Truckzilla! 1973 Chevrolet C6500 Custom

Some bizarre project vehicles come up for sale *before* their builder’s engineering vision becomes reality. In the case of this 1973 Chevrolet C6500 custom in Farmington, Utah, however, that part is done. This interesting hybrid of commercial vehicle and dually pickup runs and drives! A slightly modified “big block,” presumably a Chevy 454, spins a five-speed manual transmission. The all-original drive train simplifies requests at the auto parts counter. Despite needing cosmetic work everywhere, the asking price of $6500 here on seems downright reasonable. Thanks to reader Cameron J. for this super-sized find.

Looking at this angle, I’d be tempted to use black or dark gray paint on the front fenders and step or otherwise rework them to maximize the pickup-truck disguise. The commercial fender-mounted turn signals definitely stay.

That “highway department orange” likely covered the entire vehicle in a prior lifetime. Maybe our truck experts can comment on whether the plethora of standard Chevy pickup parts on the Internet work in this jumbo cab.

The flip front will definitely draw a crowd at the car show. I’d make sure to check my oil in public places just for the wow factor. Decades ago I sometimes borrowed my Aunt’s F250 with an aftermarket hydraulic dump kit on the standard fleetside bed. You had to raise the bed to fill the tank, and I felt like a true ranch hand at the gas station, collecting nods of approval from the fellas, and phone numbers from the admiring women-folk. OK that last part never panned out, but I felt like it might have worked given time. This flip-front Chevy might do the trick too.

A mid-’70s Rat motor is no fire-breathing dragon, but the sky’s the limit on horsepower with these brutes. Apply cash until smile appears. Modern versions of this custom usually pack four doors and two seats, which might have been a better use of fabrication labor than extending the bed, but who am I to judge? Compliment the builders on making it work so the buyer can simply do the rest their way. How would you finish this beast?

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  1. local_sheriff

    Definately has ultimate cowboy Cadillac potential

  2. Hoos Hoos Member

    Someone did this locally in Pa., too. The donor commercial truck was a u-haul cab & chassis with the body removed. I think that is where this truck came from as well. U-haul used gas motors in this era of vehicle, and the paint color looks about right. I think the highway department probably used diesels.

  3. Poppapork

    Who else would love to see this with a 2 stroke diesel??
    I think a lift gate/ tommy gate wouls help too as it sits quite high for a 2wd vehicle

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      GM didn’t offer a diesel in this version until around ’79 or ’80, and then it was that 8.3 Detroit, which was boat anchor supreme at best. About the only thing it was good for was killing mosquitos. The Bruin/Brigadier ran 2-Strokes from 6V-53 to 8V-71. When this truck was on the market the 9500 was still in production, and it had a 6-71 or 8V-71. They did OK. Truthfully, I’d just keep the rat motor…

    • Jwinters

      liftgates are made to a specific bed height range, a tommy gate on this pickup would not work. it wouldnt reach to the ground as it wouldn’t have enough travel. you would have to go with a rail gate but those don’t fit on pickup beds, only flatbeds or van bodies.

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    That’s all Big Truck on top of the engine although I can’t see the carb all that well. It should have a Holley but that doesn’t look like a Holley to me. I’m thinking 366 engine; possibly a 427. GM offered a high-deck 454 in ’79 but there were numerous problems with pistons collapsing so they went right back to the 427. I wouldn’t have bothered with headers; just a set of cast manifolds with dual exhaust. Probably a 285 Clark transmission, or maybe a 282 (short 4th). If that’s a 427 it should be a 385/382. Looks like a 17,500 rear axle so I’m going back to the 366/285 combo. The cabs on those are pretty much the same as the cabs on the light duty trucks. Of course there were accessories, such as a vacuum gauge, that applied to the large trucks. But all the main stuff was interchangeable. Looking at the ad I’d much rather have that ’37 Ford pickup that’s in one of the pictures…

    • Mike

      I was thinking “tall deck” 366 or 427 too. We had a couple C-65s as farm trucks when I was a kid. 4/2-5/2 trans and rear ends with 5 something axle ratios. They weren’t fast to say the least but they weren’t meant to be. They always got the job done and done well. I’d hate to admit how overloaded we ran lol!

  5. mpower

    I’ve been thinking about building something like this, but possibly using a suburban body and a modern diesel.

  6. Howard A Member

    This seemed to be a short lived, bigger must be better era of the “ultimate pickup”. For a spell, it seemed these medium duty trucks with pickup beds would be the answer. It was a poor choice for a pickup. You want to run around all day in a bobtail single axle semi tractor,( that looks like an old county dump truck) have at it. I couldn’t think of a more PITA vehicle to drive around.

    • Joseph Defelice

      Add spring suspension to the mix too. Only question will be what you look for first… teeth or kidneys?

  7. Chris H

    Look, this is a worn municipalality vehicle with a dually bed slapped on it. The body contours match surprising well, but that’s about it. Not even sure what motor that is, bur a close look in that area says it all. They were almost done building a zombie Frankenstein. Anybody really wanna buy this???

  8. Hans

    This guy essentially custom builds these –

    Saw one of his builds at SEMA a few year ago. Very high quality conversions!

  9. Comet

    My vote is for a 60 series Detroit transplant. Having worked on 6,8,and 12,V Detroits, and 71 inlines, the “new” 60 series were in a catagory of their own. It’s hard to believe the’ve been around for 25+ years.
    Hans, thanks for providing the link to rtechfabrications. This truck looks to be cobbled together. Thr rtechfabrication folks look like a major league outfit.

  10. xrotaryguy

    What! No dump bed? ;)

  11. John Member

    Had 6V53’s in Oshkosh 8 yr. concrete trucks, could hardly pull the MT truck around let alone when it was loaded, shift-shift and leaked like a sieve. Then got the 6V71’s better.

  12. Claudio

    You can get a used mint f150 for this price and simply drive it , no f ing around , no fixing the previous monkey’s rifraf …seriously , why suffer , injection , 6 or 8 speed tranny , daydreaming is cheap, repairing, finishing and maintaining an old franken truck is not …

  13. Del

    Looks like a great boat anchor for Oleg Dirpaska’s yacht. You remember him ?
    The Russian Oligarch that has the mortgages on some country’s president’s properties ?

  14. Harry

    Leave it for someone who needs it; someone with a wrecked or rusted C30. It would be a badass tow rig, but it would go through gas like Sherman thru Atlanta. Me? Nope.

  15. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    There was one identical to this near me in Columbia, Tennessee for sale in someone’s yard. I never pulled over to look it over, despite the fact it sat there for over 8 years without a buyer!

  16. Eigil

    Geomechs’s comments are great! He could easily be an article writer for this forum.. Witty and factual!

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Thanks Eigil. I love to write and visit, and even throw in a bit of satire. Working as a mechanic for the better part of 50 years, it’s a great opportunity to share with others. I’ve made a lot of good friends on this site and look forward to more chats.

  17. Mike

    I was thinking “tall deck” 366 or 427 too. We had a couple C-65s as farm trucks when I was a kid. 4/2-5/2 trans and rear ends with 5 something axle ratios. They weren’t fast to say the least but they weren’t meant to be. They always got the job done and done well. I’d hate to admit how overloaded we ran lol!

  18. Kelly Dellinger

    Chrome the steps and rims, nice paint job, loose the mickey mouse ears turn signals and mail slot rear window ( needs a full sized window) then drive the crap out of it.

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