In a world of TIG-welded chromoly, big-horsepower crate engines, and axles that cost more than a year of med school, it's sometimes invigorating to get a snap back to reality with a good old-fashion cab truck. A cab truck is defined as a fullsize truck frame outfitted with 1-ton or larger axles, a V-8 engine, and a small SUV or mini-truck cab. Seen mostly in the Southeast (but expanding its habitat internationally like kudzu), these Franken-trucks are born of ingenuity, rust, and a less-is-more attitude. In fact the cab truck was the original rock buggy. This happened when the body was pared down to the minimum requirements, making way for advances in off-road performance.
The cab truck is the kissing cousin to the original choppers of the two-wheel variety. Not the hundred-grand, fancy-paint, seen-on-TV choppers of today, but rather the strip-off-all-the-extra-junk, attach-just-what's-needed-and-maybe-a-trinket-or-two-for-good-luck-and-hit-the-road type of chopper.
The amazing specimen we have here was born in the woods of South Carolina, and like stereotypical two-wheeled chopper, this one is also captained by a big bearded bear of a man. Andrew Schaffer's Chopper is conglomeration of stuff he had lying about the shop to make his own mean machine, and we caught it running in the wet muddy trails of South Carolina.
Andrew Schaffer's cab truck, affectionately known as the Chopper, is based off a mixture of '83 Chevy S-10 Blazer and the frame of a half-ton Chevy truck. In fact only the front half of the frame is half-ton. The entire frame from the firewall back is S-10, and that made it easier to swap in the TBI 350 V-8 and a Dana 60 front axle.
Professional motorcycle race teams have beautiful women known as umbrella girls who hold umbrellas to protect the drivers from the sun as they sit along the starting line. Schaffer doesn't have an umbrella girl or a hood on his truck, but he does have an umbrella should it rain. Under that umbrella is a high-performance throttle body fuel-injected small-block Chevrolet V-8 engine, plus a bunch of wires, hoses, tubes, an old A/C unit, some lights for nighttime driving, and even an original radiator overflow bottle. Pretty cool, eh?
The steering box area of Chevy trucks is known for cracking, but that shouldn't be a concern with the Chopper's exclusive Universal Bent Ore Leveraging Tool, also known as a U-BOLT.
The interior of this machine is a mixture of exquisite barbarian-era design and futuristic utilitarianism, which mean he tore out everything he didn't need. Dash? Nope. Roll of electrical tape and shop towels? Yep. Wiring is made up of a lot of wire; the back is full of junk, trash, and spare parts; and the seats are covered in dirt, fine red dirt.
1983 Chevy S-10/1/2-ton
Engine: TBI 350 V-8
Transfer Case: NP205
Front Axle: Dana 60, Detroit locker, 5.13 gears
Rear Axle: Welded Eaton with 5.13 gears
Springs & Such: Leaf springs from a half-ton up front, S-10 out back
Tires & Wheels: 14/42-16.5 Super Swamper Iroks on recentered 16.5 HMMWV double beadlocks
Steering: Box with crossover
Other Stuff: Lots of style points.
No, this isn't an April Fools joke.