By Rob Fortier – Photography by Johnny O’Neil/OC Product Photos
A mutual interest between friends birthed Tsukasa Takikawa’s 1978 Chevy C10, that now cruises Japan.
Back in the early ’00s, when the venerable 1956 Ford F-100 was still the crux of the classic truck world, I happened upon a 1975 Chevy Cheyenne posted up for sale at a local automotive repair joint. At the time, I was the editor of the now-defunct Classic Trucks magazine, and despite some initial resistance from certain powers that be (as far as potential content material was concerned with a “newer” truck), I went ahead and purchased the POS in wolf’s clothing, even without a test drive (which I’d discover was not allowed due to the fact the engine had a flat cam, among other things, as I attempted to drive the mile and a half home!).
Read More: Dream Build: LS2-Powered 1954 Chevy 3100
To be honest, I can’t recall how prevalent the term “Squarebody” was back then—but I do know the aftermarket was ready to welcome those “late-models” with open arms, and I was more than happy to go outside the box, as it were, when it came to devoting pages to these so-called new trucks.
As far as the Cheyenne was concerned, after I’d addressed that aforementioned limp camshaft and practically replaced every sheet metal panel I possibly could, I went at it with my usual mild custom/lowrider taste (full air ride suspension, Cragar Wire Wheels with skinny whitewalls, suede Spanish Gold with Wimbledon White) mixed with somewhat classy resto accents (full set of 1976 side trim and all the factory exterior/interior goodies).
Suffice it to say, “Goldie” had nice curb appeal—and to this day there’s still plenty of regret in making that decision to let her go. So, when I first laid eyes on this 1978 Chevy C10 after Steven Wilk had just finished it for Tsukasa “Cholo” Takikawa, well, let’s just say those regrettable emotions came a floodin’ back! Ironically enough, while we come from two distinct automotive backgrounds (he is a mini-truck enthusiast, I am not!), we happen to have a number of mutual acquaintances (oddly enough, through no mini-truck relation!) and actually live rather close to one another. And though the two trucks may appear very, very similar from the exterior, underneath they’re two completely different animals.
Read More: 1966 C10 Show Truck Built “One Piece at a Time”Back in 2005, Wilk’s club, No Regrets, started a chapter in Japan (both the mini- and fullsize truck scene is still really big over there), which is how he formed the relationship with Cholo Takikawa. After taking his S10 over to the Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show in Yokohama in 2010, he was approached by Cholo to find and subsequently build a Squarebody and ship it back to Japan. And the rest, is literally “his” story:
“Cholo told me he wanted hydraulics without the cylinders sticking through the bed, and body drop with the [rocker] pinch seam removed. So, I found a truck and built a chassis and all the suspension, including a cantilever rear suspension and accumulators for ride quality, as well as a No Limit Engineering Wide Ride IFS. My brother and I designed a board to run an e-Level on hydraulics.
We got the C10 running; Cholo flew out and we cruised it around and hit a truck show with it and then picked out paint colors. After the show I put a few thousand miles on it to shake down the build and then we sent it off to Matt Hutcheson Designs for paint. After that, we pulled the chassis out and powder coated the frame, put in a fresh 700-R4 Chevy transmission and new 350 crate engine from Chevrolet Performance, installed new trim and lots of other parts from Brothers Trucks, got the interior done by James Mendoza and sound system done by Adam Radovich, installed Vintage Air and Dakota Digital gauges, and put a fresh set of Cragar Eliminator 500 five spoke wheels on it. Cholo flew out again and we debuted the old truck at the Forbidden Fantasy Car Show in Laughlin, Nevada. After the show, we wrapped up a few loose ends and shipped it off to Japan where it gets driven every weekend!”