There are two types of guys that customize classic trucks. There's the guy who's owned the same truck for years. If he's not driving it or showing it, he's working on it. And there's the guy who's always has something in the works. There's probably a finished pickup in the driveway, and definitely an "in-the-works" truck in the garage.
Bob Swenson from Bloomington, Minnesota, fits the second category. He's been in this hobby for 45 years, the last five of which have been spent building this knockout '64 Chevy. It's just the latest in a long list of customs he's owned, a list that includes a '57 Chevy big-window, a couple '55 Chevys, and a '49 Mercury.
The motivation to build the '64 C10 came from the fact that he's always liked them, but doesn't see many of them in his neck of the woods. He started watching the classifieds for the right truck, and found several, but they all needed a lot of rust repair (in Minnesota, go figure). Eventually, he found an ad in the Minnesota Street Rod Association LineChaser for the cab and clip that ultimately would become this truck.
The build started with the chassis. Bob kept the bare frame and trailing arms; the rest is aftermarket upgrades, including a Fatman front suspension package, moved 1 inches forward to center the tires and wheels in the wheelwells. The front coil springs were cut 1 inches to set ride height. The steering box was replaced with a power rack-and-pinion, with a shortened column from a '75 Chevy van. The 3.08:1 rearend is from a '78 Nova. Springs are out of a Geo Metro, that Bob says, "work great." Chevy Rally wheels--measuring 15x7 and 15x8 with 3 inches of backspacing--roll on P205/70R15 and P235/75R15 radials from Twin City Tire. Eleven-inch front disc brakes and rear drums do the stopping. The aftermarket 18-gallon gas tank was mounted in the rear.
An Edelbrock 600-cfm four-barrel carburetor on a Trans-Dapt spacer and Edelbrock Performer manifold get that gas to the Chevy 350 engine--bored 0.030 over to 355 ci--where it's lit by an MSD HEI ignition. The engine compartment is lit pretty well too--by chrome valve covers, 10-inch air cleaner, and headers reflecting all that ivory paint. Magnum Rebuilders put together the engine, which is backed up by a Hurst-shifted Chevy four-speed from a '67 Chevelle.
Minnesota rust has a big appetite, but the cab--originally from California--was fairly rust free, and Bob got to the sheetmetal before the climate did, shaving door handles, emblems, and factory brightwork. He designed and hand-built the custom grille insert, from 1 x1/8 aluminum bar stock, and extended the headlight housings into the grille shell to eliminate the gap.
To create his custom big-window, Bob removed the inner panel from his cab ("the point of no return," he says), cut an opening and filled it with the panel from a junkyard cab. It fit the first time, he said, although the first piece of fresh glass didn't survive the install; the second piece did.
The short Fleetside bed was found in Forman, North Dakota, where it was being used as a trailer. The tailgate, punched with 210 louvers, is from a St. Peter, Minnesota, swap meet, and the hood was louvered to match. The plywood bed floor isn't exactly exotic, but it's tough enough for carrying cargo to and from the swap meet. Yes, Bob uses the truck as a truck.
Robert modified the inside as nicely as the outside. The dash and steering wheel are both '59 Chevy Impala components, and big attention getters. The dash had been hanging in Bob's garage, waiting for the right application. Don Groff handled the transplant, widening the dash four inches in the center and shaving off all unwanted accessories. Bob added all the gauges, provided by Classis Instruments. Keith Peterson installed the Ron Francis wiring kit. The split bench seat came out of a '90 Silverado. When the pickup was ready for paint, it went to Bob Fulmer at The Works in Fridley, Minnesota, who shot the metallic blue and ivory, both custom colors.
Bob is already thinking about his next truck project--a '37 GMC that has been sitting in storage since the Eisenhower administration. While that's underway, he'll be driving his Chevy--cruising it on the streets of Bloomington, showing it at the rod runs and car shows in his area, and putting it to work when there are parts to haul home from the junkyard.