I wish i had some super awesome update but i dont.
I came up with a solution that works, but im not super thrilled with. There is a lot less space than the pics show. Also, the clutch lever is tilted back towards the motor, and the gearbox can only be clocked every other position, so theres really no 'perfect' position; each one has its own issues to deal with so i stayed with this one.
I straightened the clutch lever...
...and then made a removable extension for it:
It might look like theres a ton of room in this pic, but there totally isnt. I actually had to notch the bumper, valance & grill to get this to fit.
This is the 'lock' position. The handle swings forward into the grill, and over towards the passenger tire when in freespool. It works just fine with one hand, but its not much to look at. The problem is, it will become a very tight space, once the radiator/condenser, and trans/p.steering coolers go back in. Because of this, im stopping right here. This will work, but im afraid if i try to design something more elaborate, itll be in the way later down the road. So im going to keep this for now, and once i get closer to the truck being complete, ill revisit it and see if i cant come up with a more elegant design, that doesnt interfere with anything else (i already designed, mostly built, & then rejected a 'better' design because it took up too much space).