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Homepage. This page: A rare cab-over Chevy fire truck from LaGrange, New York, drives in a parade.

1941 - 1947 Chevrolet COE truck.

Ordinarily I wouldn't include a slightly fuzzy old photograph in this section of the site, but as this particular shot features a rare 1940s truck, I couldn't resist. The truck in question is a circa 1941 / 1946 Chevrolet COE truck (COE = cab over engine), taking part in a town's vehicle parade in the USA. Signwriting on the door confirms that it hails from LaGrange NY (New York).
Despite this being quite a small photo, there is enough detail to reveal fire-fighting equipment fitted above the front bumper, and five fire-fighters' helmets hanging from the side of the rear body. What do the initials L.V.F.C. stand for?
Various young ladies watch on, resplendent in their summer dresses, while just visible in the background behind the Chevy is a suitably period-looking Shell gas station.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Cab-over-engine (COE) Chevy truck

Art-deco series trucks.

This style of Chevrolet (and the similar GMC) truck was built from 1941 through to 1947, and is commonly referred to as the "art deco" series by truck enthusiasts. The basic cab design followed on from that seen in 1940, but up front things were very different. Gone was the traditional style of radiator grille, replaced with a striking chrome-plated "waterfall" design, with the front wings incorporating faired-in headlamps and sidelamps, echoing the streamlined look of many contemporary American cars.
The Second World War interrupted Chevrolet's marketing plans somewhat. At the end of 1941 production of trucks for civilian use came to an end, replaced by production for the war effort. This state of affairs continued until limited civilian production resumed in 1945, with things returning to normal in 1946, by which time there was only a short time to go before a new-for-1947 truck range was ready to hit the highways. The final "art deco" trucks were built in May 1947.
Many surviving trucks of this era are 1/2 ton pickup trucks or panel vans. For both ease of ownership and storage reasons, the smaller trucks tend to be the most popular today, with many of the larger 1.5 - 2.0 ton trucks left by the wayside, mouldering away. The model shown above though, the 2-ton COE, is still very sought-after, many of which are hot-rodded and/or converted into eye-catching (if sometimes OTT) car haulers, utilising modern running gear beneath a shiny, chrome-laden '40s bodyshell. I wonder what eventual fate befell this cracking old Chevy?
Depending on the version you bought, one of two engines could be found under your new Chevy's bonnet (or hood). Smaller models were fitted with the Thrift-master 216 cu in straight six OHV engine, while larger trucks were propelled by the 235 cu in Load-master version of the same basic unit.
The cab-over versions utilised the same main cab as found on "normal" trucks, albeit mounted high up, with unique front panels surrounding it. The engine could be accessed via a removable cover within the cab, rather than through a traditional bonnet.
Return to Page 14 in the classic & vintage vehicle photo gallery.

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