Having a cool classic truck doesn't mean you can't tow a trailer. With the ever-increasing popularity of classic trucks becoming daily-drivers again, the need to tow something is constantly popping up. Whether it's a motorcycle, a boat, or a classic travel trailer, there's always something begging to tag along. Unfortunately, there's nothing more unattractive than a trailer hitch hanging below the rear bumper. Early Classic Enterprises (ECE) has solved this dilemma with its hidden receiver hitch kit. This Class IV hitch mounts behind the stock license plate box of '67-'72 GM pickups. The hitch remains hidden until needed, then, with a flip of the license plate and insertion of the extended ball mount, you're ready to tow.
Early Classic offers hitches for '67-'72 C10 and C20 pickups, as well as Blazers and Suburbans of the same era. The hitches are available individually or in kit form. The kits include: hitch, license plate flip frame, extended ball mount, plug-in trailer wiring harness, and all necessary hardware. They are designed to coexist with the factory spare tire and will also work in conjunction with ECE's aftermarket stainless steel fuel tank. The powdercoated finish will provide years of rust-free service, and the 500-pound tongue/5,000-pound tow ratings are plenty stout for most any trailer duty.
Follow along as we take a short trip to Fresno, California, and watch the pros at ECE install one of their hidden hitch kits on a '71 Chevy shortbed.
What's In The Box?
Early Classic's kit is simple and well-thought-out. It is supplied with all necessary components. You will get a powdercoated Class IV hitch with matching ball mount, a flip-up license plate bracket, and all the necessary wiring and hardware. All you will need are a few basic tools and a little time.
Part One: The Install
ECE's hitch mounts to the bottom of the frame. Although the hitch was designed to work with the spare tire in place, this particular shortbed is missing its spare tire and hanger, making the installation a bit easier.
1. With the truck up high enough to work under and properly supported, Mark begins by loca
2. Shortbed owners are in luck; two of the holes are already there, compliments of GM (not
3. It's a good idea to put the bolts in as soon as the holes are available. Finger-tight i
4. Using the hitch as a template, the drilling locations are easily found. Starting with a
5. Now that the holes are drilled, the hitch is mocked up in place. Mark can trace around
6. After removing the license plate, the choice was made to drill the corners and use a di
8. With the license plate box dry and back in its place, the hitch is now returned to its
9. The flip frame is now installed and, when the license plate is replaced, the hitch is c
10. As you can see, the installation is quick and straightforward. In just less than an ho
Hitches are rated for Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) and tongue weight (TW). Before you choose a hitch, you'll need to find out how much your trailer weighs loaded and the tongue weight. The following classification will help you determine the right hitch, once you know how much you will be towing:
GVWR as much as 2,000 pounds, TW as much as 200 pounds
GVWR as much as 3,500 pounds, TW as much as 350 pounds
GVWR as much as 5,000 pounds, TW as much as 500 pounds
GVWR as much as 10,000 pounds, TW as much as 1,000 pounds plus
Indicates a heavy-duty frame-mounted hitch, designed for towing more than 10,000 pounds
The Final Word
If you've slapped in a new wood bed floor, or if you have gone through the expense of repainting your existing steel bed floor, then odds are good that you won't be hauling anything sharp or heavy anytime soon. This means you'll need to hitch up a trailer to your classic sport truck. What better way to do that than with a clean, hidden hitch? Call the guys at ECE now, drop $209 for this complete kit, and if you mention that you read about the hitch in Sport Truck, they'll also throw in a free mystery goodie bag of swag.