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Old 08-23-2014, 12:29 AM   #1
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CustomCab66's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
Posts: 179
New to the forum avid truck enthusist


My name is Julio Morales and I am married and a father of three (two boys and one girl). Currently I am a police Officer by trade but I was a maintenance mechanic for almost 20 years. I have been turning wrenches with my father who was a collision work as far back as I can remember. I am a proud owner of a 1966 Chevrolet Truck SWB Custom Cab that I have owned for approximately eight years.

So one day I was driving up to visit my father when I saw a black mid 60's truck with a big back window for sale in front of an old auto parts store. I was currently working on a 1965 SWB with a 283/Powerglide (original) that was far from rust free. I telling you both the rocker panels needed to be replaced, the cab corners, and front floor pans needed replacement as well. I thought that Fred Flintstone could have used this truck just fine it had so much rust in the cab. What I really needed is a parts truck with a decent replacement cab for my 65. I have always wanted to locate a big window cab for a while but they were either to rusty or not for sale, or gold plated ($$$$$). I had to stop and check out this truck that had a for sale sign taped to the big back window. As it turns out the truck was a mostly complete and clean 66 SWB Custom Cab. It was the weekend and the parts store was closed so I made a point to go back to the parts store when they opened up on Monday. The seller said that he was asking 3,000 for the truck and explained what he had done to the truck. After a lot of negotiating with the Mrs. I took a day off of work and with the greenbacks in my hand I drove 120 miles back to the parts store to make the sale. So after the test drive and shelling out 3k for the truck the seller handed me the owners manual and Protecto-Plate still in the plastic pouch and the two original keys in a leather key holder ( it had the dealers name and phone number on it).
Now it was time to drive it back home burning one tank of gas and leaking three quarts of oil managed to make the trip in on piece.

The 66 came from the factory as a solid black truck (paint code 500) with the deluxe trim packages in the exterior and interior. The truck came original with the 235 inline six cylinder and a three speed on the column from Crabtree Chevrolet CO. in Glenrose, Texas. The license plate that was bolted onto the front bumper when I purchased the truck from the second owner dated back to 1975. The back bumper is a steel step bumper with Crabtree Chevrolet Co. stamped into it. The story is that the truck was stored in an old dusty barn by the original owner since 1975 preserving most of the truck original styling cues. I actually met the original owner who told me stories of the truck. I also just recently met the original salesman who worked at Crabtree Chevrolet Co that signed the owners protection plan book in 1966

This is all good right, the fact that the truck was intact and complete. On the other side of the spectrum the seller who only had it for about a year had removed the factory steering column (including the deluxe steering wheel) tossed in the dumpster and installed a tilt wheel column from a Chevrolet S-10 truck. During the steering column installation the seller butchered the wiring harness that feeds the column and terminated all the connections using butt splices.

The original wheels and hubcaps were discarded and replace with early K-5 Blazer six lug 15x8 wheels and larger tires. The seller said that he could not make the original 235 run so he opted to swap the original motor and transmission for a mid 70's 400 SBC and turbo 350 transmission combo ( pretty good idea, and it runs real strong). It gets worse. The seller said that he did not like the exterior body moldings on the truck so they were literally torn off the truck and toss in the dumpster. Over all the engine and transmission combo combined with the original rear differential with factory 3.73 axle ratio makes a real fast daily driver. The only thing the seller did that was beneficial was that he had the seat reupholstered.

Now it was time to undo the what the previous owner thought was a good idea. The steering column was removed and replaced with a factory Powerglide column from my 65 C-10 that I was parting out. I eventually found a cracked 66 deluxe steering wheel for the horn ring that was found under some leaves in the bed of the truck. I was amazed to find out that the factory am radio still worked and all of the original control knobs were still on the dash panel. Over all I would say the interior is the cleanest that I have ever seen for an original truck. The instrument cluster had the dummy lights so I cleaned up the gauge cluster from my donor 65 added a aftermarket tachometer and installed it into the my 66. I made the appropriate changes to the wiring harness and every thing looks factory ( yes I have since installed the correct 66 temp gauge). Other than changing the instrument cluster the dash is as it was in 1966.

The interior is the original medium fawn on the interior panels and the dash is the dark fawn as it was when it was new. The truck has the deluxe interior with the chrome accents on the control knobs, the passenger side sun visor and armrest, the ivory stripe on the door panel is factory and part of the deluxe interior. The installed deluxe heat and air (fresh air) operates flawlessly. Too bad the original seat has been reupholstered and the build sheet was tossed in the process.

As I mentioned earlier there sits a mean 400 SBC between the front fenders. The 400 is out fitted with a dual pattern Comp Cams Xtreme energy cam .477/.480, GM iron 3927186 fuelie heads (camel humps) with 2.02/160 valves. The air and fuel is mixed up and delivered by a 750 holly carburetor with vacuum secondary's through an Edelbrock Performer RPM manifold. The exhaust consist of black Hooker Headers blowing through dual 2 1/4 inch exhaust with flowmaster 40 series mufflers with chrome tips out back.

I did add a front sway bar from a 74 Chevrolet 3/4 ton and used all polyurethane bushings during the install. Other than that the suspension is current all stock. The Truck has the factory Auxiliary Spring Equipment package (RPO G60) on the rear that helps me haul medium to heavy loads in the bed of the truck without rubbing the tires up against the fender wells.

I intend on repainting the truck black and since I really like the way these truck look in two tone I decided to paint the top of the cab ivory like it could have came from the factory that way. Since the original drive train is history I would like to build the 66 as a resto-mod. Meaning that if I wanted to go back all original I could. I do not want any body modifications that were not available when it was new, but upgrading the brake system and changing the wheel bolt pattern from 6 lug to 5 lug is a must. It runs real fast but I really do not want to kill myself because I can't stop the truck. But all in good time and honestly time and money are the real set back when it comes completing the 66. Family and living expenses take priority with my daily life, mama just got a new van, and we are in the market for a new home so maybe I'll finish the truck before I die. Besides I currently work on my truck outside because I do not have a workshop or a garage so the house needs to be the next step. Thanks for reading my soapbox happy wrenching.
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