What looks like a pug-nosed F-100, seats five and can haul a half ton of cargo or pull a fifth-wheel trailer? It's Dave Dolman's '56 C-750 Ford COE!

Having built four F-1 pickups in the past, along with several street rods and customs, Dave wanted to build a big truck and something no one else had. After clearing the latest custom project out of his small Verdon, Nebraska, shop, he went after the '56 COE cab a friend had told him about five years earlier. It was still sitting in a Kansas salvage yard, waiting to be rescued, which Dave did for a hundred-dollar bill.

An '86 Ford 1-ton chassis with twin I-beam front and leaf spring rear suspension provided a platform for the new project. Using AIM components, Dave built an air bag suspension, which incorporates two compressors and air tanks and a 2,800-pound air bag on each corner. Disc front and drum rear brakes came with the chassis, and Dave adapted Explorer rack-and-pinion steering.

After trimming 9 inches off the rear frame rails and fabricating new front frame horns to attach the front sheetmetal and radiator support, Dave dropped the body onto the frame and went to work on his specialty: bodywork! He cut off the back of the COE cab and added a '56 F-100 cab to make the truck a five-passenger. It took three doors to make the third door on the right side, which uses '99 Ford truck latches and locks. The rear window was enlarged 4 inches to match the height of the side windows. The long roof was sliced off of a '59 Ford station wagon, de-arched 3 inches, and trimmed to fit.

Dave built the pickup bed from scratch, making it 8-feet long and 4-inches wider than stock, with 6-inch taller sides. The raised oak bed floor hides all the mechanical components underneath. With a flip-up fifth-wheel ball installed in the bed and a bumper hitch receiver hidden behind the license plate, Dave can use the truck as a tow vehicle whenever the need arises. He also built the tailgate, rolled rear pan (into which he set '55 Pontiac taillights), the running boards, and aprons below the body and bed. Since the COE had wide front wheel openings for 22-inch wheels, Dave shrunk them down to better match the 16-inch Weld Outback wheels and BFG rubber. F-100 rear fenders were widened to shield the 12x16 rear wheel/tire combo, shortened in the rear, and lengthened in front.

Dave shot the finished Big Job with PPG Deltron base coat/clear coat in a Persimmon and silver combo. All visible bolts are polished stainless button heads. Help with the project also came from Greg Davis, Dennis White, and Auto Tool and Paint in St. Joe, Missouri.

To power the beast, Dave turned the 460 truck engine over to John Larson, who gave it a .060-inch overbore and fitted Speed Pro forged 9.8:1 pistons, a Crane roller cam kit, and ported and polished heads. It was topped off with a 780 Holley on a Weiand manifold, Mallory Unilite ignition, Hedman Hedders, and 3-inch exhaust with Dynomax mufflers. A four-core Ford radiator provides cooling. Art Wenger reworked a C-6 Ford automatic with a 2,100 stall converter, three additional clutch plates, and overdrive low and second gears. The rearend is a Dana 70 with 3.55:1 gears.

Dave and his supportive wife can take three friends along in the spacious cab, furnished with taupe leather and vinyl-covered late Chevy front seat and Ford van rear. Dave built the engine cover and aluminum dashboard extension and kick panels before turning the truck over to Larry Cummings for upholstery. A full complement of VDO gauges fill the original instrument panel, and a high-powered Jensen stereo system with CD changer provides entertainment. A LeCarra wheel mounts to the GM tilt column.

Dave accomplished his "big job" in just 18 months, and so far he hasn't seen another truck like it. Fat chance he ever will!

Facts & FiguresDave DolmanVerdon, Nebraska1956 Ford C-750 COE

CHASSIS
Frame / manufacturer '86 Ford 1-ton truck
Modifications trimmed 9 inches in rear, new front frame horns
Rear end / Ratio Dana 70/3.55:1
Rear suspension 4-inches lowered leaf springs, owner-built
air suspension with AIM compo-nents, Monroe shocks
Rear brakes '86 Ford 1-ton truck
Front suspension dropped Ford twin I-beam axles,
owner-built air suspension with
AIM components, Monroe shocks
Front brakes '86 Ford 1-ton truck disc
Steering Ford Explorer rack and pinion
Steering column GM tilt
Front wheel make, size Weld Outback 16x8.5
Rear wheel make, size Weld Outback 16x12
Front tire make, size BFG 275/55R16
Rear tire make, size BFG 345/55R16
ENGINE
Year and make '86 Ford truck
Displacement 460 cid plus .060-inch overbore
Crankshaft Ford, balanced
Rods Ford, balanced
Pistons Speed Pro forged, 9.8:1
Camshaft Crane
Valves Manley
Valve train Crane roller rockers, lifters, springs
Heads Cc'd, ported, polished
Manifold/Induction Weiand / Holley 780 four-barrel
Ignition Mallory Unilite
Headers Hedman
Exhaust/Mufflers custom 3 inch/Dynomax by Tracy's
Muffler, Falls City, NE
Radiator Ford four-core
Other engine facts ram air air cleaner with fresh air ducts
Engine builder John Larson, Lincoln, NE
TRANSMISSION
Make and type Ford C6 automatic
Converter 2,100-rpm stall
Modifications Three additiional clutches, rear servo
pump, overdrive low & second gears
Trans builder Art Wenger, Hiawatha, KS
Shifter GM column
BODY
Body style/Material COE crew cab / steel
Body Manufacturer Ford
Major modificatiions '56 Ford pickup cab grafted to '56 COE
cab, third door, '59 Ford station wagon roof panel
Hood stock with latches removed
Grille chrome '56 Ford truck w/emblem removed
Bed owner-built 8-foot bed & tailgate,
raised oak floor, custom inside finish
panels & hinges
Headlights Three-bar halogen
Taillights '55 Pontiac
Other body items owner-built rolled rear pan, running
boards, aprons; rear fenders lengthened
front, shortened rear; smaller front wheel openings
Paint type/color PPG Deltron / Persimmon and silver
Body/paint owner Dave Dolman
Pinstriping/Graphics Roger Nunn, Lincoln, NE
INTERIOR
Dashboard original with lower panel added
Gauges VDO
Stereo/Speakers Jensen 165-W with 80-W and 300-W amps
Air conditioning Vintage Air
Wiring Haywire kit
Steering wheel Lecarra
Seats front: Chevy truck 60/40; rear: Ford van
Upholsterer Larry Cummings, Humboldt, NE
Material/color leather and vinyl/taupe
Carpet/color wool/gray
Pedals Ford truck
Other interior owner-built engine cover
Accessories power antenna, windows
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