Keeping It All in the Family
By the late ’60s, pickups had become a popular mode of transportation all throughout the country. The truck-buying demographic went through a change and wanted increased comfort and style in their trucks. Chevy and GMC saw the demand and responded with good-looking trucks that represented both work-truck utility as well as reasonable comforts, especially when well-optioned. Even in today’s market, the ’67-’72 Chevy and GMC pickups remain some of the most desirable trucks.
Wade Loewer is a family man, so when he needed a truck for comfort and versatility he searched far and wide for something in those specific desirable years. As a Coca Cola employee, his route led him through a neighborhood where he saw a ’72 Chevy pickup sitting in the driveway of a house. Over the next few weeks, Wade got up the nerve to stop and knock on the front door. It took a bit of convincing to talk the owner into parting with his truck, but Wade knew what he wanted—and he finally got it.
It was a good-running pickup and its condition was just good enough to pass for a working truck, but it was definitely not in any way a custom-built truck. Plus, the rocker panels and cab corners needed to be replaced. Once Wade got it home, he found out that the truck was the Cheyenne Super package, which was the top-of-the-line trim level that was added to only 7% of trucks in 1972. That package included all the woodgrain exterior trim and deluxe interior fittings, such as woodgrain dash inserts, a headliner, deluxe upholstery and more. Wade knew this Chevy was destined to be something special.
He stripped the Chevy pickup down to bare frame and sandblasted and painted the truck. A local paint and body shop in Lake Charles, Louisiana, called Final Touch Paint and Body replaced the cab corners and rocker panels. Wade began mocking the new buildup using Goodmark front fenders. His friend Johnathan Breaux at Dreamworks Collision in Lake Arthur, Louisiana, added the Victory Red with Summit White over the stock two-tone mustard paint.
Once the paint was up to Wade’s standards, it was time to add some giddy-up under the hood. The stock 350 automatic transmission was pulled and, with the help of his father Richard, the Loewers went for more reliability and horsepower by adding the 6.0 and 4l80.
With the Cheyenne shaping up nicely, Wade turned his attention to the cabin of the truck. The carpeting and seats had stains and tears, so Wade swapped them out with all new material that resembled the stock feel, including scrollwork stitching that came factory on that model. Wade also added some newer features, like a billet steering wheel and column and an Alpine stereo system that certainly sounds good on those cruises through the country.
For more efficient stopping power, the stock brakes were upgraded to 14-inch brakes from Arizona Pro Performance as well as upgraded brake lines from inline brake tubes. When Wade decided on wheels, he went through three different sets and styles before settling on 24-inch Raceline Speedster 5s with a staggering 6-inch and 4.25-inch backspace respectively. Pirelli tires wrapped the wide wheels and set the Cheyenne back on the ground with some style.
The last step was adding the biggest modification in a classy way—the suspension. As Wade prefers to keep a hands-on approach to his vehicles, he decided the suspension work would be done completely in house. He and his cousin Courtney Sonnier, who has a great deal of welding experience, added a full Porterbuilt drop member and built the new frame rails from the cab back. An Accuair E-level air management system was added so the truck would drop down at the flick of a button. With everything looking complete, Wade had one last step—rebuilding the bed floor. He bolted wood to 1×2 rectangular steel and 1.5-inch angle iron, making a full wood bed.
Wade has three children—Allison 29, Chris, 26, and Sara 26—along with two grandsons who will soon have wrenches in their hands. With all the time and effort he put into building his Chevy Cheyenne, Wade has often joked that the truck has become his Fourth Dependent. Although it may not be a joke his kids appreciate, it certainly is catchy and something to think about when you consider all the time and money invested. A special thanks goes to his wife Melinie for the understanding comes with being a truck builder’s spouse and the patience she’s had for the 31 years of their marriage. The Fourth Dependent is one of the family, but it unfortunately won’t be included in their income tax forms.
Owner Wade Loewer
’72 Chevrolet Cheyenne Super Package
Chassis Front Suspension
Porterbuilt Extreme drop member version 7
Porterbuilt narrowed control arms
CPP modular drop spindles
14-inch Arizona Pro Performance front brake kit
Dominator 2600 air bags
Narrowed frame rails done by owner
Porterbuilt trailing arms and crossmember
Jason Thorebecke watts link
14-inch Arizona Pro Performance rear brake kit
Accuair E-Level ride control
3-gallon aluminum air tanks
Two Viair 444c compressors
6.0 LQ-9 from an ’05 Escalade
Comp cam (.568 lift, 224 duration, 112 LSA) and comp cam lifters and valve train tuned by Lethal Performance in Lafayette, Louisiana
Sanderson ceramic coated headers
Fiberglass engine cover from Street and Performance
Factory 4-core radiator
Radiator cover by Modshop Metalworks
Rebuilt 4l80, 3600 stall Yank torque converter
Rebuilt factory positive traction with 4:11 gears
Narrowed 14 inches total with Moser axles
Victory Red with Summit White painted by Dreamworks in Lake Arthur, Louisiana
All trim, bumpers, grille and emblems replaced with LMC parts
White ash wood finished with dark walnut stained bed with clear polyurethane
New Mar-K stainless bed strips
Factory bench seat recovered with stock style replacement with scrollwork
New factory carpeting, door panels, headliner, visors and dash pad from Classic Parts of America
CPP tilt steering column, billet wrapped leather steering wheel, billet rear view mirror
Stereo: Alpine stereo and speakers, completely rewired with American Autowire kit
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 24×9 (with 6-inch backspace) and 24×15 (with 4.25-inch backspace) Raceline Speedster 5s with brushed and clearcoated faces
Tires: 255/30R24 and 405/25R24 Pirelli tires