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Clean And Classic - 1970 Chevy K20 Long Bed

Posted in Features on August 1, 2012
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Photographers: Jerrod Jones

There’s no doubt that classic trucks are just plain cool, and some of the greatest ones to ever to roll out of Detroit are the second-generation Chevy trucks like the ’70 Chevrolet K20 you see here.

These trucks were built to work hard all day long to get the job done while keeping everything simple. Then you look at the shape and lines of the body and you can’t help but notice the beauty of these old trucks, which are better looking than most new trucks. It’s easy to see why Jeff College built this classic Chevy instead of a run-of-the-mill Jeep to conquer the trails in Moab, Utah. 

Jeff built this truck purely from advice he read in magazines over the years, taking the guidance that he found in the pages of OFF-ROAD, Four Wheeler, and Petersen’s 4 Wheel & Off-Road. Like a lot of us, he knew nothing about off-roading before he started reading and learning from magazines. Now he’s a dirt veteran who’s out showing off in Moab wheeling the through tight and difficult trails proving that fullsizes dominate in a sea of Jeeps.

In case you’re wondering if this truck is just as clean underneath the bright red shell, take a look at the engine compartment. Packed inside is a mildlybuilt 350ci V-8 that is actually running on its last legs. Jeff has plans to rebuild it and punch it out to a 383ci small-block stroker motor. The dual battery setup makes sure the truck has enough juice to winch itself out of any difficult situation.

What Jeff created is nothing super crazy; it has no 15-link steering system, nor 8-way bypass shocks. Instead it’s incredibly stout, it works really well, and it includes a lot of tried-and-true parts. 

Jeff ripped the entire truck apart and boxed the entire frame before building himself one heck of a K20. Keeping things simple is usually the best way to go about building any truck and Jeff has certainly pulled that off with this classic Bow Tie and built himself a reliable truck that can conquer Moab, Utah, better than a short-wheelbase 4x4. 

We caught up with Jeff just moments after he finished one of the more difficult trails in Moab, Utah. On Behind the Rocks, Jeff twisted the 39.5-inch Super Swampers up into the fender-wells as far as they would go, but there is no rub because he carefully picked the correct offset wheel and tire size that matched his suspension, travel and fender openings. It’s always impressive to see fullsize trucks wheeling their way through tight trails but it’s even better when they’re classic time capsules like Jeff’s ’70 K20.

To make sure this classic Bow Tie is never at a loss for traction, the full-floating 14-bolt rear axle was stuffed with a Detroit Locker as well as 4.56 gears to match the front. The 14-bolt is also protected from tall jagged rocks via a custom skid that also protects the pinion and features a built in driveshaft safety hoop to keep the shaft from flying if one of the heavy-duty 1350 U-joints break. Jeff also added custom lower links to with rod ends to serve as traction bars and help minimize axle wrap. If you look closely you’ll notice that the entire frame has been fully boxed from front to rear to increase its overall strength.

The large 39.5-inch Super Swamper TSL’s grip very well on the slick rock but even when the big K20 is flexing over obstacles, there are no tire rub issues whatsoever thanks to Jeff’s commitment to selecting a proper tire and wheel package that matched his suspension. The 17-inch Weld Racing Typhoon forged aluminum wheels really set off the cool nostalgic looks of this classic Bow Tie truck. In a time when black wheels are the norm, it’s refreshing to see such cool vintage polished aluminum wheels like these.

You’re probably wondering where he keeps the winch, right? In the bed, of course! Jeff keeps the 8,000-pound Ramsey winch on a multi-mount so he can put it in front or rear hitch at a moments notice. The spare 39.5-inch tire is secured directly to the bed but there’s still enough room to carry a large cooler as well as a bed mounted storage box to carry all the necessary tools in case any field repairs are needed.

PhotosView Slideshow


Vehicle: 1970 Chevy K20 Long Bed
Owner: Jeff College
Chassis: Fully boxed frame rails from front to rear
Engine: 350ci V-8, soon to be a 383 stroker, Holley Truck Avenger carburetor, Edelbrock air cleaner, Taylor spark plug wires
Drivetrain: TH400 automatic, NP203 T-case and NP205 T-case with Off Road Design doubler kit, 1350 U-joints, Dana 60 front with Detroit Locker, 14-Bolt rear with Detroit Locker, 4.56 gears
Suspension: 8-inch lift Skyjacker leaf springs all around, Rancho RS9000 shocks
Steering: Drop pitman arm
Brakes: 1-ton brakes
Tires/wheels: 15x39.5R17 Super Swamper TSLs on 17-inch Weld Racing Typhoon forged aluminum wheels
Interior: Restored bench seat and interior, B&M shifter, Grant steering wheel
Other Parts: Dual batteries, front and rear receiver hitches with wiring outlet for removable winch, custom 2x4-inch box steel tube rocker guards, 2x6-inch box steel tube corner guards, rear diff skid with built in driveshaft safety hoop, Ramsey 8,000-pound winch
Favorite Off-Road Area: Moab, Utah

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