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1948 Loadmaster COE Truck - Heavy Duty

January, 2010
By Jim Rizzo
Photography by Grant Peterson
Select to EnlargeOne of the coolest things about us hot rodders (be we classic truck or car guys) is our willingness to try just about anything. Sure both ends of the hobby have their favorites like F-100s and '47 to '54 Chevy pickups or the perennial red Deuce roadster for the car folks-but, there are those with a bit more in the way of vision or, might we say, whimsy. As you can see here, Bob Greening is one who falls in the latter category. He sure as heck wasn't afraid to tackle a project that was, some may consider, a bit outside the box.

It all began when a friend of his gave him a call to let him know he was doing a bit of cleanup and had an old '48 Chevy Loadmaster he was ready to haul off to the boneyard. When Bob went by to take a look he immediately realized two things: First, the truck as a whole was pretty much wasted, and two, it was so homely that it was cool. Bob also had the foresight to realize the '48's potential so he forked out a whopping $200 and grabbed the cab and sheetmetal-leaving the balance of the rust-covered steel for recycling at the aforementioned boneyard.

Select to EnlargeAfter dragging home the cab, fenders, and hood Bob sat back and began developing a plan for his newly acquired tin. Since the cab over engine was rather large to begin with (relative to a standard pickup), why not play on that factor and make this baby even bigger by converting it into a quad-cab? What the heck, if it didn't work out he could just return it to its original configuration-or pass on the whole deal. What did he have to lose but a bit of time and labor? That decided, Bob worked out that in order to complete the cab's conversion he'd have to stretch it at least 24 inches and add another pair of doors. And since he'd passed on the truck's aging and poorly preserved chassis he'd just go ahead and fabricate a new one of the appropriate length and configuration from scratch.
Select to EnlargeSo without hesitation Bob gathered up a pile of fresh new steel, including a couple of lengths of 2x6 rectangular tubing to be used as the main framerails. Many an evening from that point on was spent fabricating the fresh foundation and before long the frame was ready for suspension and driveline components. Bob chose to incorporate the IFS/disc brake components from a donor Chevy van, and designed and fabricated a rear triangulated four-bar setup to locate a 9-inch Ford rearend as well. To both setups he added a quartet of Firestone airbags and the appropriate lines, air tank, and pump so he could set the truck in the weeds while parked and raise it just a hair from there for fairgrounds cruising. After adding a quartet of Billet Specialties wheels and low-profile tires to complete the new rolling chassis it was time to choose a powerplant. Since the truck was destined to be rather big, it was only logical it should be powered by a big motor as well. To this end, Bob chose a 454-cube BBS backed by a muscular TH400 auto (and a tiny 13-inch-long driveshaft), which were nestled between the framerails nearly amidships as had the COE's original engine.
Select to EnlargeWith the chassis, driveline, and suspension under control, the next step was to rehab and modify the truck cab. Bob started out by lowering the split cab onto the chassis separating the front and rear halves until it approximated the length needed to add the two extra doors he'd envisioned in his original quad-cab design. After many slight modifications, the correct length and positioning was found and he proceeded to fit the cab to the chassis in its final configuration and began to add those extra doors. With that completed he the chopped the top 21/2 inches (leaving the rear window stock height) and began fashioning the dog house in the center of the cab floor to house the engine. The next chore was to get the front sheetmetal to fit properly. To that end, Bob ended up having to section both the firewall and the hood a full 6 inches to allow the front fenders to sit correctly and modified a stock '48 Chevy pickup grille (by removing its bottom grille bar) so that it'd fit the COE's grille opening. He also frenched the truck's headlights into the front fenders and completely fabricated an oversized pickup bed and custom tailgate to which he bolted a pair of pickup truck fenders.

With the fabrication chores behind him Bob finished prepping the sheetmetal for paint and his pal Greg Austin covered it in multiple coats of PPG Sonic Blue urethane enamel. As the finishing touch, Jay's Hot Rod Upholstery was enlisted to cover four Tea's Design bucket seats, as well as trimming the COE's cavernous cockpit.

As you can plainly see, Bob's efforts were extremely successful. He's managed to construct a massive classic pickup that not only turns heads wherever it goes, but provides its builder/owner with a huge amount of satisfaction, as well. Kudos to Bob for one cool cabover!

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Bob & Mary Greening
Kasson, Minnesota
1948 Chevrolet Loadmaster
Frame: custom by owner, 2x6 rectangular tubing
MODIFICATIONS: hand-fabricated crossmembers, brackets, and mounting flanges
REAREND / RATIO: Ford 9-inch / 3.50:1
REAR SUSPENSION: owner-fabricated triangulated four-bar, air bags
REAR BRAKES: disc, 11¾ inches
FRONT SUSPENSION: Chevrolet Astro Van, airbags
STEERING BOX: Chevrolet Astro Van
FRONT WHEELS: Billet Specialties, 16x7
REAR WHEELS: Billet Specialties, 18x9
FRONT TIRES: Bridgestone, 205/55R16
REAR TIRES: Bridgestone, 245/50R18
GAS TANK: owner-fabricated
ENGINE: Chevrolet, 454 ci
HEADERS: Hedman Hedders
EXHAUST / MUFFLERS: 2½-inch stainless / Edelbrock, stainless
MODIFICATIONS: Rebuilt by owner
SHIFTER: Owner fabricated
STYLE: Loadmaster COE (cab over engine)
MODIFICATIONS: sliced, diced, chopped, and stretched
FENDERS FRONT / REAR: modified stock COE, by owner / modified stock Chevy pickup, by owner
HOOD: modified stock COE, sectioned 6 inches by owner
GRILLE: modified Chevy pickup, by owner
BED: Custom, owner-fabricated
PAINT BY: Greg Austin
HEADLIGHTS / TAILLIGHTS: frenched / owner-fabricated
BUMPERS: front Chevy pickup widened 8 inches, rear pan owner-fabricated
DASHBOARD: modified stock by owner
STEREO: Sony / Pioneer
SEATS: Tea's Design
UPHOLSTERY BY: Jay's Hot Rod Upholstery


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