Once a common body style from the early days of automobiles until the 1970s, the cab over engine (COE) truck has lost its popularity in the United States. As a consequence, finding classic COE haulers is a rare occurrence, often limited to junkyards. Specific models, like the 1951 Dodge showcased here, have become nearly extinct.
Spotted by the YouTube channel “Bobs Classic Cars & Parts” within a private collection of neglected vehicles, this 1951 Dodge is part of the brand’s B-series truck lineup, manufactured between 1948 and 1953.
Serving as the precursor to the C-series, the Dodge B-series is primarily recognized for its 1/2-ton and 3/4-ton pickup truck configurations. Alongside Ford and Chevrolet, Dodge also produced heavy-duty and COE iterations of their primary truck offerings during that era.
While the standard light-duty pickups carried designations like B1 (B1-B for 1/2-ton and B1-C for 3/4-ton), the cab over engine trucks were identified by “B2,” “B3,” and “B4” badges. These COE models shared the front grille and headlamp assembly with their smaller counterparts, but they featured remarkably tall hoods. This distinct design led to various nicknames such as “snub-nose,” “bull-nose,” or “bulldog.”
During their time, the B-series COE trucks enjoyed a fair degree of popularity. So, why are they so scarcely found today? Typically, trucks are discarded once they are replaced by modern models, leading many B2s to end up in junkyards and ultimately scrapped. While a few thousand examples might still exist, many are deteriorating in scrapyards. Consequently, they aren’t commonly spotted at local car shows.
Interestingly, while the B2 COE is a rare sight irrespective of its configuration, the 1951 version stands out as potentially one of the last survivors. This particular B2 is a dually variant featuring a rescue squad body. Designed with a dual cab layout accommodating up to six individuals, it also boasts an enclosed rear section equipped with storage space for specialized technical rescue equipment. These trucks were often tasked with transporting various cutting, prying, and water rescue tools, among other specialized gear.
Regrettably, this truck has remained untouched for decades and has succumbed to rust, though it remains mostly intact. Its original engine is still under the hood, but it’s likely seized and won’t start without significant refurbishment. Notably, all Dodge COE trucks from that era were powered by flathead inline-six engines. These engines came in displacement variations of 218, 250, and 265 cubic inches (3.6, 4.1, and 4.3 liters), with the top-tier model delivering over 100 horsepower.
Despite its unique layout, this truck doesn’t carry the same charm as the smaller pickup trucks of that era. Unfortunately, it appears destined to deteriorate on the property where it currently rests. Do you think it’s worth attempting to save? You can see it in more detail in the video below.