What an “attitude change” for this ½ ton! It moved from a stock long bed fleetside to a nice custom short stepside ½ ton in about 3 months! The owner and responsible person for the work is John Toon of Sugar Creek, Missouri. As his first major truck transformation, we feel he has created a very different “breed of cat” in record time. It will be his daily driver and certainly a pickup to catch the attention of others.
While having a 1955 Volkswagen Beetle, his first fun car, he began to getting attracted to owning a late 1960’s Chevrolet pickup. So many car and truck magazines gave John ideas on what could be done with a limited budget if you do most of the work yourself.
Here is what happened between about mid-May and late August 2016. John found a 1967 long bed ½ ton fleetside in a local advertisement. This is because he gave up trying to find a 1967-72 Chevy short step bed (what he wanted the most) as they are the more difficult bed to find. He said “I will build my own short step bed! All I need is this long bed to start the project”! This driving white long bed pickup did not last long once John got it home. It was soon disassembled to the bare frame and his major makeover was underway.
Here are some surprises you find when you take apart 50 year old pickup:
1. The fenders and doors were previously repaired and needed to be replaced and the cab corners, rocker panels, and floors were repaired by John.
2. The frame assembly above the rear axle and under the bed was rusted so much a replacement would be required. To John’s surprise, the parts he needed were the same as far back as 1960! He then found a 1963 ½ ton chassis with no bed or cab. John ended up splicing the rear half of the 63 frame with the front of the 67 frame. The replacement included cutting 12” out of the middle and 8” off the rear. Once professionally welded the pickup had the correct 1967 short wheel base length. John says that all fit together perfectly!
3. Half ton long bed. The rust was major all around the bed edges, bed bottom, tailgate, and front bed panel. All was beyond use. John could care less! This problem only allowed him to negotiate a better price when it was bought. His plans were to install a new short step bed (all the parts are now available).
4. Radio Dash Opening. This area had been cut larger to install an aftermarket sound system years ago. No problem for John. He wanted an updated radio so a Pioneer unit fit perfectly.
5. Gas Tank. He removed the behind the seat tank and added one especially for the 1967-72 ½ ton under bed and behind the differential. Advantage: He now had the space to install the many speakers for this new sound system.
6. Paint. Here was a big surprise! The truck’s attractive appearance is from less than $60.00 in Rust-Oleum satin black paint purchased at a local hardware store. With a little thinning, it was sprayed to give this nice look John wanted.
7. The Mechanicals. Here is where John was lucky. The long bed ½ ton had a good running 327 V-8 engine, original 4 speed transmission, and 3.73 ratio ring and pinion in the differential. Extra expense was adding power steering and power brakes. Of course, the driveshaft, exhaust, brake line, and brake cables had to be shortened.
8. Glass. As John got deeper into this big project he decided to replace all the glass and eliminate scratches from the past 50 years. This was made official the day he broke the original windshield trying to install it back in the truck by himself. The new replacement was installed by a glass company!
Yes, what started to be a low cost transformation changed as the need for replacement parts increased. Even so, John Toon now has a short step bed he wanted and at so much less than buying one of the same design on the open market.
Even more amazing is that John, almost with no help, could make his creation in about 3 months.
More about John Toon’s Talents:
John has a metal and wood shop that allowed him to transform his 1967 pickup. However, there is another talent that he has developed over the past 10 years. His other big enjoyment has been the bass guitar. As his talents with this guitar became very advanced, he wanted a certain style of custom made bass guitar that he could not afford. The cost of these custom made guitars is very expensive.
Therefore, he started building his own and now offers them to the general public. This has been his second job for 10 years. He markets hand crafted custom guitars at a price most can afford. The quality of workmanship, the sound and feel of his guitars place this product up with those that advertise high quality.
A touch of John’s wood working talent is also shown in his “shift knob creation” on his rebuild 1/2 ton. It was made on his wood lathe and is oak with a black ebony center. Nice. Check John’s website for the best in bass guitars and about his 1967 step bed at: www.toonbass.webs.com
New bright work sets off the front
Nice Wheels. John painted the orange
All wood parts created in John’s shop
New power brakes
Completed dash and new carpet
Vinyl dye makes seat a new color!
Speakers in space when gas tank was removed
Last year for 1960-67 design armrest!
UNDER CONSTRUCTION – SUMMER 2016
Bare cab after new panels
Two frame rails welded together
Extra side plate on frame rails for safety after welding
The short frame completed after changeover to 1963 identical rear assembly
Under bed replacement gas tank
AS JOHN BOUGHT IT
The way John purchased this long bed
Looks good until you get close
Tinted plastic sunvisor “See thru” to lesson glaze
John’s Oak and Ebony shift knob
A bungee cord woven in the chain links
Bungee cord pulls all back in place
John’s new side boards (His creation). He can make them for you!
One little extra John decided he needed. To give him some additional clearance with the steering wheel, he shortened the steering shaft above the “rag joint” 3 inches. Not noticeable to most!