Designing Your Own Chassis Cab and Cutaway

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Ford Super Duty Chassis Cab. PHOTO Ford Motor Company

Sometimes, no matter how extensive an automaker’s offerings are, there isn’t a configuration in the lineup that precisely meets your needs.

That’s where chassis cabs and cutaways may be the answer, letting you design the rear portion of a truck or van to the exact specifications you require.

There are some commercial truck manufacturers with offerings in Class 4 and 5 range, including Hino and Kenworth, but for this roundup, we’re looking at vehicles from the mainstream consumer automakers—Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and Ram.

Where to begin?

The vehicle you ultimately choose will depend on several factors, including how easily it can be adapted to your requirements, its powertrain and performance, and even if your upfitter works only with certain manufacturers.

Since many upfits can last longer than the vehicle itself, you’ll also want to buy your vehicle with an eye toward how you’ll replace it in the future and still be able to transfer the upfit over to the new model.

Many higher-tech items are now coming into the commercial market, including active safety features such as emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, driver attention warnings, and digital interior mirrors that can show what’s behind the truck even if the rear window is blocked or missing.

Infotainment features are also increasingly available, including smartphone integration for that all-important hands-free operation.

We have the goods on what’s available for 2021/2022 in this small but very important segment of the commercial truck and van market.

Since heavy-duty vehicles are exempt from Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption testing, we’ve left off the fuel figures on this edition of our Fleet Selector roundup.


Super Duty Chassis Cab

Ford’s Super Duty chassis cab comes as the F-350 and F-450 (and F-550 and F-600). Choices are regular cab, SuperCab (extended), and Crew Cab.

Available engines are a 6.2-litre flex-fuel V8 gasoline engine; a 7.3-litre V8 gas engine; or 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 diesel.

Drivelines are 4×2 or 4×4. All have a steel frame with an aluminum cab.

All trim levels include trailer sway control, Wi-Fi hotspot, tire pressure monitoring system, and an anti-theft system.

Available options include a 110-volt outlet, emergency front braking, lane departure warning, cruise control, and speed limiter.

The Super Duty is also available as a stripped chassis for a ground-up build.

Super Duty specs

  • Engines:
    • 6.2-litre V8 (385 hp/430 torque)
    • 7.3-litre V8 (350 hp/468 lb-ft torque)
    • 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 turbodiesel (330 hp/825 lb-ft torque)
  • Transmission:
    • 10-speed automatic

E-Series Cutaway

After the Transit van was launched, the venerable E-Series “Econoline” van became a cutaway only.

It comes as the E-350 with single or dual rear wheels, or E-450 with dual wheels.

All use a 7.3-litre V8 “Premium-Rated” engine that can be optioned to a lower-power “Economy-Rated” version.

For 2022, it adds available flex-fuel capability, speed limiter, and backup alarm. Standard features include two-passenger seating, Fleet Telematics, and Bluetooth.

The E-Series is also available as a stripped chassis.

e seins
Ford E-Series Cutaway. PHOTO Ford Motor Company

E-Series Cutaway specs

  • Engines:
    • 7.3-litre V8 (350 hp/468 torque in Premium-Rated; 300 hp/425 lb-ft torque in Economy-Rated)
  • Transmission:
    • 6-speed automatic

Transit Chassis Cab & Cutaway 

Both the Transit cutaway and chassis cab come in low-roof; in regular, long, or extended wheelbase; and in the rear- or all-wheel drive.

The naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6 can be optioned to a turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-litre.

Both configurations come in a single trim level with standard forward collision alert, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, keyless entry, and two-passenger seating.

transit ford
Ford Transit Cutaway. PHOTO Ford Motor Company

Transit Chassis Cab & Cutaway specs

  • Engines:
    • 3.5-litre V6 (275 hp/262 lb-ft torque)
    • 3.5-litre EcoBoost turbo V6 (310 hp/400 lb-ft torque)
  • Transmission:
    • 10-speed automatic

General Motors

Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 3500 HD Chassis Cab

These chassis cabs come as the 3500HD, in regular or crew cab and with dual rear wheels (also as the 4500, 5500 and 6500HD).

Engine choices are a 6.6-litre gasoline V8 or 6.6-litre Duramax V8 turbodiesel.

Drivelines are 4×2 or 4×4.

Standard features include trailer sway control, smartphone connectivity, automatic headlamps, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Chevrolet Silverado HD 3500 Chassis Cab. PHOTO General Motors

Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra HD 3500 specs

  • Engines:
    • 6.6-litre gasoline V8 (401 hp/464 lb-ft torque)
    • 6.6-litre Duramax V8 turbodiesel (445 hp/910 lb-ft torque)
  • Transmission:
    • 6-speed automatic (gasoline)
    • 10-speed automatic (diesel)

Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana Cutaway

The Express/Savana mechanical twins come as the 3500 in short, regular, and extended wheelbase, and as the 4500 in regular and extended wheelbase.

A 4.3-litre V6 is standard on the 3500 short wheelbase; optional on it, and standard on all other models is a 6.6-litre V8.

Forward collision alert, lane departure alert, and a rear vision camera are among the available options.

GMC Savanna 3500 Cutaway. PHOTO General Motors

Chevy Express/GMC Savana Cutaway specs

  • Engines:
    • 4.3-litre V6 (276 hp/298 lb-ft torque)
    • 6.6-litre V8 (401 hp/464 lb-ft torque)
  • Transmission:
    • 8-speed automatic (V6)
    • 6-speed automatic (V8)


Sprinter Chassis Cab

The Sprinter chassis cab comes in 3500XD or 4500 configurations, in low-roof only, and in 144-inch or a 170-inch wheelbase.

The available engines are both turbodiesels: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder or a 3.0-litre six-cylinder.

Available features include adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, smartphone integration, touchscreen infotainment systems, and suspension options to improve stability depending on the upfit configuration.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Chassis Cab
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Chassis Cab. PHOTO Daimler

Sprinter Chassis Cab specs

  • Engines:
    • 2.0-litre I4 turbodiesel (161 hp/266 lb-ft torque)
    • 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel (188 hp/325 lb-ft torque)
  • Transmission:
    • 7-speed automatic


Ram 3500 Chassis Cab

For 2022, Ram adds available dual fuel tanks to gasoline-powered models.

The chassis cab is available as the 3500 (and also 4500 and 5500) in regular or crew cab models, and in 4×2 or 4×4.

Engine choices are a 6.4-litre Hemi gasoline V8 with a choice of transmission or a 6.7-litre Cummins inline-six turbodiesel.

Available options include adaptive cruise control, emergency forward braking with trailer brakes, lane-keep assist, PTO, and a 12-inch configurable touchscreen display.

Ram Heavy Duty Chassis Cab. PHOTO Stellantis

Ram 3500 Chassis Cab specs

  • Engines:
    • 6.4-litre V8 (370 hp/429 lb-ft torque)
    • 6.7-litre Cummins I6 turbodiesel (360 hp/800 lb-ft torque)
  • Transmission:
    • 6-speed automatic (V8)
    • 8-speed automatic (V8, I6)

Ram ProMaster 3500 Chassis Cab & Cutaway

Both the ProMaster chassis cab and cutaway come in 3500 configurations, with a low roof, and with 136-inch or a 159-inch wheelbase.

Unique in the segment, it uses front-wheel drive and is unibody with a ladder frame.

The sole engine is a 3.6-litre “Pentastar” V6. Available features include heated seats, forward collision warning, navigation, and a digital rearview mirror.

Ram ProMaster. PHOTO Stellantis

Ram ProMaster specs

  • Engine:
    • 3.6-litre V6 (280 hp/260 lb-ft torque)
  • Transmission:
    • 9-speed automatic
Categories : Editorial, Fleet
Tags : Chevrolet, Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Ram


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