1966 Chevy Fleetside Shortbed
03 August 2007 Update
From Mark :
Hey y'all, Here's a recent pic of my 1966 Chevy Shortbed Fleetside (“Reggie Ray”).
Lots of progress made my since 2003:
• The original seat had a basketball-sized hole where the driver’s butt goes. Rather than keep stuffing an old towel in there, I found a 1987 Chevy truck seat at a local salvage yard and bought it for $150. Aside from minor bolt-hole modifications, it plugged right into place, and it’s a lot more comfortable than the old spring and cotton seat technology.
I first read about replacing the seat in Classic Trucks magazine. Eventually, I’ll re-upholster the seat with the interior.
• I added front and rear sway bar kits (from Classic Performance Products). Before that, the truck had the cornering and handling abilities of a wet sock. Now, it takes corners like a Ferrari!
• Along with the front sway bar kit came 3” dropped coil springs (also from Classic Performance Products). Although it doesn’t sit as low in the front as I’d like yet, it’s better than the way-up-in-the-air-farm-truck look that it used to have.
• I replaced the old, rusted out front fenders with reproduction fenders from LMC Truck. I had a local body shop paint them to match my “authentic desert patina.” I’m very pleased with the quality of the reproduction fenders.
• I removed the beat-up, ugly-a$$ old diamond-plate rear fender and added a rollpan from Mar-K Truck Parts. I still need to replace the tailgate trunnions and raise the rollpan about a half-inch, but I like the smooth look better than a bumper. I also gave the rollpan a “rattle-can” paint job -- to match my authentic desert patina.
• I removed the existing steelie wheels. I had ‘em sandblasted and spray-painted ‘em white. At a local used hubcap shop, I found some plain-Jane hubcaps that fit, and I painted those black. Then I got the wheels mounted with some cheapie, modern radial tires.
• Lots of small stuff (new door handles, pedals, mirrors, alternator, battery cables, spark plugs and wires, etc.).
Here’s what I’ve got planned:
• Installation of a No Limit Engineering fuel cell (double-baffled, aluminum replacement gas tank) under the bed. It freaks me out that I’ve got a gas tank in the cab with me, so that’s a pretty high priority. I’ll add a flush-mounted Cool Cap in the bed, and put a space-saver spare tire behind the seat (right now I don’t have a spare!).
• Installation of a front disc-brake / 2.5” dropped spindle kit in the front, from Early Classic Products. That will get the front end down a little more, as well as give me modern disc brakes (I’ve got drums all around right now). I like Early Classics kit, since it’s got a beefier rotor.
• Add new chrome American Racing or Cragar 5-spoke wheels (17”, probably, with wider wheels in the back).
• Add wider “tub” wheel-wells in the bed.
• Chop the top 2.5” in the back and 3” in the front. I’ve got a spare 1964 truck cab roof sitting in the yard, for the necessary patch-panels.
• Rebuild the bed. The original wood is all rotten now. Once the “tubs” are in place, I’ll have a local welding / fabrication shop rebuild the bed with 1/8” steel diamond-plate. Then I’ll hit the whole thing with a spray-in truck bed liner.
That’s about it (like that’s not enough).
I had originally planned on painting Reggie Ray black, but he gets so many looks and compliments with the existing patina and original Exxon logo, I’m going to keep him like that (although I’ll have the blue and red Exxon logo re-done). Besides, this way I don’t have to worry about his paint fading in the harsh desert sun!
Thanks a bunch!
Bolter # 5344
18 November 2004
From Mark :
Here are some pictures of my new '66! I'm out in Tucson, Arizona, and for at least seven years, I've been driving by this truck at a local gas station. Five years ago, I asked the station owner if it was for sale, and it wasn't. Then, two months ago it showed up on the corner with a FOR SALE sign on it.
I got right in there and spoke to him, but my wife and I didn't have the money then. Another month went by and one Monday morning my wife insisted (really!) that we come up with the cash and buy it. She said that she likes to see me happy. By that Saturday, it was mine for $2650.
It's got a 292 inline-6 (recently rebuilt). The wood bed is all rotted out (it had been in Denver for about 20 years, before it came to AZ in the 80's), but the metal is almost all straight and rust-free (there's a little rust in the front fenders).
My plans are to dump it 4-5 inches in the front, 3-4 inches in the back, straighten all the minor dings, and (here's the big project) CHOP THE TOP 3-4 inches!
My dad grew up back in the street rodder days and he's done that kind of body-work. I've always thought that a '66 Fleetside would look great with a chopped top and you don't see many chops on the street these days.
Eventually I'll swap the motor for a late-model 350, strip all the trim off, and paint it black primer with some cool wheels and slicks in the back.
Thanks for the web site! I look forward to being a member of this great truck community.
Bolter # 5344
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