Consider straightening the original frame
In 1983 I bought a 1952 Chevrolet 1⁄2ton pickup truck from a friend for my 16-year-old son. After a new muffler, battery and tires, my son had a goodrunning school truck.
When he was 21 years old he had a minor accident when he ran off of the road and hit a pine tree. I helped him buy a car and I kept the truck.
In 1996, I retired and later I decided to try and fix the truck. I bought new fenders, a hood, bumper, and a grille and radiator. I decided to pull the motor and transmission out. Once the motor and transmission were removed, I noticed that the frame did not look quite right to me. I measured 40 inches back from the front on both sides and then I measured across, forming an “X.” One side measured 47.5 inches and the other side measured 48.25 inches, which tells me that the frame is not square.
My question is, can I sit the cab and bed from my 1952 Chevy pickup on the frame from a 1987 Chevrolet S10 without running into too many problems. Right now a man is parting out a 1987 S10. He claims that everything is in good condition except for the body.
You can install the early truck cab and bed on the newer chassis but you will have to make a number of modifications. The 1987 chassis has a slightly longer wheelbase and a somewhat wider track, so you will have to alter the later-model suspension or the older body parts. You will also have to do some fabrication to mount the old body parts to the newer chassis because the mount points and provisions differ.
Before doing anything, I recommend that you do a quick measure of the 1987 chassis, just as you did with the 1952 chassis. You say that the 1987 body is bad but don’t say why. If it’s very rotted then you should carefully inspect the ’87 chassis to make sure that it is not rotted too. If the later model body is bad because the truck was in an accident then obviously you should determine whether the chassis was affected.
Judging from your description of your son’s accident and the dimensions you came up with, it doesn’t sound as though the 1952 chassis is too badly damaged. Another option to consider is to have a qualified frame shop straighten the truck’s original frame.