When your love for custom cars and hot rods has continued to grow over the years there comes a time when you really want a “one of a kind” vehicle. It must relate to your personality and have that certain flair that will never be seen anywhere else.
This creation came after years in the imagination of Cholly Nachman in his small mountain town of Lancaster, New Hampshire.
In his younger years, Cholly had limited disposable income so he personally did minor repairing and rebuilding of his and others special interest basic cars and trucks, attended local vintage vehicle shows, plus was just wishing for something to come into his life that would be more than “everyday”.
Then about 3 years ago when he reached his mid-40’s he said to himself “It’s time to stop wishing. Let’s just do it!” Cholly had mechanical talented friends as a backup, he had some extra money and he sure wasn’t getting any younger.
The decision was made to find a Chevy pickup or panel truck from the 1950’s and fulfill his dreams. In his search for ideas, he suddenly saw a COE (cab-over engine) truck of that vintage. Wow! Not only was it an eye catcher from the factory 60 years ago but he thought what an owner could do to make it different! Cholly was sold. He would find one, try to stretch it into a crew cab and add a pickup box. This combination would be his goal and he began with only some auto magazine photos.
He searched the country for the right cab for a longtime to start the project. The choice would be a deluxe 5 window COE cab. He found his choice in Florida, almost 1,800 miles away. It was shipped to John’s Welding and Repair Shop in Vermont (Now the money flow began) and soon after the rear of the cab was cut and pulled in two pieces. This totaled deluxe cab with all the floor rusted away was just candidate for this project.
The finished product had to be totally ready for highway speeds and have most all modern extras. Therefore, the “drive train” came from a 1985 Chevy Suburban with a 454 cubic inch V-8 two wheel drive. The body was removed and all the mechanicals and frame were rebuilt to be like new. Cholly wanted no repairs, once all was complete.
The long Suburban wheel base allowed for an 8 foot bed from a 1950’s ¾ ton pickup even with adding the longer crew cab. It all fit together so well including the 60 year old pickup rear fenders. All the details of this total project could fill a small book!
GIVING CREDIT TO THE EXPERTS
One of the best ways to be successful in creating a quality custom truck is to be able to call upon experts that know your rebuilding needs and are willing to lend a hand when the need occurs. Cholly knew he could be successful in most any basic vehicle update but much of creating an extended cab would be in new territory for him. Mistakes can be very expensive to correct!
The person doing the metal panel addition on the cab sectioning had been a good friend for many years and metal work was his specialty. His name is John Lovell and he operates John’s Welding and Fabrication Shop about 10 miles distance in Maidstone, Vermont. To Cholly – John is a legend! He can build / fabricate anything he puts his mind to and he’s learned a ton of skills in his 30 year career building and maintaining Ships in Alaska. He was the shop foreman for a large shipping / fuel company in Nenana Alaska – Working there from spring till fall every year and would come back to northern Vermont for the winter months while the shipyards were closed in their coldest weather. “This project would not have been started without John’s ability!” (This claim to fame is very unusual). He is retired after spending the warmer months in Alaska building and the maintaining of ships but works full time doing sheet metal repair on antique and special interest vehicles. He specializes in antique auto restoration with 30 years’ experience.
John has spent the winters in northern Vermont most of his life. Yes, it is warmer there than in Alaska and he knew Cholly back in the days when he worked in his off season shop. Cholly got lucky! John was willing to take on this very difficult cab extension at 73 years old. Impossible by most any body shop! His tools, lifting equipment and many years’ experience makes it all come together.
When Cholly and John created the extension, they cut the back off the deluxe 5 window COE cab and slid it back 33 inches. Then talented experience began! John created metal panels that fit so smoothly it appeared GM did it with tooling in the 1950’s. He made the large shaped panels to connect the roof and the sides with the original. Everything had to be just right. There was no room for any error.
Here were some of Chollys associates that were so much help in creating this unusual COE extended crew cab three years ago. Without any of them, this truck would not be as it is today.
Larry Mclain – Body Work specialist Paint Specialist
Steve Bennett – Cleaning and Fabrication Start to finish.
Wayne Gilcris – Electrical Wiring
Dillon Fosket – Welding
John Lovell – Project Manager – Fabrication Specialist.
Dane’s Upholster – Danville Vermont – specializes in Antique Upholster
Rae Davenport – Pin striping – Detailing.
With Chollys team of experts, most all of the COE crew cab was finished in about 12 months. Record Time! The results are outstanding as seen in these attached photos.
After so many years of dreaming of building a really awesome custom truck, Cholly now owns a vehicle unlike anyone else. It looks like an all original 60 year old to non-experts but it has the modern necessities. This includes a smooth riding suspension, extra horsepower and an automatic transmission. Cholly has given his special vehicle thousands of miles over the past 3 years. It’s super comfortable on long trips and is a complete blast to be out and about in. People are so drawn to the truck! Compliments occur at every stop and questions just keep coming.
Cholly stores it for most of the winter as they salt the roads heavily in New England. With a 7 ½ foot height a special garage is of course required.
Much of the fun during its first 3 years has been taking it to local Special Interest car shows. The COE has won 30 first place trophies in the truck class. Most impressive is 1st place 3 years in a row at the International Car Show in New Port, Vermont. What a pedigree!
You can reach Cholly @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Cholly and his “One and Only”
3/4 ton long bed fits just right
Even made original Hub Caps fit model wheels
New White wall tires made all the difference!
Open for view
New England back ground
Yes, you can park it with cars on the street
COE meets an International! Are we related?
At the beginning. The COE from Florida
Placing the body on the 1985 frame
Cab almost complete
All together in one photo!
Cholly and John just saying Hello!