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Clean & Black – A 1967 Chevy C20 Undergoes a Modern 4x4 Conversion

Posted in Features on March 12, 2016
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When Jim Anderson set out to pick his next truck, it would have been easy to choose something off the dealer lot to pull his toy hauler. However, he wanted something a little different for his weekend jaunts to the dunes. Growing up in Illinois, he saw many a fine truck succumb to the ravages of the wet winters there, and older trucks were a rarity on the roads. When he moved to Arizona, he had a new chance to own a vintage pickup that he could drive year round.

Shortly after purchasing a nicely built 1967 2WD Chevy pickup, he delivered the project candidate to Lamb Fab in Gilbert, Arizona. There they undertook the task of converting this truck to one that could make use of the transfer case they added along with a modern engine and transmission combination. In the end, there was a fuel-injected GM Vortec 454ci V-8 powering this newly converted 4WD sitting on 1-ton axles.

With power and drivetrain hardware covered, Lamb Fab turned to adding comfort and other amenities to this restified pickup. The exterior was coated a classy satin black, and the interior treated with a custom bench seat, dash, gauges, and other creature comforts.

Now the truck is used regularly to get Jim and his desert toys out into the dirt. He can use it to confidently pull his toy hauler across both pavement and sand.

To take this truck from a 4x2 to a 4x4, a king-pin version Dana 60 front axle was pulled into place and hung from a set of custom 52-inch-long Alcan springs. The original GM 2WD Saginaw power steering box was retained with the steering converted to crossover style. A Parts Mike hi-steer arm was bolted to the passenger side knuckle, and 1-ton tie-rod ends were used on both the custom tie rod and draglink. Axle gearing is 4.10:1 and a Detroit locker spins the front axleshafts.

The shackles for the front springs were hung through the framerails, and the forward end of the leaf packs bolted to DIY4X hangers welded under the framerails. Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks with factory-style bushings are used at all four corners to steady the ride on this 4WD tow rig running 35-inch Toyo tires.

In the rear, a GM Corporate 14-bolt axle was used for beefy towing capability. The heavy-duty axle with 4.10 gearing sits under a set of leaf packs from a 2005 GM Duramax 2500HD and iron lift blocks. The factory spring hanger brackets were salvaged from the newer truck and modified slightly before being welded onto the 1967 truck. To help propel this pickup and toy hauler to its destination, Lamb Fab mounted a 40-gallon Suburban gas tank at the tail of the truck.

Under the hood lies a GM Vortec 454 from a 1999 K3500 truck, and it was augmented with JBA headers. The framerails had to be opened up just a bit to clear the headers on the wide engine in the vintage frame, and an engine mount cradle fabricated. A simple intake tract was constructed and capped with an open element filter. The factory injection remains stock to the donor engine and was transplanted using a harness from Howell Engine Developments.

Behind the big-block engine is a 4L80E automatic transmission and a passenger-drop NP241 transfer case from a 1991 solid-axle K3500 truck. The transmission tunnel had to be raised near the bellhousing end to accommodate the new automatic. Exhaust consists of dual Magnaflow mufflers combined with 2.5-inch tubes.

The interior was kept just as clean as the exterior with a simple, yet stylish, bench seat. Steel interior door panels were used from a GM work truck and much of the hidden cab sheetmetal was covered in Dynamat to deaden interior noise. Transfer case shifting duties are handled by a shifter that was salvaged from a Chevy Blazer. Lamb Fab cut it up, reversed it, and combined it with custom arms and linkage to mate to the NP241.

Jim wanted to update the dash in the truck and get rid of the OEM gauges. Lamb Fab used a steel glove box door to fabricate a new dash to house six Autometer Sport Comp gauges. In addition, a group of discreet LEDs was installed in the dashplate for turn signal and high-beam indicators, check-engine light, and parking brake indicator. The end result looks great. Jim also added Vintage Air air conditioning to the updated interior.

Keeping with the theme of a retro truck with modern technology, Jim added LMC high-performance headlights to improve illumination yet not detract from the overall vintage feel of the truck. One custom touch that the casual GM fan might overlook is the missing bowtie emblem that was shaved from the OEM grille to further add to the clean look.

The primary purpose for Jim's truck is towing his toy hauler and getting it across the sand where he camps. Jim's goal was to have a purposeful truck with modern drivability and an old-school vibe. It looks good to us.

AT A GLANCE
GENERAL
Vehicle: 1967 Chevy pickup
Owner: Jim Anderson
Stomping Grounds: Imperial Sand Dunes
DRIVETRAIN
Engine: GM Vortec 454ci V-8
Transmission: 4L80E
Transfer case: NP241, custom shifter
Low range ratio: 2.72:1
Crawl ratio: 27.7:1
Front axle/differential: King-pin Dana 60, 4.10 gears, Detroit locker, 1-ton brakes, Superwinch hubs
Rear axle/differential: Full-float GM 14-Bolt, 4.10 gears, open carrier
SUSPENSION
Front: Alcan 52-inch leaf springs, Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks
Rear: GM Duramax 2500HD leaf springs, Fox 2.0 reservoir shocks
Steering: Ididit tilt column, Stock 2WD Saginaw power steering box, crossover steering
TIRES/WHEELS
Tires: 35x12.50R20LT Toyo Open Country M/T
Wheels: 20x9 Diamo 8 Carat
MISCELLANEOUS
Interior: Custom dash panel, Autometer gauges, custom upholstered bench seat
Cool stuff: Satin black paint, 40-gallon Suburban gas tank

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