Hello Riz, do you see any problems with a ’57 Chevy pickup body on a ’71 Chevy pickup frame? Is there anything to watch out for? I wanted to ask someone with classic truck experience.The truck I found is on eBay; the write-up sounded good, and I’ve been in contact with the seller by email.

Thanks,
Tom
Via email

Hi Tom, a late-model chassis swap is a possibility, but you may have to make a few modifications (this is something I’ve not done myself, though). The biggest thing you have to worry about is the wheelbase of the late-model chassis you’re going to use. The ’57 3100 series pickup had a 114-inch wheelbase (shortbed), and the ’67-72 C10 had a 115-inch wheelbase (shortbed). The ’67-72s also used a 127-inch wheelbase on the longbed and an even longer 133-inch wheelbase on the Longhorn model. So, as long as you make sure your donor chassis is from a shortbed, you’ll just have to work around that extra inch difference. Keep in mind that you may have to modify the cab mounts too as there may be a difference in that respect as well. All in all, I don’t think it’d be a major task as long as you take your time and are skilled enough to tackle any modifications you might run into. RIZ

Jim, I’m sure you’ve probably heard too much on the homebuilt versus professional issue already. Homebuilders do get my admiration because I know the difficulties of doing it yourself. But a great truck is a great truck no matter who built it. My real reason for this email is that the great majority of your featured trucks seem to be professionally built. When I look at a feature truck article one of the first things I do is look at the Body Work and Paint and Upholstery By lines to see if owner appears. I’m almost always disappointed. I know there are many quality homebuilt trucks out there but I’m wondering why it seems they don’t make it to the feature pages of your magazine.

Thanks,
Bill Young

Hello Bill, I’m partial to homebuilt trucks, cars, and motorcycles, too, always have been and always will. That said, farming out bodywork, paint, and upholstery on an otherwise home garagebuilt truck still qualifies it as homebuilt in my book. Really, how many of us gearheads have the training and expertise to tackle crafts of that caliber? I’d venture to guess very few. Good bodywork, quality paintwork, and correctly sewn upholstery are the end result of years of education and practice, and if you’re talented enough to have mastered each of those crafts (as well as all the other skills it takes to build a high-quality hot rod) then, with no disrespect intended, in my opinion you’re the professional-caliber builder of the type whose feature trucks you’re complaining about.

I’ve always prided myself as a champion of the homebuilder, and one who prowls that back forty rather than the Pro’s Pick area at all of the events I cover. It wouldn’t take a lot to look back at my editorials over the years and see how many times I’ve said that the magazines I’ve worked for belong to the readers, and they should have the same (or even better) chance of making print than professional shopbuilt trucks. So, all in all, I’m happy you possess the skills you do. I wish I were as talented. RIZ

Hi Jim, I’m in the first stages of building a ’55 Ford pickup. It’s bone-stock now, but my plan is to install a 460 engine, a C6 transmission, and a Ford 9-inch differential. Can I box the stock frame, or do I need to put a subframe under it? My donor car is a ’72 Lincoln Continental. I have the frame from the Lincoln, and the front suspension is in good shape. I will put some type of A-arm, coil-sprung frontend under the truck. I read in one of your articles you like Total Cost’s crossmember kits. Any advice will be very helpful.

Thank you,
Andy MacLean

Hi Andy, it sounds like a neat project, and you’ve got a couple of good options. If you go with an aftermarket crossmember kit you will have to box at least the front framerails. If you choose to clip it with a late-model frontend assembly from a donor those are nearly always four-sided square or rectangular rails anyway so you’d be good in that respect. Personally, I prefer aftermarket IFS kits versus grafting donor clips to truck frames. I think it’s easier than clipping, and you’re less likely to run into problems like misalignment. I realize that clipping a frame is thought to be less expensive but every aftermarket manufacturer I know of offer entry-level systems that are actually quite affordable. You mentioned you have a Lincoln chassis; if you decide to go the clipping route I’d suggest making sure that the Lincoln’s track width matches (or is extremely close to) that of your truck’s frame. I’d hate to see ya chop ’em up and then find out they won’t mate. Whichever route you decide to take make sure you take your time and measure, measure, measure before you cut. RIZ