1972 Franklin Camper/Chevrolet C30- The Mullet

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Party in the Back!

Craig Piggott and River City Rods in Davenport, Iowa, may have had the coolest SEMA Show marketing tool in recent memory at their disposal in the form of this ’72 Franklin Camper. That’s the “party” part of the story, but we’ll start with the business end: a Chevrolet C30 cab. This crazy cool creation took the better part of six months to build and demanded greater attention to reassembly than your average project truck. Fabrication usually involves metalwork, but this venture delved into framing, paneling, woodworking, fiberglass, lighting, and more.
1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Side View

  |   1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Side View

It took $100,000 in parts and labor to build this project, but it was money well spent according to River City Rods, which wanted to make a name for itself. The purpose of this business-building rig is to implant the company’s name into the memory of anyone viewing it online as well as those lucky enough to witness it in person.
So how do you begin an undertaking like this? Just like any other project, you have to tear it down and figure out what will be used again and what needs to be replaced, rebuilt, or revamped. The River City Rods crew had to keep track of a lot more than nuts and bolts so that when the time came for reassembly, there was no scavenger hunt needed to locate the parts. Many areas of the camper were restyled using aluminum paneling; the inside of the truck received a few one-off, custom-milled aluminum parts as well. These details could have you looking over this camper for hours.
1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Rear

  |   1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Rear

The guts of the C30 were stripped out and changed as much as the camper itself. The more than 45-year-old suspension was cleared away in preparation for GSI Fabrication to build a full front kit with airbags not previously in production. It was then shipped from Arizona to Iowa and installed by River City Rods. In the rear, a custom rear bridge with four-link was installed utilizing Goodyear semitruck airbags to handle the heavy load of the passenger area while allowing for a full 9 inches of lift. The duties of keeping the party rolling smoothly went to Monroe shocks at all four corners. A 30-gallon fuel cell from Rick’s Tanks was used to keep the octane flowing to the motor while the bar built above it inside the camper handles the task of stocking another kind of fuel to help keep the festivities going. Powering the business end is a Delmo’s Speed 6.0 LS motor partnered with a 4L70 transmission to get the 9,400-pound vehicle moving on a set of 22-inch 323 Duallysportz wheels with Lionhart 305/30R22 tires.
1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Engine

  |   1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Engine

Inside the cab, everything was cleaned up, then the seats, doors, and floor were given a classic styling to fit the truck—but they also have a luxury look thanks to the black leather. Between the bucket seats, there is no center console to allow room for a passenger to access the camper compartment on the fly. When back there, you are immediately transported to a whole new place that feels like a mix between the local pub, an antique flea market, and the outdoor superstores we love to get lost in. Varying textures, colors, objects, and materials surround you as you relax on the community-style seating. If you want to be entertained for a bit, a Samsung TV resides on the wall adjacent to the entry and exit door. The audio system has been custom installed using Hertz Audio by the experts at Solar Vision in Davenport, Iowa. Did we mention there’s a bar? Yeah, that’s back there, too!
1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Front Seats

  |   1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Front Seats

1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Interior

  |   1972 Franklin Camper Chevrolet C30 Interior

So how did Craig and the crew at River City Rods pull off this major project in just six months? The answer is, we have no idea. However, we are expecting a lot more out of them from this point on and have seen a glimpse of what is coming this year from their shop in Davenport, which is now known worldwide for building one of the coolest campers ever. Keep turning the pages of future issues of Truckin to see more of their custom creations.

Inside the Build

Year/Make/Model:
’72 Franklin Camper/Chevrolet C30
Owner and City/State:
Craig Piggott / Davenport, Iowa
Front Suspension: GSI Fabrication one-off front end with control arms, Ridetech ShockWaves, Monroe shocks
Rear Suspension: GSI Fabrication four-link, bridge notch, Goodyear semitruck airbags, Monroe shocks, Viair compressors
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston Big Brake front kit, Ford F-450 rear, Baer Brake ReMaster brake booster
Engine: Delmo’s Speed 6.0L Dels3 motor, one-off billet 409 valve covers machined by General Pattern, Sanderson headers, Flowmaster 2.5-inch exhaust
Transmission: 4L70
Rearend: 9-inch custom-width Ford rearend, 4:10 gears
Body: Custom billet taillights by River City Rods, custom aluminum paneling for camper, Matrix Hyundai Blue paint by Nichols Bodyshop/River City Rods, GSI Fabrication aluminum door handles, Alumicraft grilles
Interior: Black leather seats wrapped by Schober’s Custom Hot Rod Interiors, custom billet gauge cluster machined by General Pattern, Classic Instruments gauges, billet switch panel, black carpet kit, four 10-inch Hertz Audio subwoofers, six sets of 5.5-inch Hertz Audio components, Hertz Audio Amplifiers totaling 4,000 watts, Alpine head unit.
Camper: Materials include laser-cut steel, copper, and refurbished wood from an old warehouse
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 22×8.5; 323 Duallysportz Slice
Tires: 305/30R22 Lionhart
Special Thanks by Owner:
GSI Fabrication, AccuAir, 323 Duallysportz, Precision Replacement Parts

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