Joe Chandlee of Torrance, California, has always been a '56 Ford F-100 kind of guy. In 1967 he bought his second '56 F-100 with a camper shell. It was painted Meadow Green with a 272ci engine and a three-speed tranny, which he changed to a 389ci Pontiac backed by a Hydro tranny and painted it Rally Green. Fourteen years passed and another transformation took place to a 455 Olds, 400 tranny with a 9-inch rearend, dropped front axle, front mono leaf springs, de-arched rear springs, and a Toyota steering box, and finished in Jewel Green metallic paint by Paul Craig. In September 2003, she ran the California Speedway at Fontana for the California AutoFest. Altogether, Joe had eight '56 Ford F-100s at one time: two stake beds, a panel, utility truck, tow truck, four wheeler, and two additional F-100s! At the current time he has two '56 panel trucks, one of these being done by Steele Smith of Lake Elsinore in Gilmore Red and Creme colors and the Roar With Gilmore logo to ride on his '53 Ford COE.
In December 2008 Joe saw an ad for a '55 Ford COE extended cab hauler. He contacted the builders, Lowell & Justin Wilburn, father and son of Wilburn's Custom Haulers from Jamestown, Indiana. The COE had been sold, however they were getting ready to build their "crown jewel," a '53 Ford COE Crew Cab Hauler. So in January 2009, Joe and his friend Paul took a trip to Indiana and were very impressed with what they were building. Joe was sold on the COE even though it was not a '56!
The truck started out as a '53 Ford COE C-600 grain truck from Kansas. The cab was removed from the frame then married to a '56 Ford F-100 cab stretched to sit low on an '02 E-350 Super Duty frame with front and rear airbags controlled in the dash. The body also features custom side faring steps and modified front fender openings. The bulkhead has a winch and the spare tire is mounted behind the cab. Joe's father owned a Gilmore gas station in Redondo Beach, California, in the late '30s, so his friend Jimmy suggested painting the hauler in the classic Gilmore theme. Painted Gilmore Red and Creme with creme pinstriping by Lowell Wilburn and Joey Constant of Jamestown, Indiana, the "Roar with Gilmore" logo was air painted along with creme pinstriping by Jerry Carr of Jamestown, Indiana. The metalwork on the all-steel truck was massaged by Lowell Wilburn while Justin Wilburn handled the mechanical aspect of the build.
Under the hood, the COE features a 7.3L Powerstroke Turbo Diesel with a 4R100 auto. The chassis features a rearend with 3.73 gears, hydro boost disc brakes on all four wheels, 225/16 Load Range D tires, painted rims with creme pinstriping and Ford logo centers.
The custom interior was built around Harley Davidson captain's chairs with the side door panels and headliner designed to complement the seats with black carpet by Lee's Custom Covers of New Ross, Indiana. The custom console retained the original metal shaped dash and glovebox using the Econoline instrument cluster, built-in GPS, AM/FM/CD/iPod radio, custom air, rear and side cameras, power windows, LED running and brake lights, and a receiver for towing a 1966 Airstream Caravel trailer. The hauler is just under 30 feet long and with the Airstream behind it, just under 50.
The COE was finished in June 2009, just in time to go to the Goodguys 21st Annual Hot Rod Nationals in Indianapolis that month, where it received the Napa Trick Truck award.
Editor's Note: Getting your truck into Readers' Trucks is a snap, of the camera, that is. All it takes are a few good-quality photos of your ride that are in focus and well lit. High-resolution digital photos can be sent in via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Traditional prints are also acceptable and should be sent to: CCT, c/o Readers' Trucks, 1733 Alton Parkway #100, Irvine, CA 92606. It is important that you include a detailed description of the modifications you have made to your truck, including any interesting stories behind it. Due to the volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot return photographs.