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1974 Chevy C20: Why Buy a New Truck When You Can Build Something Better?

Cummins-Swapped Square-Body Chevy

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

When we asked Blake van Brouwer what his motivation was for building this latest project, he simply replied, “Have you seen how much new trucks cost?!” Blake isn’t the kind of guy who calls someone to fix things when they break. He is a jack of all trades, and a master of quite a few of them. You don’t really have a choice when you work on a 32,000-acre ranch in the middle of nowhere. So when it came time for a new truck, Blake built his own from parts around the Big Canyon Ranch.

He started by looking for a 2WD long-bed crew-cab truck. The rationale was that a 2WD would not only be less expensive to purchase but also in better condition than most 4WD square-bodies. He found this creampuff in Reno, painted the top third of the truck, buffed the rest of the paint, and completed the entire build in just 73 days.

Blake wanted the truck to be period correct, and did an excellent job with all of the badging and even running Toyo M-55 tires that look like they are from the 1980s and don’t have all of the sidewall tread that is so common today. The skinny tires were mounted on factory steel wheels refinished by Marq Powdercoating and topped with factory hubcaps. Details like these aren’t particularly cheap—well, until you start comparing them to the price of a new truck!

Tech Specs

1974 Chevy C20 Camper Special
>Drivetrain
Engine: 12-valve Cummins 6BT
Transmission: NV4500 5-speed manual
Transfer Case: Divorced NP205
Front Axle: Dana 60 with 4.10 gears
Rear Axle: Corporate 14-bolt with 4.10 gears and G80 Gov-Lok
>Suspension
Springs & Such: Hybrid leaf springs and Rancho RS5000 shocks (front); factory leaf springs with shackle flip and RS5000 shocks (rear)
Tires & Wheels: 285/75R16 Toyo M-55 on factory 16x6 steel wheels
Steering: WFO Concepts crossover steering, factory steering box, 2 1/2-inch drop pitman arm
Lighting: Factory
Other Stuff: Stainless 3-inch exhaust, dual 20-gallon fuel tanks, Lokar shifter boots, BD Diesel fuel pin and governor springs