I put it to the guild... 85 Chevy Stepside project direction? (LONG READ - lots of pics)
Looking for some ideas...
Couple months back I picked this critter up as an end result to multiple trades that essentially made it free to me.
It's a 1985, base model Chevrolet C10 Stepside. In this picture it has a straight 6 engine and someone at some point swapped out the 3 speed for a 4 speed (SM492) and hacked a hole in the floor for a shifter.
Overall, the truck was in great shape. Couple minor rust spots, mostly from the vent window weather strip being missing, coupled with the hood hinge seal being mouse nest fodder, allowing rain to come in and sit on the passenger side floor. There were no major holes, but the lip along the rocker that holds the main door seal, and an inch or so of the floor right there was pretty weak. Driver's kick panel had a hole, and then, of course, was the big hacked in mess of a shifter hole, and a section under the driver's feet where they peeled the floor back to get access to a body mount bolt, then just hammered it back in place without welding it proper.
Here's how they modded the floor for the 4 speed. At this point, all I had done is remove the floor mat and their 2x4 "custom" console:
The frame was still black (rather than rusty), as the truck was from Texas. Manual windows, locks, brakes and steering. New body mounts were in places, someone installed some 20 year old ford bucket seats, and some late 90s wheels rounded it out. Bed is overall in great shape too.
I pulled the seats and fixed/modded the floors for my newly purchased 2006 Trailblazer seats (not bad, $50 for the full set front and rear. Fronts have integrated seatbelts so I can trash the nearly 30 year old OEM stuff. The rears will be sold/traded back off for something else. The truck came with the original bench seat in the bed, so I cut it up and used the dheet metal for all my floor repairs and mods. I was pretty proud of that fact
This is at about 80% finished, not sure if I've taken a more recent picture. note the surface rust from the occasional rain still allowing water to infiltrate.
And the trans tunnel, body mount hole, and driver's kick panel
Floor mods for the new seats
Notice I also filled all the errant holes in the floor pan from the old seatbelts and other intrusions made over the years.
Scrapped all the unnecessary power gizmos from the trailblazer seats, designed a plate to facilitate my own mounts, and mocked things up:
I swapped out the manual booster for a power booster, and have a power steering box on the shelf. I sold the 4 speed to a guy who needed one for his hi-low, and paid me way too much to deliver it for him as well. Some guys who had a boating weekend planned but found a cracked block hampering their plans came and helped pull the straight 6, and even paid me a couple hundred for it before they drove away.
I decided to fix some inner fender cancer (right below the battery of course), and I had picked up a core support, radiator, grill, and headlight assemblies from a 1990 blazer to swap in (I like the look much better and it's essentially a bolt-in process) so I pulled the front clip completely.
So this is where we are today:
I have picked up a good used 700r4 trans. I've been trying to decide on a direction for the truck. My original plan was a 5.3 late model motor, as they can be had fairly cheap, make good power, and are great on gas (relatively speaking). Then I kinda thought a big block sounded like fun again, and now I've run across a deal on a complete 1987 rolling chassis... 4wd, with a 2002 vortec TBI crate motor and a documented 40k miles on it. And I can pick it up for about $400 worth of trade stuffs. It still has the engine with all accessories (even A/C) transmission, transfer case, basically EVERYTHING but the body. Guy's wife wants it gone because she's having to park her caddy in the driveway while this thing takes up space in the garage.
So now I'm torn... stick with 2wd, drop it about 6", use the motor from this chassis and sell everything else off? Or clean up the 4wd chassis and swap my sheet metal onto it?
I liked the idea of having another 4wd (since my jeep is on ebay and CL right now), but I was also looking forward to a lowered hot rod black truck burning the tires off at will