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Old 05-09-2018, 02:34 PM   #1  
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Default Pickup Shell Shapes?

Hello all,

My antique aluminum pickup shell on my 1985 Chevy crewcab finally bit the dust. The framework around the rear has been fracturing its way to oblivion for probably a decade now and the framework supporting the hinge finally gave up all the way. It never was square to the shape of the bed as well as it'* own rear door anyways so I'm not shedding many tears over it.

Now I'm looking around for a replacement shell. This time I'd like it to be fiberglass and be same height as the cab. Preferably as few windows as possible. As an example, and as a sad story, I found this one on Craigslist about six hours from my house:



The ad was almost 30 days old, but it looked to be the perfect shell for my desires. It'* on a late-80'* square-body Ford so likely it will fit my square Chevy. I emailed the seller through Craigslist'* dynamic email addresses and asked if it is still available. The seller replied back through Craigslist'* dynamic email addresses and said that it is. It didn't occur to me that the ad was on the verge of expiring so I should write the number down somewhere. Then the ad expired. I had seen the phone number in the ad when I clicked for contact info, but used email because I wasn't able to call at the moment. Now I can't do either. Sad story over.

So now I'm continuing the search. I have one overriding question that I hope someone here has more experience with than I do: The shape of the shell.

I would like for the shell to be about the same shape around the sides as around the sides of my cab. Also, I need the front of the shell to be compatible with the back of my cab.

Regarding the shape of the sides: from time to time I have seen pickups with a shell that is slightly smaller than the outside of the cab all the way around, as if they are meant for a different pickup. Is there a good way to know that a shell is right for my truck based on what it came off of?

Regarding the shape of the front of the shell: My cab is old-school traditional mostly straight up. The front of the aluminum shell has a piece of flashing along the bottom of the front to keep rain out of the bed, and the front wall a slight angle forward all the way across. The backs of pickup cabs have changed shapes quite a bit since the mid 90'*. Some of them are curved differently than in the olden days. Some have the rear window frame protruding several inches rearward (a la 1997+ F150s). All of them have gotten a few inches wider as well. Many shells these days appear to be more aerodynamically form-fitting and are curved to fit the specific truck or trucks very tightly. These definitely won't fit my truck.

So, I'm wondering where the shell designs deviate from compatible to not compatible, or any wisdom someone might have on this. I have an idea that shells for the 1987-2000 generation GM pickups might fit my 1973-1987 body, but then again might not. I know the cabs got wider starting with the 1999 "new generation" pickups so I'm out of luck on those. Maybe can I look for a particular model of pickup from which my new shell would be known compatible? Is there some sort of guide or reference online that has eluded me? Etc.?

The gory alternative here is to go lots of places and lift lots of candidates onto the back of my truck then eyeball it while chewing up my time and the seller'* time.

Thanks for any assistance!
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