It’s no secret that Chevrolet builds some of the most celebrated pickups on the planet. From the Advance Design era forward, every generation has found a solid following and, eventually, a firm footing in the collector world. We’ve featured plenty of sleek ground-pounding bowties but this high-riding 1972 Chevrolet K20 is in a class by itself. The subject of a frame off restoration, the final product is a truck that will turn heads absolutely everywhere it goes without sacrificing its blue collar identity. Featuring a period correct 350ci V8, SM456 4-speed manual transmission, sky-scraping stance, and body work worthy of any show field, this is a pickup worthy of any Chevrolet fan’s attention. If you’re ready for a truck that hasn’t forgotten how to be a truck, give this K20 a closer look.
As far as styling goes, few vehicles have aged better than GM’s late sixties and early seventies fleet. This K20 is no exception. Toeing the line between sturdy and refined, the ’67-’72 C/K is arguably the best looking build to date. This fleet side long bed makes the best of its extended proportions, coating them in a classic Hugger Orange and white two-tone. Underneath the slick paint, a laser straight body is the result of a lot of time and, more than likely, a significant chunk of money. The rocker panels and cab corners have been replace but, from the outside, the work is undetectable. From every angle, the truck offers crisp reflections and excellent panel fitment befitting of a quality show build. The body remains as GM designed it with nothing shaved or altered in any discernible way.
While the basic shape is certainly appealing, it’s the GM-designed details that really make this pickup pop. The front end sports a stainless-trimmed egg-crate grille with a center-mounted bowtie and halogen lights at either side. Below, a body-hugging bumper complete with guards and rectangular turn signals rounds out the lower section. Walk around the corner and clean amber side markers and “350” badges cap the fender, with “Cheyenne 20” script trailing behind the wheel well. The mirrors, door handles and gas cap are all chrome, combining with black side molding for a visually balanced side profile view. Around the cab, fresh glass and stainless further the showroom-new look. At the rear of the truck, another curve-hugging chrome bumper conforms to the bed, just under the tailgate. A tonneau cover conceals the storage space, but a quick look underneath reveals new wooden floors with stainless filler strips.
When it comes to Chevrolet V8s few stand for reliability quite like the ubiquitous 350ci V8. What started as a Camaro option in 1967 has evolved into the most versatile, best bang-for-the-buck engine on the planet. The variant found in this pickup wears a TYX suffix code which shows the block to be a 1975-1977 truck engine which was originally paired with a manual transmission. It’s a strong foundation to build upon but, for now, the bay remains a relatively stock affair. The block and factory cast iron heads are dressed in orange while a single Quadrajet carburetor handles fueling duties. Dress is provided by a single snorkel air cleaner while painted valve covers can be found at either side. The front of the engine turns an alternator, power steering pump, and a Harrison air conditioning compressor while an OEM-style radiator pairs with a single engine-driven fan to keep the small block cool. Exhaust gases spiral out through cast iron manifolds that flow into a true dual exhaust system with glasspack-style mufflers. While this isn’t some concours too-nice-to-touch build, the mixture of new hardware, hoses, and lines add up to a visually pleasing engine compartment that stays true to its factory roots.
Crawl underneath this rig to find a surprisingly nice undercarriage with solid cab floors and a new bed floor. Nearly everything wears a fresh coat of satin black paint that looks great against the orange oil pan and bright yellow shocks. In the center, a Muncie SM456 4-speed offers a granny low and three regular gears to make the best of that small block power. Behind the Muncie, a NP205 transfer case divvies up power between a Dana 44 front axle and an Eaton H052 rear. Of course, all that twisting force means nothing if you can’t get over a little bump. This K20 has some extra ground clearance thanks to front and rear lift blocks and new shocks that complement the leaf spring suspension. The setup raises ride height enough to clear tall 33-inch BF Goodrich All Terrain Radial TAs that wrap around 16.5-inch aluminum wheels. There’s a power steering rack under the front that makes quick work of turning those tires while factory power front disc and rear drums bring the pickup to a halt with authority. The combination of heavy-duty equipment and power accessories make this Chevrolet a pleasure to wheel on or off road.
While the combination of Hugger Orange and houndstooth sounds like the making of a deluxe Camaro interior, it’s exactly what you’ll find between the doors of this K20. The star of the show is the black houndstooth bench seat that provides seating for no less than three adults. Below, fresh black carpet covers the solid floors below, protected by rubber floor mats and anchored by polished and bowtie-branded door sill plates. At either side, molded white door panels fit against a body-matched background completed by wood-grain applique and stainless hardware. Slide in the driver position to find all the usual bits with easy reach. Steering is channeled through a black two-spoke steering wheel that connects with a fixed factory column while, to the right, two shifters grant power over the Muncie and the transfer case. Beyond the steering wheel, an applique-wrapped instrument bezel hosts an impressive array of gauges that monitor speed, revs, fuel, battery, temperature, vacuum, and oil pressure. To the right, a GM-branded Delco radio appears to be original while, below, four sliders operate the HVAC system which feeds vents at either side of the dash. From the new dash pad to the taut white headliner, everything here presents well and works as it should.
Documentation for this pickup includes receipts that highlight some of the work performed.
Thanks to their timeless good looks, these pickups have earned the nickname “Glamour Trucks” in certain circles but there’s no denying the rugged appeal of this K20. With its bulletproof drivetrain, slick two-tone, and classic houndstooth interior, this is a good buy from any angle. If you’re ready to rise above traffic in a classic GM truck, clear out a few extra feet in your garage and give us a call. This is a lot of truck for the money.