FAMILY HERITAGE: Mike Steele’s 1968 Chevy C10

By the CTP Staff & Mike Steele   –   Images by NotStock Photography

Last year, we gave you a little behind-the-scenes insight on Mike Steele’s ’68 C10 as it had been coming together at L & S Customs prior to its Builder’s Showcase debut at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals the year prior (yeah, it was an after-the-fact behind-the-scenes!). As soon as we laid eyes on the lengthy beauty in Louisville, Kentucky, a call was immediately put in to NotStock Photography to coordinate the appropriate photo shoot, obviously—but in the meantime, we also reached out to Mr. Steele to get some basic background information to prepare ourselves accordingly. Well, this is what Mike provided, making our job that much easier!

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01 1967 Chevrolet C10 with wood paneled bed parked near an old grocery store

Read More: This 1971 Chevy C10 Comes Back to Life

“While I was dating my now wife, she took me to meet her grandparents in Tucson, Arizona. Pulling into the driveway I noticed this ’68 C20 longbed … faded white paint with a work camper shell and aftermarket A/C unit cut through the roof. I loved it immediately and took some time to walk around it, noticing two flat tires, a couple of minor dents, but a complete and true rust-free Arizona truck! I could hardly wait to ask her grandfather about it, so quickly, after introductions, I inquired about the history of the truck. He had bought the truck new and had used it for handyman service since retiring from the military. Toward the end of the conversation, I stated I would like to purchase the truck if he would consider selling it at some point, to which he replied, ‘I love that truck, I drive it every week!’ I told him I understood, while knowing it hadn’t moved in sometime with the flat tires, along with other evidence of a vehicle not being driven. I never discussed it with him again.

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05 Side profile of a 1967 Chevrolet C10 highlighting its sleek design and chrome wheels

“Years go by, my now wife and I move to North Carolina, get married, and are living life. Her grandfather [dies] and we receive a call from my mother-in-law. She stated that my wife’s grandfather told her that if anything happened to him to offer the truck to my wife and myself. Blown away by the fact this offer came from one conversation, we were delighted to say yes. My brother-in-law, Edmund, stepped in, unloading everything out of bed, pulling the camper shell off, airing up the tires, getting it running and loaded on a transport truck to North Carolina.

06 Rear view of a 1967 Chevrolet C10 with a clean polished look

“When I got the truck, my vision was to keep it pretty simple. I never considered shortening the truck. The longbed is cool to me; don’t be shortsighted with shortbeds … pun intended. Remember, this started as a C20, so I dismantled the truck, sandblasted the chassis, pulled all of the heavy C20 suspension and replaced it with all new tubular control arms, trailing arms, and disc brakes with a lowering kit from CPP [Classic Performance Products]. I then purchased 12-bolt rearend from a junkyard and had a rolling chassis with the cab sitting on it. Well, time goes by, and as a lot of people already know hot rods take a combination of money, time, skills, tools, and space to make them happen. Much to my wife’s dismay, it was stuffed in the attached two-car garage as I became busier with work and didn’t have the time, nor all of the necessary skills or tools to complete it. The positive of being busier at work was a little extra money. My wife and I agreed to start looking for someone to build the truck for us.

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09 Close up of a chrome finished engine component in a 1967 Chevrolet C10

Read More: Leslie Moore’s Slick Suburban Hides a Surprise Underhood

“I first met Scott Sheets with L & S Customs at a Goodguys event in Raleigh, North Carolina. He had a small one-bay vendor booth with an all-black ’38 Chevy coupe. I don’t particularly care for ’38 Chevy coupes or black vehicles (no disrespect to ’38 Chevy coupe or owners of black vehicles!), but it stopped me in my tracks. I walked over to take a closer look and was blown away by the quality of all aspects of the vehicle: paint, interior, chassis, doors, fender gaps, and so on. I struck up a conversation with Scott and was really pleased how engaged he was, but with no pressure, and seemed willing to explore different approaches to a build (this was not my experience with several other builders I’d spoken with). Shortly after this, Scott and his wife, Laura, met my wife and I at our house to look at the truck; we struck an agreement, and it was off to their shop.

10 Interior of a 1967 Chevrolet C10 with tan leather seats and a polished dashboard

“I estimated that the build would take about three years, which it ended up taking three and a half due to one of those factors: money. Scott’s first piece of advice, which I took, was to have a rendering done, so I reached out to Eric Brockmeyer at Scott’s recommendation. I knew going into it I wanted a silver color, but [Brockmeyer] came up with the Atomic Silver, which really helped set it apart from other silver trucks. Once at L & S Customs’ shop l quickly recognized the talent of Scott and his team. I was continually pleased with the ease of which Scott collaborated with me through the process. I really felt he was not simply building this truck for me, but that he was truly vested in it as well. The truck will always be connected to him, which I respect, and appreciate the dedication that makes him feel this way. Knowing this, it was easy for me to say “yes” when Scott approached me about taking the truck on “tour” to different Southeast car show events. Although, I was like a little kid at Christmas wanting to put some hard miles on the truck, I knew it was worth waiting a little longer. It would be great exposure for the truck, help Scott showcase his talents, and was certainly a great experience for me! Definitely a win-win scenario.

13 Close up of the gear shift and cup holders in a 1967 Chevrolet C10 with a tan interior

“The truck gained attention quickly with a Builder’s Choice Award at Goodguys Raleigh, a GM Iron Builder of the Year selection at Goodguys Nashville, and selected for the Builder’s Showcase for the NSRA Nationals in Louisville. At the end of this experience, I have an amazing ’68 Cl0 and gained true friends in Scott and Laura Sheets. I’m happy to say we are currently working on the details of our next build together …. stay tuned!

16 Wood paneled bed of a 1967 Chevrolet C10 featuring chrome strips and a clean finish

Read More: Rod Parsons’ Beyond-Stunning, All-Carbon ’67 C10

“Also, my wife can park her car in the garage now! Seriously, none of this is possible without her support and tolerance of my hot rod truck disease!”

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of FAMILY HERITAGE: Mike Steele’s 1968 Chevy C10.ctp may 2024

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