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1954 GMC COE Truck Gets First Wash in 50 Years, Old Inline-Six Refuses to Die

GMC is now mostly famous for premium trucks and SUVs, but there was a time when the company built full-blown workhorses. This 1954 cab over engine (COE) hauler is one of them.
1954 GMC 450 COE 6 photos
1954 GMC 450 COE1954 GMC 450 COE1954 GMC 450 COE1954 GMC 450 COE1954 GMC 450 COE
Part of a series of medium-duty trucks introduced in 1939, this rig is a Z-series model that GMC rolled out for the 1954 model year. It was replaced by the Y series in 1955, so it remained in showrooms for one year only. The lineage itself was discontinued in 1960.

Not only cool due to their unique design (if you're into COE haulers, that is!), but these trucks are also pretty rare nowadays. Especially since many of them were abandoned in junkyards once more modern rigs became available. So seeing one come back to life after decades of neglect is fantastic.

This GMC 450 was found by the folks over at YouTube's "Iron City Garage" somewhere in Montana. It was rescued alongside the 1956 GMC Fleet Option I documented earlier in July 2022 and, just like its smaller cousin, it spent a whopping 50 years off the road.

The truck was obviously in bad shape when the crew hauled it back to its shop. Dirty and rusty on the outside, it also had a nasty interior that needed almost everything taken out for an overhaul. Not surprisingly, the condition of the 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) inline-six engine was unknown.

All told, it looked like a barn find most people wouldn't want to touch with a 10-foot pole. But this wasn't an issue for "Iron City Garage." Not only did they give the truck its first cleaning in five decades, but also managed to put it back on its "feet." As in they got the old inline-six to fire up again and took the truck for a short spin around the shop.

Is this GMC road-worthy again? Not even close. But it will probably get there soon enough with a bit of work. But even so, it's one more rare GMC COE saved from a sad life in a junkyard and that's good enough for me. Check it out in the video below.

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