1987 GMC Truck: Need A Bigger Gun Rack?


I have to give this guy kudos for doing something different. I don’t know much about the GMC Topkick or Kodiak medium-duty trucks, but to me it looks like this owner created one for himself, in pickup configuration. He started with a C70 truck, which is apparently the lighter of GM’s heavy duty chassis trucks, rated at 2-½ tons, shortened the frame and driveshaft, and installed a bed from a regular dually pickup.


It still has the heavy-truck clamshell hood, and obviously the frame and suspension. It’s driven by a gasoline powered big block Chevy of 366 cubic inches, with factory installed Holley carburetor and headers. The 366 is a six litre engine originally found only in these medium-duty trucks. It was designed from the beginning as strictly a truck engine, with a cubic inch displacement that isn’t huge, but with a tall deck, long stroke, and four piston rings per cylinder. The seller says it’s equipped with a five-speed transmission and a two-speed rear end.


The odometer shows 159,000, which I would suspect for this type of engine means that it’s barely broken-in.


The interior shots look good, and it seems to be outfitted similarly to a regular C-series passenger truck. It looks to be in good condition, and the seller says it has new door panels and other nice parts inside.


With the bed and tailgate this high off the ground, using it as a normal pickup truck might be a challenge.


On the other hand, depending on what was being loaded in and out of it, this height could actually prove to be an advantage.


Can you imagine it with a camper shell and fishing poles hanging out of the back? Or how about as a car hauler? The trailer hitch extension would be quite a contraption I’m sure, but I’d probably never over-match this truck’s towing capacity while bringing any of my junk home. Whatever the possible uses for it might be, it gets my vote as something fun and unusual. Guaranteed to turn heads wherever it goes. What do you think you could use it for? Find it here on craigslist in Nixa, Missouri for $6500.


  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Holy cow, I admit it, I LOVE this truck! I’d have to put “Tonka” decals on it, though!

    • David C

      I like the idea of the Tonka decals!

  2. redwagon

    clever, i’ll give ’em that. it would be the talk of any small town gear head gathering. has stance, has presence, just needs a set of cujones hanging from the hitch. ha!

  3. Cassidy

    It doesn’t need a bumper either, not with that huge 3rd member! All it needs is a sticker saying “smile as you go under”

  4. Phil

    Here’s a longer version I had coveted powered by an 8.2L GM diesel.
    The seller had built it for his wife to haul horses around.

    • Eric

      That’s a nice rig

  5. Dave

    It would look good with railroad cow catcher on the front.

  6. john

    …could be the beginning of a lot of things.. but IMO the pickup bed has little value & is out of place on this truck. It would be better equipt w/ side boxes & hydraulic tank(s) It looks like an old telephone line truck. The wheelbase fits that as well as a bucket truck. Outriggers would have been installed in back of the rear wheels.

    • Eddie

      Without the bed it would be like all others. It was a concrete form truck 24′ X 8′ all steel flatbed

  7. Donnie

    wonder what happened to the rest of the 1959 chevy above his garage door /ran over it

    • Nemosfate

      That was the first thing I noticed and wondered myself.

  8. Chebby Staff

    Clifford the Big Red Truck

  9. piper62j

    These pics are of my contractors toy… Very creative

    • troy

      your paying him too much! lol

  10. piper62j

    Check out the back windows

    • Roger

      Surprised no one has noticed the handicapped tag on this beast lol! DE he become handcapped by missing a step on the ladder getting out of the truck?

  11. JW

    I love creations like this if well done which this one is close. Paint it yellow with black trim and put those TONKA stickers on both doors and the tailgate then I’ll buy it.

  12. jim s

    i wonder why the seller did not finish the project, still needs rear brakes lines/hoses. that exhaust needs fixed also. i would put a rear bumper with tow hitch on it which would make truck more useful. put a snowplow on the front. would need a PI on the conversion to make sure it was done right. nice big old truck. great find.

  13. ydnar

    It sure beats the IH model for 125K. Too bad it’s not a Ford.

  14. grant

    Well, it needs a rear bumper with underride bars first off. This is a safety issue, for other motorists more than anything else. Depending on local laws, the ride height may not be legal even with under ride bars. This is a pet peeve of mine, and it demonstrates perfectly what I call Grant’s Law. Grant’s Law states that a person’s IQ score will decrease in direct proportion to the ride height increase of his pickup truck over stock, and an additional 50 points are deducted for mud tires on the highway. All tongue in cheek, of course; but honestly….

    • Mark S

      If it is a topkick or a Kodak then this is the stock height all he’s done is mount a one ton flared fender truck box on it. He even did a good job lining it up to the stock C cab that these trucks used. With a proper bumper I fail to see what the problem would be legally speaking. I don’t think it is illegal to install a truck box on a Topkick.

      • DW

        Good point. If you cover up the box and just look at the front end this could be any old delivery truck. Looks pretty stock.

      • More cylinders please

        I believe you are correct. Under ride bars are for trucks with axles much further forward the rear of the tailgate.

  15. Ed P

    While I was looking at the pictures, I swear that Tim Allen was grunting in the background.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Ed, HA! The “Binford 9000” pickup truck. Just a classic American icon, if this is good, more must be better. I think this all started with the Hummer, and evolved from there. I guess if you actually used it to pull something, but most just cruise around the county courthouse with these.

  16. Glen

    Great for hauling a 5th wheel trailer.

  17. Kurt Spengler

    I often wonder why folks haven’t figured this trick long ago..Commercial trucks are often found cheaper than 1/2 ton pickups and if you’re looking to do a body lift, the sheetmetal need not be butchered to get those 35 to 40″ monster mudders under the wheelwells! Nice truck!

    • grant

      In re: monster mudders…. see “Grant’s Law “, above…

  18. Gary I

    I have a 1970 c-50 dump truck I use daily. When it gets retired from duty I would love to do something like this with it. Very cool truck!

  19. DW

    Well, I gotta admit, I mock guys with jacked up trucks and I’m not sure I would be happy with all the ‘short man’ and ‘somebody’s compensating for something’ jokes that it would provoke, but it IS pretty cool truck. Would love to finish it and paint it something wild – maybe fluorescent yellow like the firetrucks?

  20. grant

    And hey guys, the automatic email notifications SUCK. Very irritating. If I want them I’ll ask for them… just my two cents.

    • Chebby Staff

      Jesse and crew:

      I am unable manage my subscription and turn them off, the page it takes me to is blank where the link is supposed to be. I just get a “>”

      • grant

        What Chebby said….

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I guess we can’t please everyone. We had some requests to have the notifications turned on by default so we did. Now it looks likes it’s irritating some people. As far as the manage page being messed up, the guy who created the plugin we use updated it and it still has some bugs he is working out. I’ll turn the notifications back off and will try to get that page fixed.

      • Charles

        Thanks Jesse!

      • john


      • grant

        Thanks, Jesse. Honestly, I love your site and check it multiple times a day anyway. Happy hunting.

  21. gcsprayjr

    The C-70 is the heavier version of these trucks.

    We have seen a Ford done very similar to this several times in Vila Ricca GA just west of Atlanta. A woman drives it and has a car seat for a baby in the middle. If I had one, I would want a crew cab. This would be good for towing a large trailer, however the bed height is so high it would be difficult to tow a 5th wheel or a goose neck. When we bought our F-350 Crewcab with dual wheels an 4×4 the stock ride height was too high for our Holiday Rambler 36 foot 5th wheel. I swapped the drop axles for straight axles which lifted the trailer four inches making it the correct height for a stock F-350 4×4. One could imagine how high one’s camper would have to be to fit this truck.

    • Jim

      You can have dropped receiver hitches built, they aren’t off the shelf items. I worked at an International Truck dealer here in NY and we used to build them for NYC and DOT trucks. The key is grabbing enough frame rail to spread the load cause you’re pulling on it at an exaggerated angle. An engineer the city hired gave us the basic sketch and materials list then inspected each one on completion. They were rated for 15,000lb and had a twenty inch drop. Never had a failure. I loved it cause I was working with new steel and new trucks, a big difference from repairing, lengthening and shortening nasty old, crusty, greasy chassis, sometimes you spent as long pressure washing, scraping and grinding to prepare them as you did performing the mods. A good chassis man/welder should be able to put one together.

  22. Ronniecarlo

    I love it!!!I mean the look. I had the misfortune of having to drive a Top-kick roll-back wrecker in traffic laden N.Houston and it was a dog.Thus WS was I believe a Hazing ritual with that tow company. It paid off when I proved my worth and got a new International DT.But that truck way cool.The school bus boat anchor under the hood.. Not so much..

  23. MountainMan

    Grant….city boys will never understand big trucks!! hah…JK

    always like builds like this. There are a few companies that specialize in these builds. Yeah, not the most useful truck bed but gotta admit, very cool idea and a head turner for sure. Most of us would never need more truck than this, thats for sure

    • grant

      Lol I don’t know if I can call myself a city boy. I like trucks, just don’t get putting a dirt rig on the road. But that’s just me….

  24. Jim

    I worked on my share if these in the 70’s-80’s, with regular maintenance and keeping the revs where they belong these 366 engines will go 200-250k with maybe timing chain and gear swap, cam and lifters. These things can pull, lots of torque. The 427 tall deck version us what a lot of guys use for drag racing, thick cylinder walls and beefy bottom end. If you get the right springs in the truck it isn’t a bad ride. You guys are right, it needs bumpers or under ride bars to meet the 30″ ICC and most states motor vehicle laws, lower is better personally. Cool looking truck

  25. Kevin

    Nice that the pick up bed lines up with the body lines. Looks like it was there the whole time.

  26. Mike D

    nobody is saying this may have been a former fire truck ( tanker? ) at first I wasn’t too crazy about it, but the more I look at it …

  27. Alan

    A friend of mine used to build these at his company in Bluffton Indiana. They were mostly used to haul campers and hot shot loads for delivery. Since they looked like a pickup most of the time you were able to zip on by the weigh stations….

  28. Kurt S

    35 years ago I had the chance to pick up a late 40’s early 50’s White single axle truck..The thing had a front clip that resembled a late 30’s Packard..I thought then it would make a fun 4×4..The fenders were big enough to accept 35″ tires without making it sky high..Grant,I live in the suburbs where Bigfoot was born so I know why many don’t like lifted trucks on the highways.like I stated earlier, I’m not fond of butchering the stock sheetmetal just to get the tires to clear This TopKick style could be made with 4×4 axles and 35 to 40’s to sit lower than it does easily..

  29. Jim

    You’re right, by remounting or changing the spring hangars and getting a spring without 10 leaves you could drop it down. Plenty of military and govt vehicles were 4×6, those axles and transfer cases are available to change over.

  30. Eddie

    I don’t know why everybody’s worried about this red gmc setting to high or needs a rear bumper I don’t se anybody lowering a 2 ton dump truck or putting a rear bumper on them. Just saying

    • Dave Wright

      ICC bars have been a federal requirement for several decades now. Look closer, they are there………to prevent people from running up underneath the truck from the rear. ………..Just Saying………

      • Charles

        My 2002 F-350 has ICC bars as factory standard equipment. All of the F250’s and up have them, starting around 1999. They are made out of thick walled heavy duty 2 inch square steel tubing and are hidden behind the air dam under the bumper. I agree that any vehicle capable of running over the top of a passenger car should have them. This C-70 may be exempt due to age, however all trucks should be retrofitted with them.

    • Jim

      Can you spell Decapitated? Especially with some cars getting smaller and lower. At a red light 3yrs ago a Smart car rear ended my 99 Tahoe doing about 25 or so while he was texting, the car turned to crap. I think what prevented worse injuries was I had towed a trailer for a friend an hour before and had the dropped 6″ tow ball still in the reciever hitch.
      All interstate commercial veh must have rear underride bars or bumpers within 30″ if the ground, these days 30″ isn’t low enough I feel. Also most states have laws governing the bumper requirements of passenger car and light trucks, rarely are they enforced but could be at a traffic stop.

  31. Dave Wright

    All of my old semis and trailers had to be retrofitted. It was part of the federal code starting in the 60’s I think………..

    • Charles

      Maybe the code goes back farther in time for commercial vehicles?

      • Dave Wright

        You are probably right……I don’t think you could convince the DOT that this was not a commercial vehicle.

      • Charles

        In NC it depends on how you license the vehicle if it is considered commercial or not. Most trucks from pickups on up have what is called a weighted tag, which just means the amount of weight it one pays the state to be allowed to carry in the truck. Of course if one exceeds the GVWR on the truck, one can be fined even if the tag says that it can weigh more. Some friends of ours use a former KW road tractor to tow their 40 foot 5th wheel camper. The rig is licensed as an RV, even though the first years of this truck’s life it was a commercial rig. The only problem with running a weighted tag is that one can’t tell without looking at the registration if the vehicle is commercial or personal. On my F-350 it has a stated weight, but I pay extra to run a plate with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on it, so technically I run a car tag on a truck with the state’s permission. We often tow an enclosed 24 foot race car trailer that we haul one of two old Trans AM’s to shows. The truck has always been classified as personal and the trailer as an RV. When I ran a weighted tag the DOT would sometimes stop me and give me the inspection. They never found any infractions. Once they made me go to a scale and weighed each axle, only to realize when the looked at the registration that it was a personal vehicle. I told them thanks for the free weight. I am not running overweight either. I think they were bored, or trying to show off for their bosses. Once I changed the truck to the car plate, they have left me alone, because they have zero jurisdiction over a private vehicle. They never bothered us when I was towing the camper or the boat. If someone bought this C-70 to tow an RV, in our state they could license it as a personal vehicle. DOT couldn’t touch them. Of course the highway patrol could.

  32. Dave Wright

    The highway patrol is obligated to enforce DOT laws and these days inspection stations are maned by state employees, not Feds. The GVW is set by the manufacturer and assigned to the truck when built. Most states regulate trucks by GVW……anything over the GVW stated at the scales has to go over the scales except recreational vehicles no matter how they are licensed. There is a grey area where RV’s are concerned but by the Highway Patrol……if a large truck is licensed as an RV it can not be driven without towing an appropriate recreational trailer. You can not even tow a car trailer with it. I had all these conversations when I lost my medical years ago. There recommendation was to get a cab and vin from a light duty truck and beef it up to make a heavier towing vehicle. Off course, you are still limited to 26,000 GVW without a class 1 licence.

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