In our current disposable society, we have been conditioned to accept the trend of "out with the old and in with the new." Led by the field of electronics, where it's almost always cheaper to replace than repair, we have begun to lose our veneration for things in the past. Fortunately, the hobby of old trucks may be the best exception to that rule. Brad Warren from Parkton, North Carolina, has enjoyed the connection with his first truck for more than a decade. Transforming his Idaho barn find to a trophy magnet has been a series of great highs and occasional lows, but the rejuvenation process shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. First making the connection at the ripe old age 15, Brad and the $900 '67 C-10 went to high school together. Best of Show trophies would not make their appearance for many years, but Brad knew the potential was there from the outset.
Most of the early upgrades were limited by the budget, but eventually his job as a carpenter began to pay off-money became available, and the truck began receiving the attention it deserved. Starting from the bottom up, suspension and drivetrain changes began with a huge 10-inch C-notch in the rear, with a reversed four-link of Brad's own design. The new air suspension gave his truck the sought-after, rocker-scrapin' profile, thanks to Firestone 2,500-pound bags in the front and Firestone 2,600-pound versions in the rear. Carefully orchestrating all the changes, Brad made his own brackets during the install. A pair of 450 Viair compressors, a 5-gallon reserve tank, and 3/8-inch lines and valves completed the package and put the altitude under the driver's control. Stopping power comes from Classic Performance Products (CPP) 12-inch disc brakes attached to CPP 2.5-inch dropped spindles. Monroe shocks smoothed the ride and a competition-oriented, 20-gallon fuel cell modernized the gas tank.
Once the chassis could handle more torque, the original 283-inch V-8 was replaced with a four-bolt LS9 350 mated to a beefed Turbo 400 transmission. The engine was fitted with a Lunati cam, Edelbrock 600 carb, Power Plus intake, HEI ignition, Pete Jackson gear drive, and 2.5-inch Hedman Hedders feeding Flowmaster mufflers. The 14-inch electric fan and Griffin radiator kept temps in the green. Everything under the hood was either painted or polished with the combination of cool cosmetics and more than 300 hp, adding a healthy dose of youthful enthusiasm to the 40-year-old truck.
The bumper-to-bumper body makeover began with shaving virtually everything on the exterior-including emblems, door handles, and driprails. Brad molded the front bumper to the body, created the new square grille opening and grille bars, smoothed the cowl, and added Diamond Blue Dot headlights. The old bed was a little too far gone to salvage and was replaced by a newer, late-model Chevy version, tubbed to clear the large 20x8 Centerline Rapid Tomahawk rims and Kumho 40-series rubber. Using 4x8-foot sheets of poplar cut into strips, Brad created the bed floor and custom cover over the bridged rear axle. A smooth rear pan, canted license plate, and Cadillac taillights brought the looks of the truck into the new millennium.
Brad began the makeover of the interior with a new sheetmetal dash and white Dolphin gauge package. Third-row, tan leather seats liberated from a 2000 Yukon were just the right size and color to blend with the tan carpet and planned bright yellow exterior. Since a stereo is always a hot addition to a cool custom truck, Brad chose the XO Vision head unit with a 7-inch screen that handles CDs, DVDs, and MP3s. Power for the system comes from the pair of Sony Xplod 2-channel amplifiers behind the seats pumping out more than 1,200 watts. The unique fiberglass center console holds a pair of 10-inch Sony subs, augmented by a pair of 6.5-inch components set in the kick panels, and two 6x9 speakers in the doors. The interior also features the scariest set of armrests (literally!) you ever saw, blending in perfectly with the skull switch box that controls the air suspension. The theme is repeated in the skeleton-and-ghost-theme exterior paint, sprayed by Brad's friend, Eddy Boyles from Air Graphics in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Beginning with bright PPG Yellow Pearl, the pearl and candy graphics are a combination of orange, silver, tan, and green.
The completed truck has become a regular Best of Show winner on the Southeastern show scene, and although Brad may finally have his first custom truck complete, the odds are good that it may never be finished.