I arrived to find the truck just as it appeared in the ad; a little worse for wear, but all in all, it was in great shape. Upon further inspection, it turned out that it still had the stock 307ci V-8 and Saginaw three-on-the-tree, stock suspension, and drum brakes at all four corners. Manual steering, which was a bummer, but we’re gonna upgrade that anyways, right?! The paint was in typical beater shape and there were a few dents here and there, perfect for doing a hammer/dolly story! Inside, the cab was clean for a 40-plus-year-old truck, with the usual wear and tear. The seat was in decent shape, as was the floor mat. The dash pad was cracked and needed replacing; but all the gauges and switches worked, right down to the turn signals and dome light. Fired up, the little V-8 ran like a clock and a quick spin around the block yielded that the brakes worked great, suspension was tight, and the trans shifted fine. “Sounds like a good foundation to build upon,” I thought. We agreed upon a price slightly under the asking amount and soon I was off riding into the sunset with my newest acquisition.

And like any car guy high on his new project, I couldn’t leave well enough alone for more than five minutes and was soon scouring the catalogs getting ideas on how to upgrade this and update that. I decided that what I really needed was a rough rendering so I could play out my ideas visually and put my limited Photoshop skills to work. I figured a set of wheels and tires, a few minor body upgrades, and a suspension kit would get the job done aesthetically speaking, while the stock 307 will get an external overhaul and the Saginaw will get replaced by an overdrive to make the truck a true cruiser.

I’ve got a ton of plans for the old girl, probably more than I can get done in the next year, but I’m gonna hit the ground running and by the time you read this, it’ll be well on its way. Stay tuned next month as I give the truck a once-over and reveal some of the things to look for and to keep in mind when looking for a project of your own.

Oh yeah, and for those who were wondering…it’s gonna stay a longbed…for now! CCT