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A Streamlined 1947 Ford COE–Based Pizza Truck Heads to SEMA

Posted November 04, 2021 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: Ford

The plan seemed foolproof. Don Bennett wanted to give his two kids a fun way to earn money for college, so he spent a year building them a food truck from which they could sell pizzas out of the back.

Nearly a decade later, one of the kids has graduated, the other one's partway through college, and the truck still hasn't turned out a single pie. "It's not yet a moneymaker, that's for sure," Bennett says. But at least he has shined it up enough to take it to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas this year.

Bennett—who owns a 1941 Ford Deluxe convertible and a restaurant called The Home Place in Silverton, Oregon—says the inspiration for the pizza truck came to him in 2012 after he saw a custom 1947 Ford COE that parts manufacturer Wescott's had on display at a car show in Portland. Around the same time, in a restaurant trade magazine, he saw a wood-fired pizza oven mounted to an old flatbed. It didn't take long for him to start searching the country for a Ford COE of his own.

He eventually found one about 50 miles from home. Though covered with patina and loaded with building supplies that the prior owner had hoarded for decades, the COE remained all original, and Bennett was able to get it running for a brief jaunt to a local cruise night. To turn it into a pizza truck, though, he would have to make significant changes to the Ford.

He started by jettisoning everything but the COE's cab and fenders. The original chassis rode far too high on stiff leaf springs and solid front axle, so Bennett decided to use the chassis from underneath his in-laws' 1985 Coachmen President motorhome. It had a wheelbase that stretched 208 inches—long enough to fit an 18-foot box behind the cab—and featured four-wheel disc brakes, independent front suspension, and a 454-cu.in. big-block Chevrolet V-8.

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Re: A Streamlined 1947 Ford COE–Based Pizza Truck Heads to SEMA

11/07/2021 3:57 PM

Really retro cool machine, and I realize this is an artistic endeavor, but one can't help wonder how many pizza's you would need to sell to break even on a build such as this...my guess is never...still I think the value is in the appearance of the truck itself as a promotional tool...

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