C10 Unibody
I'm a die-hard Chevy truck fan, but I can't help being attracted to some Fords. In particular, I'm fascinated by the '61-'63 Ford F-100 Styleside integral-cab pickups. I've seen many full-custom versions, and they look so slick with their unibody styling. I was wondering how much trouble it would be to make my '71 Chevy C10 Fleetside shortbed look like a unibody truck?

Could I just fill the gap between the bed and cab with sheetmetal and be good to go? Would I have problems with flexing? Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.
Neil Rohr
via e-mail

You can make your C10 look like a unibody truck. We've seen it done, and the results were impressive. It's one of those modifications that many casual observers miss, but the guys who know '67-'72 GM pickups really do double takes when they see it.

We've seen it done where a traditional Fleetside bed was joined to the cab. We've also seen it where a half-cab '69-'72 Blazer was made to look like a shortened unibody pickup. Obviously, you're hoping to do the former.

It is possible to have problems where the extended bedsides are welded to the cab, but if you do most of your driving on relatively smooth roads, do your best to avoid big potholes, take speed bumps slowly, use a minimum of body filler, and don't install hydraulics for hopping, you should be OK.

If you're concerned about flexing at the joint, you could fudge the look by extending the bedside to just short of touching the cab. You could make the gap as tight as 1/8 inch, just so there is some room for movement. If you painted your truck a dark color, the gap would be very hard to discern until you were right on top of it.

You also need to make the front panel of the bed flush with the back of the cab. You could weld a panel between the bed and the cab, or you could also leave a super-small gap as with the sides of the bed. Adding additional crossmembers to the chassis will keep flex to a minimum, which is important for keeping the bed and cab from moving independently of each other and tweaking the added sheetmetal.

Door Number One Or Door Number Two?
What's the difference between a panel truck and a sedan delivery? If a sedan delivery has rear side windows, does that make it a station wagon? Do all sedan deliveries have a single rear door?
Peter Hess
via e-mail

The simple answer is that a panel truck is based on a pickup chassis, and a sedan delivery is based on a passenger car/station wagon platform. Sedan deliveries are station-wagon size and noticeably smaller than panel trucks. Panel trucks have two rear doors; sedan deliveries have one rear door (the '40-'41 Plymouth sedan deliveries are a notable exception with their dual rear doors).

Sedan deliveries can have side windows but not often. Some small ambulances had odd side windows, and some postal sedan deliveries supposedly had side windows. Some panels also had odd add-on side windows.

The key to most sedan deliveries is their unique one-piece rear door. These doors were either hinged at the top or side hinged. Falcon sedan deliveries used a station-wagon tailgate with a roll-down rear glass. A two-part tailgate/liftgate rear door is usually a sign of a converted station wagon. Panel trucks have two side-hinged barn doors.