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Keystone Cabover Comes Back Home

Keystone Cabover Comes Back Home

It wasn’t the red and yellow Ford cab-over-engine truck that really leaped out at you, although it was different and nicely done. It wasn’t even the flattie-powered Model A stock car chained to the truck’s ramp bed. It was the 1947 Pennsylvania license plates! Did someone really drive this rig halfway across the country to come to the 2016 Iola, Wis., Old Car Show?
The answer was yes and there were two reasons. First, Noel Clemmer loves driving the 1947 Ford cab-over-engine truck and has put over 25,000 miles on it going to car shows throughout the country. Second, the trip to Iola was a homage, since the truck’s body had been purchased from a Wisconsin seller.
Very cool and special in many ways, Clemmer’s truck represents to him a piece of American automotive history and a piece of jalopy stock car racing history in the Keystone state. He has the names of old Pennsylvania racetracks of the ’50 lettered on the side of the truck: Uniontown, Ruffsdale, Jefferson and Masontown.
Clemmer’s Ford isn’t stock, which helps explain its reliability and ability to traverse modern super highways at speeds up to 80 mph. He built the complete ramp bed himself and installed the cab on a 1994 Ford ambulance frame. According to Clemmer, ambulances are made with springs that are flatter and this made it perfect for fitting the old Ford body to the ambulance chassis.
Clemmer selected a 7.3-liter Ford diesel engine and 4.10.1 rear end assembly that remanufactured by Jasper Engines and Transmissions to give his truck a reliable, modern powerplant. He had to move the diesel engine six feet towards the rear, so it now sits in the middle of the truck under the ramp.
Clemmer acquired his truck around nine years ago. He said it was in “very bad condition” when it arrived. A skilled welder and fabricator, he built the ramp himself, did other major reconstruction and finished it off with a suitable cosmetic restoration. The color scheme and graphics give it the authentic appearance of a 1950s racecar hauler and the hopped-up Model A five-window coupe matches it.
Parke Johnson, Clay Friend and Lindsey Johnson helped Clemmer with the truck’s transformation. All of the advertisements that appear on the truck are from former 1950s businesses. Also lettered on the doors of the truck and car is the designation M3B which stands for “Mom’s 3 Boys.” This is based on the fact that Clemmer’s mother raised him and two brothers by herself after her husband died in a mining accident. He considers the build of the car and truck and its display at many event to be a tribute to both of his parents.