Should I Recab My Frankentruck?

Should I put an original ’72 cab back on my pieced-together 1972 work truck? That’s the question we’ve been kicking around the ACC office this past week.

About two years ago, I bought a 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super 4×4. I was house shopping at the time. Since I grew up in a family that always had trucks around for hauling yard debris, picking up new appliances, and for serving as mobile work benches, I wasn’t about to jump into home ownership without a good utility rig.

A beater was perfect, I figured, as I could use it without worrying about chips or dings. And a friend of mine just so happened to have a non-rusty and well-optioned orange Chevy 4×4 for sale. $3,000 later, my new rig was in my new driveway.

Like most car guys, I can’t leave well enough alone. I know this. My wife knows this. So the “beater” idea was short lived. The truck has been an ongoing restoration project of mine, starting with an engine rebuild, a new Eaton posi unit, all new brakes and wheel bearings, cab seals, etc. It’s dead reliable now. But after spending some time knee-deep in the project, some interesting questions came up.

First, the glovebox calls out the truck as being orange with a black top. But when I got it, it was orange with a white top and lower stripe. The truck is titled as a 1972, and the VIN on the cab and the chassis support this. But the cab doesn’t have the 1972-only windshield-mounted rear-view mirror or the later cable throttle. 1972 Super door panels are unique—mine are 1970 and 1971 style. And the cab has a disconnected a/c unit that isn’t listed on the build sheet. Finally, when I pulled off the tailgate trim band, I was surprised to see “GMC” stamped into the tailgate rather than “Chevrolet.”

So what I suspect is that someone in the past took a non-rusty 1970 GMC body (from Idaho, according to the dealer tag on the cowl) and swapped it onto my 1972 Chevrolet chassis, which probably had a Swiss cheese cab. The glovebox door, gauges, grille, and VIN also migrated to the new body—so at least I know it was a factory K10 Super with a tach and a 350. The only things it gained were a/c and a side-mounted bed toolbox, both of which are probably pluses.

I’ve already painted the front fenders, hood, and driver’s door in 1972-appropriate orange with white. This will always be a Frankentruck. But even so, with the market now booming on trucks of this vintage, is there a good reason to try to find a solid ’72 cab before I go any further with the bodywork or interior resto? Let me know what you think in the comments below.


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