- Written by webmin
In the late 1930s, the cab-over-engine truck design had long been discarded in favor of more conventional truck designs, which sacrificed the maneuverability and maximized cargo space of a COE for the space for larger engines capable of hauling bigger payloads. But when many of the truck manufacturers began considering and building COEs yet again, especially in the ton-and-a-half range, the Big Three suddenly found themselves without products to compete in that niche.
For that reason, a couple of smaller coachbuilding firms stepped in to fill the void. Transportation Engineers Inc., of Highland Park, Michigan, spent a couple years building Ford-based Dearborn Line COEs until Ford introduced its own cab-over in 1938, while Montpelier Manufacturing of Montpelier, Ohio, took on GM and Dodge conversions from 1937-1938, until the latter two companies introduced their own COEs in 1939 and 1940, respectively.
We’re not even sure this 1939 Dodge-based Montpelier COE that we spotted in the Orange field at Hershey was for sale. No signs around it claimed it was, and no owners were around to ask. Compared to the one photo of a Montpelier 1-1/2-ton COE we found in Don Bunn’s “Dodge Trucks,” (Montpelier also built a 3-ton Dodge COE, which looked rather like the contemporary White COEs), we see this one is missing its front fenders. In person, the Montpelier also appears much less refined, with a bare minimum of compound curves and a plethora of flat sheetmetal.
Still, it was an awesome sight and a rare glimpse of trucking history.