Bottom Feeder is at it again! Combing through Craigslist for that potentially cool ride that is really cheap that needs some big love, but still keeping the budget low. Here we suggest a cool body and find an ideal parts donor vehicle. Bottom feeder is all about cheap modern engine swaps into cool old bodies for an awesome street combination. The best way to keep the budget low is to get just the right parts car for your project. The goal is to get both vehicles for under $2000, less is better, of course.
This episode of Bottom Feeder has discovered these two gems that need each other:
The vehicle to rescue: 1960 Chevy C10 stepside with no engine for $1500. This is really the top end of Bottom Feeder territory, cost-wise, but this truck has the classic short-bed step side lines that are the most sought after body-style and have the best resale value. This one really takes you back to the early days of the Muscle Era. But in this condition, it’s missing the muscle part.
To get this good old truck kicking up some proper tire smoke, we found this perfect parts donor:
This poor beast has spent too many years near the beach and the body has major rust problems, but the 5.3L LS-based Vortec LM7 is still running strong. For your $500 investment, you get a Generation III GM LS small block that was factory rated between 270 and 295 hp and 315 to 335 ft-lbs of torque, depending on year and model. These numbers seem really close to the 60 Chevy’s original factory big power option 348 small block which was rated at 250 hp, but that was gross hp measured on a dyno with no water pump, or alternator, or power steering pump. This LM7’s 250-295 hp is what is available at the tires in stock form with everything installed. Every performance upgrade under the sun is available for this LS based, iron block, truck motor, so this build is really limited only by your imagination and budget.
Having a parts car means you get the correct wiring harness and ECM and modern 4L60E overdrive transmission and trans controller.
If you are feeling froggy, you could do a 4×4 conversion and use the Silverado’s 4L60E 4×4 transmission, transfer case, and 6-lug axles and end up with a bonus of with 4-wheel disc brakes . If you don’t want to mess with the extra complication of a 4×4 conversion, selling the trans, t-case, axles, and wheels would easily bring in enough money to pay for the $500 donor truck, and/or could potentially pay for a good 2wd transmission.
I would also use the seat from the Silverado for added comfort, if it’s not too torn up or worn out.
As always, save good parts to sell on craigslist to recover expenses and then the scrap metal yard will be glad to give you another $50-$100 for the carcass after you get everything you want off the donor and cut it up with a sawzall.
See you on the road!
pictures from original craigslist postings