Owner: Edward Eckel
My truck began life as a 1972 3/4 ton Custom chassis cab with a 350, heavy-duty camper suspension and four on the floor. I purchased it new in November 1971, and by February 1972, I installed a camper body on it. It remained this way until 1995 when the camper body was no longer reliable, having developed some fatal leaks causing some structural weaknesses. It was no longer practical or economical to keep it as a camper. I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with it. I decided to put a bed on it and spruce it up a bit, keeping if for cruise night fun. It had already served us for over 120,000 miles as a camper and was deserving of a comfortable retirement. It has never spent one day in a garage and still stays outdoors but now under a very good car cover. The original plan was only for a paint job and to install a pickup bed.
As it always seem to happen, you can’t simply ‘spruce it up.’ Once you start, you need to go all the way and fix everything. It ran perfectly so I just added some polished trim to the engine, put in a cam, roller rockers, headers, MSD ignition and added an Edelbrock four-barrel carb. on a new Edelbrock manifold.
After locating all the parts to build a nice rust free bed since in New Jersey most are rusted away, things came together nicely. Since it was an 8 foot bed, new bed sides were unavailable so those came from Southern California. Last year with the help of a few good friends, the bed went on then this spring the last of the front end parts and the engine compartment were finished. I kept the original Hawaiian blue color but made it a more sporty two tone, adding the white cab top and in between the side moldings then added all the necessary trim to complete the look. The interior is partly original, part new. The dash was stripped and refinished but the rest of the interior paint is original. The seat, visors and door panels are original but the dash pad, carpeting and steering wheel are replaced. The old 16.5′ wheels were replaced with 16′ aluminum ones and the bed sports an oak natural wood floor with all the mounting hardware of polished stainless steel.
There are many more little things left to be done as time allows to make it even better but for now it looks good and drives well. The first trip to our local cruise night after it was finished I was awarded a trophy so I’m glad my hard work is appreciated by others more talented than myself.