Truck appeal is universal. Some guys are street rod guys, some are muscle car guys, some are sports car guys, but mixed in among all these groups of guys, there is a high percentage of truck guys. And as you’d expect, the trucks usually end up modified, sometimes mildly, sometimes—as in this case—extensively. Extensively, but subtly.
Jim Wendell was born at the beginning of the muscle car era and has owned his share of high-performance Chevys, including a ’70 Nova SS and a ’68 Z/28 Camaro—and has owned this ’72 Chevy Cheyenne since 1990. “I always loved these trucks and finally found the right one that hadn’t been molested or painted five times,” he told us. The original paint, three-on-the-tree transmission (unusual for a Cheyenne), and factory air were big draws. Not long after buying it from the original owner, Jim swapped out the three-speed for a TH350 and a factory tilt steering column.
The truck served as his daily driver until 1996. After the grille and surrounding areas were damaged in a minor collision, Jim parked the truck. “I had serious plans of restoring the truck, but just like any good intentioned ideas, life got in the way and it sat until 2002 before I got serious about getting it back on the road and looking the way I envisioned.”
Jim completely disassembled the Cheyenne in order to give the frame some undivided attention. The ’rails were C-notched to lower the rear and were epoxy coated, along with most of the other suspension components.
All new suspension bushings and steering components were installed and a mid ’70s steering box was swapped in for a quicker ratio than the factory box. The lowered stance of the truck is achieved in traditional style with C-notched ’rails, stepped A-arms, and lowering coil springs (6 inches in back, 3 in front). The suspension upgrades continue with the addition of a 11⁄4-inch front anti-sway bar, a 7⁄8-inch rear bar, and KYB shocks on all four corners; the combination works well at keeping body roll to a minimum. Silver basecoat with clear on the sway bars, coils, and driveshaft provide a little color contrast underneath.
Factory front discs with drilled rotors were mounted behind 18x8-inch Billet Specialties Vintec five-spokes—with Speedway discs and 18x9.5 Vintecs attached to the factory 12-bolt Posi rear with 3.73:1 gears. The performance tires are Toyo Proxes S/T radials, measuring 255/50R18 and 275/55R18.
The original 350 four-bolt small-block was bored 0.030 over and loaded with an Eagle 3.75-inch stroke crank, Eagle H-Beam rods, and SRP forged pistons to stretch it out to 385 cubic inches. Edelbrock RPM aluminum heads sit on top the short block. On top of everything, a Weiand 142 supercharger and Edelbrock 800 AVS carb provide a little “positive pressure.” A pair of 2½-inch exhaust pipes run all the way from Doug Thorley headers to the rear, with Dynomax Ultra Flow mufflers tucked underneath the bed.
Spark is distributed by a Mallory HEI and an MSD 6 with an adjustable timing unit that allows timing changes on the fly. The billet serpentine accessory drive system is from Concept One. A stock four-core radiator with SPAL-controlled twin electric fans is housed in a custom aluminum shroud to keep things cool. A built-up 700-R4 transmission (still column-shifted) handles shifting duties for the 525hp engine.