Last year, I purchased a '73 Chevy C10 shortbed as a parts chaser and daily driver. I spent as little as possible on the truck, knowing that it wouldn't be a show truck. All that mattered to me was that the truck was a shortbed and that because of its age, I would never have to have it smog-inspected. This left the door wide open to put a big dose of power under the dented and primered hood. After taking delivery, I made a list of everything that was wrong with the truck, which turned out to be pretty much everything. The small-block Chevy was assembled with a couple of the pistons in backwards and the TH350 trans needed work. None of the gauges were wired up, except for the tachometer, and the aftermarket dual fuel tank switching system was just the start of a really butchered up wiring harness. And beyond the bad bodywork, rot, and trashed interior, the brakes leaked something fierce, so the master cylinder had to be refilled every few days. So the truck was neither that cool nor safe.
At that point, I decided to do a medium-buck tribute to my favorite muscle car, the '69 Camaro owned by Roger Penske and driven by Mark Donohue in the Trans Am series, while fixing up my bucket of a truck. So far, I've traded away the drivetrain to a friend who let me swap-in a new GMPP LS327/327 powerplant and Gearstar-prepped 4L65-E automatic overdrive tranny, in his driveway. From there, the truck went to my shop where I rewired the front half of the truck and installed a new Flex-A-Lite aluminum radiator with electric fans. Now that the truck is drivable, I'm going to focus on fixing up the exterior, suspension, and interior.
The truck will receive a mild drop so that I can fit some fat rubber in the wheelwells. To save money down the road, I'm sticking with 17-inch wheels and the same size tires front and back so that i can rotate them. The truck will roll on Vintage Wheelworks V48s and Nitto NT555 rolling stock. A stock lenghth Tiger quick-change rearend will allow me to cruise the freeway and quickly switch the rear gearing for the racetrack. Unlike my other trucks, this one will be built to handle, with sway bars and spring rates suitable for taking corners as fast as possible, and not slowing down for bumps in the road.
Since I'm modeling the truck after a racecar, the body doesn't have to be perfectly straight, which fits right in with my medium-buck budget. To complete the Trans Am look, I'll add a chin spoiler below the front bumper and another spoiler to the top of the tailgate or bedcover. The truck does need a cowl-induction hood because the Penske car ran one, but I've omitted it from the rendering because I'm unsure if I can make it functional. The Penske Camaro also had side-exit dual exhaust so I'll half to figure out a way to make that happen, although the gas tanks are in the way.
I've already updated the front end to late-model specs, with shiny parts from LMC and factory sheetmetal that I bought off of Craigslist.com. The body will be painted royal blue and we'll add the yellow graphics with vinyl so that we can change the look at will, just like the racecar. The interior will be sparse, with black panels and Auto Meter carbon-fiber gauges. I'm still debating whether or not to ditch the bench seat and go with buckets. Although it's completely worn out, it is comfy. When the money runs out, I'll shirk the law and tint the windows to hide whatever is left of the interior that still looks like poop.