Most of the '67-'72 Chevys you see in our magazine have been torn apart, mangled, modified, and mangled again. Very few resemble their stock appearance. But every now and then we run across one that is totally restored to almost-original condition, yet is functional as a daily driver and weekend wheeler. One example is the very cherry Chevy Cheyenne you see here. Jesse Walker of Pleasant Grove, Utah, originally bought the truck as a hobby project, but a flattened cam in his work truck turned the old Cheyenne into his daily driver. This inhibited Jesse from letting the truck have any serious downtime, resulting in an extended four-year process to bring the truck to its current condition. By the look of this truck, it was worth the wait. We asked Jesse what it takes to bring a truck like this back to new condition, and his answer was, "Plan on spending a lot of time, money, and research, and also have a lot of beer on hand, because you're going to need help from your friends."
The original engine was discarded for a 396ci big-block built by Marty Keetch. The engine sports a Comp cam, Erson roller rockers, and an Edelbrock carb and manifold package. It breathes through a set of Hooker headers connected to a Flowmaster muffler. The power is driven through a rebuilt TH350 connected to an NP205 transfer case that turns the 31/44-ton axles. The overall setup provided for a good reserve of power mixed with reliability.
Up front, a 4-inch lift elevates the truck to make room for 35x12.50x16.5 Thornbirds on Eagle wheels, while Rancho 5000s dampen the ride. A sway bar from a '76 GMC keeps the vehicle steady through the turns. In the rear, a homemade traction-bar setup was designed and fabbed by Walker to help keep the healthy motor from twisting the 14-bolt rearend. The 14-bolt was swapped from a 31/44-ton GMC and is filled with a limited slip and 4.10 gears. It complements the front Dana 44 with the same package. A 31-gallon fuel tank in the back of the truck was borrowed from an '86 K5 Blazer.
The interior was restored using a mix of stock and aftermarket parts. Bucket seats from Quality Manufacturing were added for better ergonomics and to gain a middle console. A mix of Auto Meter and stock gauges sits in the dash behind a steering wheel from a '76 Camaro. What stands out most in the interior is the custom-made dash. Jesse formed this at home using a steel frame with fiberglass around it to house three Auto Meter gauges. Jesse has been complimented and asked so many questions on it that he is thinking of producing it for other people to buy.