Cut the ribbons, slam the shovels in the ground, and crack the bottle of bubbly over the hull, because Project Get Shorty, our '71 C-10 longbed, has now officially hit the ground running. To kick things off, we're going to get straight to business and hack this sucka in half.
Like I said before, the longbed isn't the look I'm after, so the first order of business is to transform the long hauler into a short hauler. Although the job may sound like a tall order, the truth is it's a straightforward procedure. The main idea is to remove 20 inches from the frame and the bed. There are two areas that need to be cut from the frame. The rear is by far the simplest. By measuring 8 inches from the back of the frame and cutting at that mark, half of the shortening job is complete. As for the other 12 inches, they are taken right behind the cab. Twelve inches are removed between the first and second bed mount, and the sweet part is that once the area is cut and pulled back together, the pre-existing bed mount holes are re-used for the shortbed mount. Where the two cuts are made, the framerails are the same height, which makes it simple to weld back up. However, the rear frame half is close to a quarter inch wider, but by splitting the difference on both sides of the front framerails when it's time to glue things back together, even that isn't the slightest problem.
After the frame is cut, the biggest key is reinforcing the conjoined frame and making the truck roadworthy again. One easy way to handle the job is to box in the welded area with an 1/8-inch steel plate, but for Project Get Shorty, I took a different approach. Classic Performance Products manufactures C-channel frame stiffeners for '67-72 Chevy trucks. When using these frame stiffeners, not only will they box the frame, which is adequate enough strength, but the additional C-channel in the stiffeners will also add some extra girth to the pieced-together frame. The way I look at it, there isn't enough one can do to make things beefier in this department!
When it comes time to shorten the bed, there are two ways to go about that as well. One is to deal with the factory longbed and hack it down. The other, which is the way I went, is to order a complete shortbed assembly from LMC Truck that bolts together, which we will get to later in the build. Project Get Shorty is also going to receive a full suspension setup from Air Ride Technologies; stay tuned for that as well. But for now, let's hit the grind over at the Primedia Tech Center and shorten Project Get Shorty.
Before I could get started, the first task of the day was to remove that behemoth of a bed
Anxious to hack into the truck, I jumped right ahead to shortening the frame....
...By measuring 8 inches from the rear of the frame, the first cut line was drawn.