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Saturday, July 4, 2015

The other Cab-Over's from M2: '58 Chevy LCF, '56 Mercury M600, and '57 Dodge COE





M2 has been on a recent rampage of introducing a new line of Cab-Over-Engine trucks, known as COE, to fulfill the Haulers line with more variations.  The truth is the three shown here have done a good job of making the Auto-Haulers line work, but now it's time for them to step back and take in new blood for a short while.  Before the Haulers line was created, these three made their introduction in the Auto-Trucks line with only a hitch at the back ready to haul yet M2 didn't have any trailers ready at the moment back in 2011.  Even with trailers now offered to use the COE's to haul, M2 still found ways to carry-on the trucks in the Auto Trucks line by featuring new attachments that range from a large pickup bed to a wrecker body.





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One of my first buys from the M2 Auto Trucks line was these two 1958 Chevrolet LCF, or Low Cab Forward.  Each one is an unique trim:  The blue one is the medium-duty Viking trim with white bumper, grille, and headlight surround, while the orange one is the heavy-duty Spartan trim with chrome bumper, grille, and headlight surround.  Task Force was the name of all Chevrolet and GMC truck line between 1955-1959, and all of them shared the same styling and interior attributes.  The only difference was the weight of the truck identified by numbers representing in tons.  Cab-overs back in the 1950's were really cabs placed above and behind the engine unlike the future COE's that have the cab over the engine and ahead of the front wheels.  It's clear these Chevy COE's have the truck look sharing the headlights, grille, and hood of the light-duty trucks.  However, the COE adds a taller cab with front fenders that dip down to create an access step, handles on the B-pillar to aid in accessing the cab, and a stronger frame with dual fuel tanks, dual rear wheels on the beefy rear axle, and sturdy 5-spoke steel wheels to give it the macho stance.




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The fenders have signal lights, while the rear has a fifth-wheel hitch ready to haul a trailer.  The interior is similar to the Chevy trucks with the 3-spoke steering wheel, comprehensive gauges, and a three-person bench.  The only difference is additional switches for truck duty that include air brakes and a shift lever on the floor.  For powertrains no diesel's were offered back then, instead they use the largest gas V8's offered, including the 283 CID V8 and is mated to a four-speed manual but I believe there are a few more gears to handle the extra weight of the trailer.  Contrary to a typical M2 vehicle these COE do not have opening doors or hood as their designation 80% of the time is to haul trailers in the Auto-Haulers line.  So despite the simple details and lack of opening parts, these two Chevy LCF's look great together in blue and orange.







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On the Ford side is the 1956 600 COE that, like the GM trucks, are based on the light-duty F-series line with the similar lower inner-grille with integrated headlights, signal lights, and V-symbol to note the V8 motor.  However, unlike the GM trucks the hood is a taller dome look carried-over from the previous COE models with a central vent, taller cab that is wider than the Chevy's and also features steps at the base of the front fenders.  The frame is beefier with dual fuel tanks and duallie rear axle on the same 5-spoke wheels as the Chevy, and the motor is the same gas engines featured in the trucks, likely the 272 CID Y-block V8 and four-speed manual that may have additional gears for the extra towing weight.  The interior features the same dash layout of the F100's with the central radio speaker part of the trim piece and a three-person bench.  The Mercury you see here was a special line of trucks based on the Ford F-series sold only in Canada with the Mercury name.  M2 has done this 56 COE as well as a 56 M-100 and later this year a '69 M-100.  Aside from the badges you wouldn't distinguish the Mercury from the Ford.  One of the new attachments to give the COE's functionality is the tow truck body that features tall bed walls with fenders that cover the dually rear tires nicely, switch levers for the towing mechanism at the end of the fenders, dual taillights with a Y-shaped towing attachment, the wrecker arms that are loaded with fine details including the string that holds the wider towing hook, rotating light, and dual exhausts that fill the gap between the bed and cab.  Combined with  the black and chrome wheels it looks sleek, and while the light-duty tow truck body does not carry any vehicles this body does thanks to the upright Y-shaped fork; the towing hook just twirls around on the string.

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Finally, the 1957 Dodge 700 COE shares the same basic profile as the Chevy and Ford: basing its design on the light-duty truck line.  The Dodge has the same cove headlights, chrome lower grille as the light-duty Dodge trucks, but adds the domed hood, larger cab, and lower fender steps, and fender-mounted signal lights unique to the COE.  The Dodge has a few unique features: the hood opens in two separate panels and the gas cap sits lower in the cab compared to the higher locations in the Ford and Chevy.  The interior also shares the light-duty truck look with twin pod design, the left with gauges and the right for the glove box, with the usual heavy-duty truck requirements.  The sturdier chassis also carries the 331 CID 5.4L V8 and even though the light-duty trucks only offered automatics the COE's would also have a 4 or higher-speed manual transmission.  The Dodge COE has always been around with this large pickup bed attachment that features tall bed walls for a deep cargo area, stepside-like rear fenders, and a large tailgate with slotted taillights and room for the company logo (in this case Dodge).  What makes this version I got so special is the green paint pared with the chrome dual exhaust and chrome wheels with redline tires that makes this truck look right at home with the 1960's Mopar muscle cars!

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These COE's are unique and fantastic and I hope M2 gets to make more of them in the future.

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