort.
With hundreds of thousands of GMC trucks sent overseas never to be seen again, the Wolfe's GMC was one of the lucky ones.
The truck spent the duration of World War II stationed in Kansas acquiring few miles. By the time Wes bought the GMC in Virginia for $400, there were only 20,000 miles on the odometer. These weren't easy miles, though, because of its second career as a farm truck short-hauling grain with a homemade dump box on its back. The body on a big truck ordinarily stays pretty cherry because it's out of the reach of low-flying idiots in smaller vehicles.
Unfortunately for the Wolfe's COE, its roof was used as a platform for farmhands to stand on while shoveling grain. Needless to say, the entire roof looked like Dumbo's trampoline.
The fellow Wes bought the GMC from wanted to whack the cab from the doors back and build a retro motorhome of sorts. But once he faced the reality of how much work he'd have to do to convert the GMC, he put it up for sale.
A question on Custom Classic Trucks' tech sheet asks truck owners if they built their truck in stages. Since they almost always list the frame as the first stage, we were surprised to discover Wes listed the GMC's cab as their first stage. Wes said they built the '42's cab first and then the chassis. If you're starting to think Wes and his dad might have an unfair advantage over most custom truck builders, you'd be right.
Over 35 years ago in their hometown of Covington, Virginia, Larry Wolfe opened the doors to Wolfe's Body Shop. These days, Larry and Wes make their bread and butter doing collision work.
For enjoyment, they like to build hot rods and customs to drive cross-country to rod runs and car shows. Currently the pair own a genuine '32 Ford each, as well as other desirable vehicles, including Wes' '68 Olds 442 coupe.
Looking at the rear wheels,...
Looking at the rear wheels, notice how nice the '37-38 GMC NOS 1-ton panel truck fenders adapt to the custom bed and running boards.
The '70 454-inch big-block...
The '70 454-inch big-block GMC engine was built by another father and son business located in Covington, Virginia. Heath Pence at Denny's Automotive & Machine Shop prepped and machined the 454 before installing a Crane roller cam, 0.30-over pistons and a 750-cfm Edelbrock carb.
Wolfe's Auto Body used three...
Wolfe's Auto Body used three complete GMC COE cabs to construct their one-off crew cab. This center post/doorjamb represents the remains of one cab.
Somewhere a Coke memorabilia...
Somewhere a Coke memorabilia collector is crying. Wes chopped and shortened a mint '50-model Coke machine to fit as a tool chest. He used gray Trek's decking to make his bed floor and Pro-Choice stainless steel hidden T-bolt strips for floor strips.
The cockpit sports a flat...
The cockpit sports a flat floor thanks to a conventional tilt steering column holding a Billet Specialties steering wheel with a dash-mounted shifter adapted from a C-series A100 Dodge van. The former Torqueflite shifter now controls a GM Turbo 400, precision-rebuilt by Todd Fixx and multiplied with a U.S. Gear overdrive.