COE is an acronym (use of letters instead of words) for “Cab over Engine” and has been applied to trucks for many decades.


Ford jumped into the COE game in a big way during the 1930s when the company began building the unique trucks in their own factories.




Ron McCracken is the proud owner of a 1939 Ford COE truck that has undergone a major change over the past 80 years. For example, the ’39 Ford truck now has a 350 small block Chevy engine that is not housed in the factory engine compartment under the cab.




The engine is now positioned behind the truck’s cab in the bed and provides plenty of punch for the vintage Ford truck. The massive number of bug splats on the truck’s flat front cowl and windshield suggested that Ron is not afraid to drive his Ford COE.




The vintage truck also sits on a 1971 GMC chassis that helped make a big change in the handling game on it. In fact Ron is very impressed with the truck and believes the relocation of the engine to a center position has given the former COE a well-balanced ride that “drives really nice down the highway”, according to Ron.




The generous supply of bug splats on the front of the flat-nosed truck suggested that Ron was very comfortable with how the truck drives on the road with the new chassis/power train setup.




Ron also mentioned the truck has a custom engine housing built into its rear box and the housing was designed to contain the remounted 350 Chevy engine. The large oval grille on the Ford’s front end now allows flow-through air for both the radiator and AC condenser in the truck.




Ron is happy with the amount of air provided to cool the two units and told MSCC that he has not experienced any overheating issues from the new rad/AC condensor setup.




The truck now has a front disc/rear drum brake system that can slow the big Ford truck down with little effort when necessary. It also has power steering and the aforementioned air conditioning retro-fitted into the truck for extra creature comforts.




Ron has two game plans for his revamped Ford COE: drive the truck during the summer show season and work on it during the long winter months.




He has already driven the truck to an annual car show in the Canadian province of British Columbia (twice) and intends to drive the custom truck to Minnesota during the summer months in 2019.




MyStar readers will notice the stylish interior in the Ford truck and Ron explained how he was able to fit well-aged barn wood into his cab interior game plan in the truck. The truck also has a custom console that contains the upgraded electrical system for the Ford.




The Ford COE also has a modern LED headlight system that even has daytime running lights to give the 80-year-old truck better visibility on the road.




Our best guess here at MyStarCollectorCar is Ron and his very cool 1939 Ford COE resto mod already attract plenty of attention from curious onlookers when they’re on the road. 


BY: Jim Sutherland


Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.