My 1970 Chevy P30 rat rod (yes you read that right)

This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Adirondack 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #3044


    Well here we go. For years I’ve longed for the simplicity of driving an older vehicle and since my heydays of the seventies muscle cars been a hot rodder at heart. Over the past 35 years family, career, and just making a living have put those tendencies on the back burner. Always too much to do or money that needed to be spent in “more productive” ways. Kids are grown and career responsibilities are now waining. Now it’s my turn. As a truck mechanic for the first 20 years of my professional life I have the skills. Because I don’t do it professionally any more I have the desire. Lets see what I can build.

    Nobody loves the look of a 20’s roadster, or a 30’s or 40’s coupe more than I do. A well restored or preserved muscle car of the 60’s or 70’s is also a thing of beauty. All of these are also hard to find and come at a premium price. Original parts can be like hens teeth to find and a kings ransome to buy. Without them any build is sub standard at best worthless at worst. There are numerous kits available to build a replica of just about any car you want. For 40 grand you can build yourself one eye catching street rod but that’s not where I’m at either philisophically or monetarily. That’s where my choice of build comes in. You dance with the one you brung.

    Since my days as a mechanic I have had a left over relic sitting in the yard. It’s a 1970 Chevrolet P30 being used as a storage shed. If your not familiar with what a P series Chevy truck is it’s what’s commonly used as a bread delivery van. It has a Grumman aluminum body. I’ll post some pictures when I get them. The body being aluminum is in great shape but I’ll only be using some of it. I’ll be disassembeling it and saving what I need to rebuild a body that I want. The rest will be scrapped as a source of cash for other parts I’ll need for the build. With the price of clean aluminum these days it could go a long way to doing the chassis modifications I want. The pieces I save will be rebuilt in the style of an open engine sedan delivery. How many aluminum body hot rods are there out there?

    The truck as it sits is equiped with an inline 250 six cylinder, 4 speed manual trans with creeper gear and a dual wheel rear axle. I plan to keep the inline six because I love the simplicity and bullet proof attributes. It’s also not that difficult with the right setup to squeeze 250 hp out of one. If at some time I become dissatisfied with it swapping any sbs right up to a big block is no problem. The chassis will be more than beefy enough to handle anything. The 4 speed will have to go. I’m thinking a beefed up 700 R4 with a high stall converter would be a much better option for drivability. I think I’ll keep the dualies on the back. The plan is to narrow the body inside the wheels and build some wide fenders tapering into some nice running boards. I think keeping the original 16.5 wheels but mounting some ultra low profile tires will be a good look and bring down the profile to a nice low ride. Speaking of ride height I plan to “flip” the rear axle which will drop the rear 6 inches and use after market lowering components for the front. The beauty of the P30 is all the chassis parts are the same as a pickup so there’s an abundance of trick parts out there.

    Living in NYS I have looked into what it takes to build a street rod from scratch. To get a registerable title you have to jump through more hoops than a trained seal. The one beautiful part of building this truck that’s been wasting away for 20 years is I still have the pink slip. It’s a 70 P30 now. It will be a 70 P30 when I’m done.

    I know this first post seems very simplistic. Your probably saying this guy doesn’t know what he’s getting into. Actually I do. This is just a concept outline. The rest is in my head and will come out as the build goes. I’m just not going to bore you with it until it’s time to be done.

  • #3052

    Sounds cool to me, Chris. I look forward to the pics as you progress. ◄Dave►

  • #3054

    Dave's '23 Ford T-bucket

    My Sunday ride. 🙂 ◄Dave►

  • #3055


    Nothing to it but to do it. I still have a laundry list of to do’s but it’s time to find time for the things I want.

  • #3060


    As promised some pics of what I’m starting with.

    p30 1






    p30 2






    p30 3





    She’s sunk about six inches in the ground.

  • #3728


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  • #4006


    Well I know it’s been quite a while since I made an update. That’s because everything had been put on hold for other projects but I have finally gotten started. The P30 has been pulled out of the mud and is in position to start disassembling. It won’t fit into the garage with the body on so I have to have it down to the chassis before the weather starts getting too cold. Here’s a couple more pics now that you can actually see what we’re starting with.

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