Building New Memories for the Next Generation of Classic Truck Owners
By Fuelish Media
Before Robert Tucker took ownership of this 1968 C10 it had belonged to his grandfather who bought it brand new some 53 years ago. While Robert has specific fond memories of the truck from his childhood, he has also been given the opportunity to share the very same pickup with his own grandchildren. This old Chevy has been through a variety of life experiences in its long history within the Tucker family—some great, some not so great, and others that were simply ordinary. Robert decided that it was time to give his grandpa’s old truck a fresh lease on life that was focused on capturing more of those positive snapshots he has collected from back when he was a kid.
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“Back when my grandfather drove this Chevy he used it as his landscaping truck,” Robert says. “I remember going to work with him on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. A while after that point in time the truck had been stored away in a barn until I inherited it.” What an heirloom and monument to help preserve the past spent with a loved one! Once he had the keys to his grandpa’s truck in hand, Robert began planning to restore it. Since he has been a custom car enthusiast nearly all his life, the pieces started falling into place rather quickly in a way that would soon assemble the picture of a clean, performance-centric classic American pickup that is celebrated for its past as well as its future potential.
To begin the restoration process, Robert reached out to Scott’s Hotrods N Customs for a complete coilover kit to lower the Chevy’s suspension height while increasing its ride quality and handling prowess. Wilwood spindles allowed for the drop in the front, and Ridetech suspension, along with Scott’s Hotrods N Customs anti-roll and panhard bars, orchestrated the truck’s freshly updated suspension system. Wilwood brake kit (front 14-inch and rear 13-inch) and a Speedway Motors master cylinder quickly make for better stopping power. Robert finished off his truck’s updated chassis setup with a gleaming set of 22×9 and 22×12 Raceline wheels and 265/30ZR22 and 325/35ZR22 Nitto tires. The old C10 was well on its way to make a grand return to the streets.
Next, Robert began contemplating what could be done underhood. Since the truck’s old engine would soon be plucked out and scrapped, the options for a replacement powerplant were seemingly endless. To help with this process, Robert called on Morris Estes at M&L Automotive in Porter, Texas, to wrangle up an ’03 Chevy LS6 engine and an automatic 4L80E transmission to serve as the C10’s new powertrain. Before the motor would be dropped into the bay, it was first outfitted with a Texas Speed Cam, Brian Tooley Racing valves and springs, Comp Cams roller rockers, a Be Cool aluminum radiator, and a Holley intake manifold, fuel injection, and ignition, just to name a few performance add-ons. To promote the LS6 engine’s respiration abilities, a K&N air filter was thrown into the mix, as were Hooker headers and a 2.5-inch exhaust system complete with MagnaFlow mufflers.
Given the age and condition of Robert’s grandfather’s C10, the matter of refreshing the C10’s exterior was next on the to-do list. The desired result was a finish that was cool, classy, and clean—something Alamo Customs of Alvin, Texas, was more than able to deliver. After the necessary bodywork and panel straightening was tackled, the drip rails were shaved for added cleanliness. The factory front and rear bumpers were sent out for a fresh chrome dip, and a few accessories in the way of Ringbrothers outer mirrors, GSI billet door handles, Fesler tail lights and flush-mounted DOT glass, and Recon headlights. With all those parts lined up and on their way to the shop for installation, Robert Mesa of Alamo Customs then began preparing the truck for the painting process. A custom-mixed silver PPG color was cooked up to give the truck’s exterior surface a slick and timeless appearance. With just one look, Robert recognized that justice was finally being done to his grandfather’s old work truck, even though there was still a bit of work left to be able to take it out for a spin.
MTI Acoustics in College Station, Texas, was the next stop scheduled for the C10’s road to recovery. The crew at MTI performed an entire interior overhaul with a leather-covered custom bench seat (including an added kiddie seat), door panels, dash, and headliner before moving on to working on all the extras. A Restomod AC system and Dakota Digital gauges were soon added to the interior’s list of highlights, as was an Alpine head unit and Billet Specialties steering wheel for good measure. In just one visit the whole cab space of Robert’s truck was completely transformed for the better.
In a total of three years, Robert was finally able to see the restoration of his grandpa’s C10 through. Although the process has been rewarding, it has not been as easy as it may appear. “The hardest part of the build was finding the right body shop, which I did with Alamo, as well as to make sure my extended family was proud of what I did with the truck, which they are,” Robert admits. “While I do wish there were some phases I would’ve skipped to save some time and trouble, I do love how the project turned out.”
Robert can now share the classic truck with his own grandchildren and create new memories with them like the ones that positively impacted his childhood. Who says an old pickup truck can’t become a valued member of the family?