I bought the truck for $500 with no engine, trans, or tranny and the body consisted of beat, primered, and RUSTED metal (the price is a good indication of what shape it was in). The front of the frame was so thrashed and twisted that I cut 3/4 of it off and kept the back only. I then found a 70 GMC donor which I also took the "hot wrench" to and welded the two better halves of the frames together. They were both shortbed trucks but I went ahead and shortened the final product about 4 more inches for an easier fit on windy trails and off-roading(this gave me a wheelbase slightly shorter than a blazer would have). The driveshaft also had to be matched to the new measurement. The result of this whole ordeal was well worth the work and really pays off out in the woods.
After I had a solid frame to mount the body back on, I began the long and tedious chore of restoring the body. Rockers, cab supports, front left and right fenders, grille, radiator support... the list goes on. Nearly all body panels were scavenged from the 70 GMC while others had to be bought new. The bed is also from a 73-87 and to add to the anomaly of this beast, I bobbed the back, welded in a square structure, and had a canvas made up for it that serves as a tailgate. All the body work and getting things to look somewhat decent took about a year's worth of weekends. It was the toughest part of transforming my eyesore into a pretty clean rig.
Not in a rush to get a whole slew of new dents and scratches off-road, I next painted the truck with an industrial paint called "Magnet Paint" (this stuff is supposed to be on heavy equipment tractors, backhoes, bulldozers, etc.). Then came the bumper for the front, made out of 1/2 inch stock, and a hitch out back.
The rest of the build up was fairly easy and was the most fun for me. I salvaged a big block 409 out of a 1965 C-80 with a mere 40,000 miles on it! Sure, I only get 7MPG's but I can't complain when she's producing around 300hp and a stump pulling 400+ lbs of torque. The motor is basically stock with the exception of a Holley 650 on top (PN4777) and some playing with the distributor. Before this power reaches the ground, it travels through a SM465 tranny (granny 4-speed) and is then distributed to 3/4 axles via a NP205 transfer case. I made up some exhaust for the engine out of various bent 2.5 inch pipes leading to a set of glasspacks and 4.5 inch tractor trailor pipes sticking out the side (sounds pretty sweet).
Right now I've got 35inch Pro Comp X-terrains under a 5inch suspension lift and 3inch body. As always though, I'd like to go bigger in the near future. Well, I think that is the basic build up of my truck. I did all of the work myself and kept the cost under $3,500 with the purchase price included.
See you on the trails!