Take a good look at this Chevy truck’s bed, if you can: six inches from the front of the bed, there’s a seam. That’s where the extra inches were welded on to make a Longhorn, America’s only 8 1/2 foot long production pickup. Why bother with six extra inches? To make room for one more Hooters girl, obviously. Weight distribution, for the ever larger slide-in campers that were all the rage back then. The C30 Longhorn could take a twelve foot camper, without the horrendous sway that was so common to see back then, with folks trying to haul camper and big families in their half-ton trucks. How many vacations turned (over) into nightmares? This nice truck with a 402 CID big block is available for sale, with an asking price of $14,500! Not to be left out, Ford had a solution to the camper problem too.
Ford went a different route, with their new 1973 model Camper Special, which had a longer wheelbase, but still kept the eight foot bed by relocating the rear wheel wells further back. That opened up an opportunity, to store the spare tire in a large opening compartment on the side, just ahead of the rear wheel. You can see the bottom of the spare hanging out below the bed. A very elegant solution.
Ironically, Chevy stopped offering an extended wheelbase pickup in 1973, just as Ford got into it, handing that limited market to Ford. Now that F-350 CS would really be just the thing when I go to the quarry to haul gravel. Two yards instead of one!