My first work truck as a tile setter was a 79 J-10 that I got from a neighbor in 1994. I had never seen one before that time but it turned out to be a sick truck. So 10 years later, I decided to build another one to use as a work truck and build it the way I wanted.
I always thought I could build a J-truck that looked sicker, sounded better & could out-haul any other pickup truck on the road, especially those 50 thousand dollar tin & plastic jobs that can be had from the dealer these days. I also enjoy camping & 4wheeling so the concept was a hybrid work / trail / all purpose rig.
I started out with a 72 J4000 with a dead sbc, a TH400 trans & Dana20 case. I tried to have some "buddies" build me a good sbc on the cheap but 2 motors later, many headaches I called up M&R Engines in SoCal & ordered up a custom spec'd 383 chevy with aluminum heads(I have now swapped out my 383 for a stock 350 sbc), roller rockers & Comp Cams Extreme 4x4 roller cam, outfitted it with an Edelbrock performer manifold, HEI distrib, Holley 650, new water pump, starter, Edelbrock fuel pump...etc... went with Headman elite ceramic headers, built a custom dual exhaust with V-band clamps (they don't leak ever), flex couplers, 2 1/4" pipe into 2 1/2" pipe with dual headman glass packs. A lot of different motor & exhaust configurations were tried before this one was settled on. I love this engine / exhaust setup, the power comes on real low & hard.
For running gear I ditched the TH400 / Dana20 in favor of a more fuel friendly 700r4 / NP241 combo. The trans was a craigslist find & amazingly lasted for 2 years even though I only bought it to mock up my trans & transfer case cross members. Once it went, I decided to get a real trans from TCI so I chose the Maximizer 4x4 deal that they sell for heavy duty applications. I rebuilt & did a slip yolk eliminator on the 241, got new 1 ton driveshafts front & rear, started with a Dana 60 but later upgraded to a full width 14 bolt with discs & donated the 60 to my Jeep CJ. 17" Pro Comp alloys with 37" E rated Toyo MT's. The front axle is a Dana 44 unit that I got out of a 74 J-20. 456 gears both, open diffs. My leaf packs are custom built units & for heavy loads I added the 5000lb air bags & Rancho RS9000 shocks both adjustable on the fly from in the cab with dedicated air compressors mounted in the chassis.
Then I yanked the truck bed & started building the ultimate flatbed (for my purposes at least). For me it was 6'6" by 8'10" all steel, fold down sides & tailgate, lumber rack, custom boxes mounted underneath, under mounted auxiliary fuel cell, & canvas tarp to cover my tools & materials. Many hours were spent on the design to make it look right & be functional but it turned out really nice.
For my interior, I like the old style so I've got the basic no frills necessities - coffee cup holders, basic Alpine system with I-pod, full assortment of gauges, trailer brake controller, Grant wheel, rebuilt bench seat with new foam & vinyl, sliding rear window & GPS unit hidden in a custom glove box enclosure.
Got a ticket for no mud flaps so I added some semi truck flaps. Much to my surprise they actually enhanced the character of the truck.
There has been a lot of time & pocket change thrown into this build to make a fully functional rig. This truck was designed to be used daily & to do its job without problems & it definitely handles that. I never bothered to paint the sheet metal because it would just get scratched up although I did chase down as many straight panels as I could find.
The end result is a truck that is fun to drive, can tow anything, haul anything you can fit in the bed & looks / sounds cool. The bed is high due to the lift of the truck, but with the fold down sides, it is by far easier to work out of than a truck bed with only a tailgate.
This truck pulls compliments, like all J-trucks only more - sometimes multiple comments per day. It is so different than anything on the road that most people just trip out.
Times have gotten extremely tough though, in this economy, so my wife & I have decided to put this truck up for sale even though if it sells I know we will always regret it.
The asking price is $9,750. To some that may seem high, but it can't be built for less than that parts alone. Fabrication hours are a whole nother story.