When asked about his peculiar pickup's true origin, Charlie Kocher simply replies, "They made three Oldsmobile trucks-experimental. They were ordered destroyed, but Harley Earl took this one apart and smuggled it out to give to E.L. Cord. It's been hidden for all these years."
Even recent victims of turnip truck incidents ought to know that Oldsmobile never produced a pickup in 1950, let alone one as cool as this, so there's no use trying to pull a hoax. And that was never really the main intent of owner/builder Charlie Kocher, either-he simply had a collection of Olds parts and a '49 Ford F-1-but he'll be the first to admit it's definitely a lot more fun telling stories than the truth!
One day, he figured why not combine everything and create a truck that, had Oldsmobile actually produced such a thing, would pass for such an effort. And by the response he got from the truck's debut at the recent Goodguys Hershey, it's clear he done good. While the F-1 trade "marks" like the rear fender and cab lines are still intact, that front end treatment is pure rocket science, if you know what we're talking about, and it's what most likely lures the unsure in for more. A friend had a '50 Olds that, coincidentally, had enough spare parts for Charlie to morph the front sheetmetal on his F-1, which also included '47 Ford passenger car fenders and a '51 Chevy bumper. He studied the actual car for reference, but it was all the metal handiwork of him and Dan Meyers that made the surgery a success. The bedbox, which you may have been wondering about, was scratchbuilt from steel, with the Ford fenders narrowed 2 inches to better flow width-wise. And the top, which took as much, if not more, labor-intensive work as the front end, came down 4 inches, with 2 1/2 coming out of the crown (he added the same amount to stretch the cab). Charlie says it took three cabs just to make the one. The floor would ultimately be raised 4 inches in order to channel the cab over the chassis, a mid-'80s Chevy donor.
After Charlie and Meyers finished all the hard metalwork, Jimmy "Putty Buddy" Hines handled the bodywork, followed by Chris Judeikis (both from Paoli Auto Body) laying down the PPG Torch Red. To give the truck a proper mild custom touch, Charlie contacted Kelsey Tire for a set of Goodyear radial wide whites, which with their unique construction and detailed sidewalls seem like old bias-ply. Good old Fiesta stainless three-bar hubcaps were included for obvious reasons.
On the inside, things stay true to tradition with a red and beige tuck 'n' roll job by Roger Hoover, but there are a few modern amenities such as Southern Air A/C, a JVC sound system, Classic Instruments gauges, and a Gennie shifter controlling the 700-R4 tranny. Charlie went so far as to paint the Chevy 350 in a traditional Olds color, and even doctored up a set of no-name valve covers for visual effect.
Using some clever tricks, parts that had been lying around forever, and choosing the right players to help reach his goal, Charlie Kocher came up with much more than a center of attention, he simply created one cool truck no matter how you look at it. If Olds had made a truck, there's no reason why it wouldn't have had many similar traits. Can't you just picture an "O-1" now?
|1950 Oldsmobile O-1
|FRAME:|| ’87 Chevy midsize chassis|
|REAREND / RATIO:|| Chevy 10-bolt / 3.08:1|
|REAR SUSPENSION:|| lowered springs, Monroe shocks|
|REAR BRAKES:|| Chevy drum|
|FRONT SUSPENSION:|| lowered springs, Monroe shocks|
|FRONT BRAKES:|| Chevy disc|
|STEERING BOX:|| Saginaw power|
|WHEELS:|| steel, 15x6 |
|FRONT TIRES:|| Goodyear radial WW, 205/75R15|
|REAR TIRES:|| Goodyear radial WW, 225/75R15|
|GAS TANK:|| ’69 Mustang, under bed
|ENGINE:|| Chevy 350 V-8|
|HEADS:|| ’69 Z-28|
|VALVE COVERS:|| Chevy, aluminum|
|MANIFOLD / INDUCTION:|| Edelbrock Performer package|
|EXHAUST / MUFFLERS:|| cast-iron manifolds / Flowmaster Hushpower IIs|
|MODIFICATIONS:|| shift-improver kit by Dave Butakis
|STYLE:|| Experimental O-1 1/2-ton|
|MODIFICATIONS:|| chopped, channeled, stretched|
|FENDERS FRONT / REAR:|| ’47 Ford car / ’51 F-1, narrowed|
|HOOD:|| ’49 F-1 w/’50 Olds treatment|
|GRILLE:|| integrated ’50 Olds|
|BODYWORK BY:|| owner, Dan Meyers, Jimmy Hines|
|PAINT BY:|| Chris Judeikis, Paoli Auto Body|
|PAINT TYPE / COLOR:|| PPG / Torch Red|
|HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS:|| ’50 Olds / custom made|
|BUMPERS:|| ’51 Chevy front, no rear
|DASHBOARD:|| modified ’49 F-1|
|GAUGES:|| Classic Instruments|
|AIR CONDITIONING:|| Southern Air|
|STEERING WHEEL:|| repro ’40 Ford|
|STEERING COLUMN:|| Camaro tilt|
|SEAT:|| Ford Ranger bench|
|UPHOLSTERY:|| Roger Hoover|
|MATERIAL / COLOR:|| leatherette / red and beige|
|CARPET:|| red wool