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See more 1947-1955 Trucks

The Advance Design Trucks


21 September 2013
# 3028

  Owned by
Greg Kiser
Bolter # 35685
Greer, Arizona


1949 Chevy COE 5400 Wrecker


Lots more pictures of my old truck

Join the discussion about this truck


From Greg :

Hello fellow gear heads! I recently purchased this well-used 1949 Chevrolet COE 5400 5-window with a Holmes 515E Wrecker.

This truck first lived in Ysleta, Texas. The people I got it from bought it in 1956! The owner had passed away, so I had been dealing with his wife and Son for the past five years trying to buy this truck.

The old wrecker worked every road between Silver City and Quemado, New Mexico until the the mid-90's. Then it sat beside a garage until I purchased it a few weeks ago. The wife promised me they would find pictures of it working back in the day.

I had been looking for a COE and the "Holmes Wrecker" part was a bonus! I didn't think I would ever have a chance to OWN one! Like Spanky Hardy says, this truck "Really turns my crank." I think I ended up paying about 60 cents a pound for it.

The old truck is a bone stock. I didn't get a towing cradle or any goodies with the deal.

I'm now in the process of tearing it down. The cab mounts are shot, of course, and the cab corners will need to be replaced. Fortunately, I also found a 1947 (2-ton conventional cab) fire truck that had been stored indoors its whole life (only 17,00 miles on it). Unfortunately, somebody rolled it years ago and most of it was striped before I got it. Not much left of it, but the cab corners are solid!

Like all projects, the more I get into it, the more problems I find. The cab will probably be removed to get it all done right.

The Son told me his Dad put the front bumpers (full of concrete) on for ballast. When pulling cars out of the canyon, he couldn't keep the front end on the ground. I've got the correct front bumper and I'm not sure what I'll do with the rear.

The wrecker is going to need a gear or two (teeth missing). I have a poor spoke to repair. The rear bed rails are both torn up at that back. Both rear fenders are real beat up but it's such good steel, I think I can repair them.

I really want to try to keep as original as I can BUT I suspect, after less than 100 miles of getting it on the road, I'm going to be frustrated with how little power it has. Were I live, the roads are very steep in every direction. I may not have a lot of options. I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Not going to get carried away with making it "purdy" -- form follows function for this one.

For 20 years I've owned and operated Greg's Garage in what may be the highest town in Arizona. My log cabin, built in 1949, sits at 8650 feet elevation.

My daily driver, which I bought in 1991 for $900 is a 1961 Chevy K10 short bed. It is a retired Forest Service truck from Prescott, Az. They had put a 292 in it which I rebuilt. I added 4.10 gears with posi front and rear. 35 inch Cooper's, electric winch up front and a 20k PTO winch out back. I've been beating the crap out of it for 22 years ... it owes me nothing.

About four years ago, I retired from public service / repair and started piddling around with my own projects. I built a 1965 M35 Bobber. It has 53 inch Michelins, turbo diesel, posi, air seats and winches on both ends. It gets a lot of attention. It is turning into my new daily driver.

Other than my most recent purchase, which is why I'm here at Stovebolt, my passion is old Harley's. I have built two Panhead choppers and two Panhead Bobbers from scratch (eBay) which I still have and ride in the summer months.

I've been looking around the Stovebolt site and hope to gather information for my COE Wrecker project. Hope I can contribute some information on your projects as well.

Best regards,



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