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Projects Trapped in Town!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Michael Nicholas, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. I have a project that has me changing my mind every week. I guess the good news is that the funds are low enough right now that I'm staying out of making a commitment for the time being, but with spring around the corner I'd like to choose.

    I have a '61 Apache C30 stake. It's in nice original shape with 14k miles. I plan to keep it very original except recover the bench seat in distressed leather and add an original looking stereo with Bluetooth. Oh, one more thing I'm going to change: the entire drive-line including chassis!

    Here's my issues: I'm stuck in my little town with a terrible riding truck that tops out at 45mph. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE THIS TRUCK and drive it all the time. But I want to travel to distant car shows and be involved in the hot rod community. No way I'm driving this on the expressway again.

    My thoughts: pick up a newer, more modern chevy/GMC chassis, upgrade to 4 wheel disc brakes, coil-overs, R&P steering and a mild v8. When that is a complete roller, then swap the cab onto the new chassis. BTW, I will never alter the sheet metal whatsoever on this truck, and as of now I'm planning to keep the old roller completely intact and stored. I have been scouring classifieds for a late 70's to early 80's chassis, but they either want too much $ or they have rust issues. Also, trying to find a 2wd in the northeast is difficult too. I'm also concerned about getting the cab to fit properly. What I would really like is a '61 c-10 chassis, but talk about out of my budget (If I can even find one)! They make plenty of suspension upgrades for '61 C-10s, but none for my C-30.

    Seems like somebody out there should have a '61 with a un-salvageable body but a decent frame they'd like to get out of their yard for a few hundred bucks? No?


    Thanks for listening...
    chryslerfan55 and chevy57dude like this.
  2. rustydusty
    Joined: Apr 19, 2010
    Posts: 1,728


    You're probably better off selling the c30 and finding an affordable 1/2 ton truck. Cab transplants are not for the faint hearted...
  3. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 526

    from grandin nd

    just remember the best chassis for that truck is the one it came with!chassis swaps usually result in 2 unusable vehicles!
  4. finn
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 717


    Never seen a chassis swap that looked right to me. The frame width and, more important, the front track width are different so the wheels hang out.

    If you want to drive a modern truck, drive a modern truck.

  5. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 652


    What’s wrong with the chassis under it?

    I’d drop a sbc auto trans and newer rearend in it and drive the wheels off.
    It’s a proven recipe.

    Find whatever old car or truck you can for cheap that runs and swap the entire drive line in to your truck.
    You’d be way ahead of doing a chassis swap.

    For ride, some lighter sprigs and new shocks would probably make a world of difference in how it drives.

    That truck was built to work hard and haul heavy loads, it’s got stiff sprigs and crazy tall gears, change that and you’ll have a much better driver.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,932

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    Ideally appreciate it for what is..a 1 ton Chev TRUCK, if not possible for your goal, sell it and buy a 1/2 ton p/u Hot Rod material sample to get you where you want to be.
    No frame swap, agree with oldtom69
    Blue One and lothiandon1940 like this.
  7. Thanks for reading my post. I have a pretty strong heart! Not a total beginner. This truck and I have a long future together. :)
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  8. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,567

    from Berry, AL

    First off, it's a one ton truck, it's going to ride stiff. It was made to haul loads, not ride your butt smooth. And it's geared low to haul and pull those heavy loads easily with the power train it has. So, how much of that do you want to loose?

    You can play with the springs by taking leafs out in the rear. You can find an overdrive transmission or add an aftermarket overdrive like a Hone unit to get the RPM's down and a bit more top speed.
    But you still have a TRUCK. It will still be able to haul stuff, just not as much. And it will never ride like a lighter C10 will.

    I gotta agree with rustydusty and oldtom69, you'd be better off to sell and buy what you really want. Swapping frames can get very involved getting everything to bolt in and wire up.
    chryslerfan55 and Blue One like this.
  9. This is a hot rod project. It will drive nice, sound killer, and turn heads at the car shows! The ONLY question is will I alter this chassis, a newer chassis or pick up a vintage C10 chassis.

    swade41 likes this.
  10. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,482

    Jalopy Joker

    yep, you have a work horse - does not sound like you have a true need for a heavy duty ride for a business of some kind - if you try to delve into a deep project with your truck the dollars signs will go up and results will be disappointing - place ad everywhere and look for a trade - if you stick with putting your truck body on a later 1 ton truck do not look here for much help here
    chryslerfan55 and Blue One like this.
  11. This IS what I REALLY want. A pristine 1961 Apache cab with low miles, zero rust and original paint!
  12. I guess I really screwed up with this post. I should have mentioned that my goal in buying the truck and the project scope is to end up with a hot rod. It's a beautiful cab and a body style I love. The hard work and $$$ is a given. My intended question was modern chassis, vintage chassis or original chassis to alter.
    Sorry for the confusion
    chryslerfan55 and vtx1800 like this.
  13. CAHotRodBoy
    Joined: Apr 22, 2005
    Posts: 354


    Well it seems you got a lot of responses that you want to ignore. We all are saying the same thing, just alter your existing chassis (which is already a "vintage" chassis). Soften the suspension, change rear end gear, overdrive transmission, etc. and you will have a usable old truck that looks cool, is fun to drive and won't brake the bank.

    The other advantage of going this route is that you can do it in steps. A chassis swap will result in the truck getting torn down and unusable until the project is compete, if ever. There are a million unfinished projects out there that the owners started with boundless energy and determination only to peter out after many hours and dollars spent.

    You could start out with removing leafs from the rear springs and using 1/2 ton coils up front. Then rebuild the brakes (the stock one ton drum brakes will be perfectly adequate for what you want to do). Then maybe a trans swap. Continue as you can afford.

    One thing to keep in mind though, your truck will never be a "hot rod". It's a one ton truck! It can be a wicked cool old truck that people will admire but it won't be a hot rod. Enjoy it for what it is but if you want a hot rod then buy something smaller and lighter and use your cool truck as the tow rig.
    PS: Okay, I guess if you stuffed a 1,000+ HP engine in it you might be able to call it a hot rod! :cool::p
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
    chryslerfan55, Boneyard51 and pitman like this.
  14. I would love to go with a custom built chassis, but that is way out of my budget. A '61 C10 chassis is how I am leaning. 1.) the cabs are the same size and have the same mounting points 2.) you CAN find suspension upgrades for a '61, though they are few and far between.

    There was a guy posting on this forum last summer who had a parts yard with a few 61s. Unfortunately I was too busy at the time and now can't find the thread.

    I can take advice, and I don't cry over mistakes...I fix them. I have no time for "NO, YOUR WRONG. SELL IT. YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!" It just so happens I do know what I'm doing and I have purchased exactly what I wanted. Besides, a '61 C10 with 14k miles and original everything would have been 3x what I paid my beauty and then would have still needed thousands of $ in upgrades to make it a hot rod.

    Thank you for the considered comment. I really appreciate it! I hope to get more.

    catdad49 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  15. oldtom69
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 526

    from grandin nd

    you'd be surprised how much modern tires will improve the ride
    bobss396 and nochop like this.
  16. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,567

    from Berry, AL

    First thing, where are you located? OldWolf probably has several complete trucks you could get and use the frame from, but he's in Arkansas, if you're in Washington state they won't do you a lot of good.....
  17. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,998

    from oregon

    catdad49 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  18. Sounds like you are hunting a 20 dollar cure for a 10 cent problem. If the damed old chebby won't cruise as fast as you like change the gear and you're done.

    I have swapped a chassis or two in my time. That don't make 'em go any faster it just makes 'em different. We are not a chassis swap site and a C-30 is a hauler not a cruiser. if you want a cruiser swap it for a half ton truck and let someone have it that's gonna work it.
    chryslerfan55, Tim and Deuced Up! like this.
  19. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 3,538


    Hey trollst, did you read this?
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  20. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 4,616


    CaHotRodBoy, you beat me to it! Just changing the springs out to lighter ones will improve the ride tremendously. Then add and overdrive transmission and have a neat/ different truck. Simple
    But I disagree on it never being a hot rod! To me the definition of a “ hot rod” is a vehile you modified to make faster/ better. It’s a broad definition, in my books. Now will it ever be real fast?..... no, too heavy.
    I have a slightly OT flatbed farm truck that has a 428 CJ , that I consider a “ hot rod” because I do race it. Not on the drag strip, but pulling hills around here with a loaded trailer, campaigning against other similar trucks. Not “ regular, sanctioned “ racing , but racing none the less. It’s fun passing new trucks loaded similar to mine, struggling on a hill with almost fifty year old truck. Just another view!

    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  21. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,712


    I would think different rearend, air bag suspension, should ride a lot better. I've never ridden in one, but see a lot of LWB later model duallies bagged and lowered used as drivers.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  22. Modern frames swaps [Morrison type] here on the HAMB are looked down upon and will get your post deleted. We're traditional here.
    However, your idea to plop your sheetmetal onto an early 1/2 ton frame is cool as long as you're not using aftermarket disc brake/coilover suspension goodies. BTW, my old 61, 1/2 ton sat on it's original suspension with the torsion bars adjusted down and the 1/2 ton rear axle's gears allowed me to cruise at 60-65 with it's original 235/3speed. 61chevypu (2).jpg
    chryslerfan55 and Tim like this.
  23. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,577

    anthony myrick

    That trucks perfect.
    I’m putting a later model crossmember in a 62
    Drill some holes and bolt in disc brakes and power steering.
    Suspension upgrades are everywhere for the 63-87 suspensions.
    Swap in a rear axle from the same year trucks
    Super easy.
    chryslerfan55, Boneyard51 and vtx1800 like this.
  24. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,839


    One's concept of how well an older rig rides relates 100% to what he/she is used to driving and riding in. If all you have driven are Caddy Devilles or Lincolns there isn't an older truck in the world you will be happy with the ride in. on the other hand if you have driven those little square Jeep Cherokees for years you will be happy with the ride in about anything.

    If you were to find a 63/65 C 10 chassis you would get a coil spring front end and coil spring rear end.
    60/62 had torsion bars and had their own can of worms to deal with. That would be the simplest to put under the truck and have the cab bolt on and have the correct bed bolt on. That also lets you rework the chassis and get it all ready before you ever unbolt the cab off the 1 ton.
    While later model chassis swaps can be done they are usually not without their own headaches with the cutting, fitting and reworking to get things to work together. It's not anywhere near as easy as the yahoos down at the spit and whittle club all tell you it is.
    Those aftermarket chassis are nice but you are looking at 10K for a starting point. If you have the coin that isn't a bad way to go to have a nice custom truck though. Those usually aren't anywhere close to being Hamb friendly though.

    You might also check with the 60/66 group on You have guys there who are seriously into that model of truck and may give you some solid info. I don't get over in that section of that board much as I am usually in the 47/59 bunch.
  25. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 1,098


    Do not the first years Chevys with that style cab use
    the torsion bar style suspension? These have never been popular or highly regarded. I think they were utilized until 64?
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  26. choptop40
    Joined: Dec 23, 2009
    Posts: 3,685


    Work with what you have...rear axle and spring swap , ditto upfront.. rinse , repeat.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  27. Dude, just build the truck you want to build, don't listen to the barkers, they are not going to build the truck for you and they especially aren't going to drive it for you.
    There are tons of great looking and driving chassis swap vehicles out there and for what you're looking to do with the end result it makes perfect sense, it's an economical way to get modern dependability and parts access. I would suggest posting to a different forum because people won't stop telling you how you should build your own truck for their satisfaction, here's a good helpful group good luck with your build.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  28. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 6,577

    anthony myrick

    100% on the guy building what he wants. This place is centered on 65 and down builds and parts (or as close to as the mods allow) This is probably the reason for how the responses are tempered.
    Another reason is a lot of us have seen chassis swaps either be abandoned or butchered.
    No one is telling the guy how to build but answering the questions posed by the owner in the best Hambish way they can.
  29. bill gruendeman
    Joined: Jun 18, 2019
    Posts: 411

    bill gruendeman

    I think the o/p wants to get rid of the 8 lug wheels. Why is putting the same year 1/2 ton chassis under his truck a frame swap? Or he could change the rear end and front cross member and call it done.

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