Since GMC never offered a crew cab COE, creating one required an enormous amount of manhours. Wes sacrificed three cabs and six doors to end up with a four-door COE body that looked like it might have rolled off General Motors' assembly line. He began the tedious job by fabricating a subframe to support the four-door body independent from the '42's chassis. It's interesting to note that instead of moving the firewall back, Wes positioned his firewall forward. This allowed him to relocate the engine aft to a midship arrangement and cleared the way for a conventional steering column. By conventional, he didn't have to drop the column straight down into the floor like stock.
With the floor cleared of the column, Wes continued the cleanup process with a dash-mounted shifter. A gray leather-wrapped steering wheel from Billet Specialties fronts a dash cluster packed full of white-faced gauges from Classic Instruments. Air-conditioning vents mounted into the dashboard and the rear seating area keep ice-cold air circulating throughout the crew cab's interior. Speaking of the interior, it was upholstered in gray ultraleather by King's Auto Upholstery in Roanoke, Virginia. Freddie King saw to it his crew did a kickass job on every area, from its plush carpeting to the custom headliner.
With the exception of the truck's interior, everything else was done within Covington's city limits. Wes hauled a stack of 5x10-foot sheetmetal over to Phillip Bowen and Chris Persinger at JenFab in Covington to form the '42's one-off custom bed and running boards.
Not since the 1700s, when the British pranced around in bright red coats, has such a brilliant hue been utilized in a military application. The GMC's custom-blended DuPont red paint was mixed in-house on Wolfe's Auto Body's DuPont mixing bench. The ultra-glossy urethane finish is a two-stage system that consumed three gallons of PPG 2021 clear as the topcoat. Wes told us he spent nearly seven months on labor and over $3,500 in materials to paint the '42. To ease painting the inside of the bed and doorjambs, Wes used DuPont's single-stage paint.
With the COE crew cab complete, Wes and Larry used the shop's two-post lift to drop the four-door cab onto an updated frame-an '86 Chevy C30 chassis powered by a '70 454-inch big-block, to be exact. The frontend was lowered using Belltech spindles and coils, while the 4.10:1-geared 1-ton rearend is attached to leaf springs assisted by Firestone airbags.
Cab Over Engine custom classic trucks are a breed apart from other vintage haulers. They are expensive and time-consuming to build. There're no two ways about it, a person either has to be relatively wealthy or very gifted to complete a COE.
For the Wolfe family, their '42 GMC was a father and son team effort that consumed five years of hard work and inspiration. Wes said he and his dad would have never been able to complete the truck without the support of his mother Sandra, wife Melinda and daughter Hanna.
The Wolfes sourced a Buick...
The Wolfes sourced a Buick Century rear seat. King's Auto Upholstery performed the perfect trim work.
Wes installed roller-bearing...
Wes installed roller-bearing hinges from Weber Studios to help the doors with their heavy load. Custom-cut one-piece window glass replaces the stock door and vent windows.
Wes and Larry Wolfe caught...
Wes and Larry Wolfe caught discussing fuel mileage. "This thing has never broke out of the 10-mpg range. It's a good thing we built that stainless steel 42-gallon gas tank."
The front and rear bumpers...
The front and rear bumpers are from a '48 Chevy school bus. Guess that will teach them to park in front of the body shop. Just kidding, the Wolfes bought the bumpers from the same guy who sold them the '37 Dodge taillights.
Belltech dropped coils and...
Belltech dropped coils and springs set the stance. Eagle alloy wheels and Dunlop Frontrunner tires point it, and Kelly Springfield rear tires push it.