We've all seen the trucks at shows that have mirrors underneath them to show off a spotless undercarriage, a paintjob that probably cost half of what most of us make in a year, and chrome on everything you could possibly put chrome on. But you've got to ask yourself, how much of it is practical? Do those kinds of trucks ever get driven more than just on and off a trailer? In other words, what's the point of spending a mint on something that just goes to shows?
Greg LaGro is a guy who knows that putting some miles on your labor of love is what makes the effort worthwhile. Some years back, a few friends told him he needed to get a hot rod. After kicking around the idea, he thought it'd be fun to fix something up. Upon finding a basket case '67 C10 at a transmission shop, Greg came across what was to be his future project. He always liked the smooth lines of this particular year and called a friend up to bounce the idea of buying it off him. His friend told him to check and see if it was a five-lug, 12-bolt rearend with disc brakes. It had all the necessary hardware, and Greg took possession.
The first order of business was just putting the truck back together. Greg and friend Lucky Costa made this happen, and although it was somewhat practical as a driver, it was quite the rattle box. A couple of years went by and Greg got tired of watching it sit more than driving it, and decided to tear it back apart and start over. Greg isn't a flashy kind of guy and his truck speaks to this. The bottom line in the restoration was that it had to be practical, simple, and powerful.
In Greg's search for someone who could help him with the restoration, everyone he asked kept referring him to Sammy Head. Greg was a little gun-shy about approaching Sammy about the build at first. As a kid, he'd ride his bike past Sammy's shop and was a bit intimidated by the man, but enough time had passed that he mustered enough courage to pull in one day and hit Sammy up. The two became fast friends and Greg had a partner for the build.
The first step was tearing it back down. After that had been done, Greg took it to the painter and brought the frame back home so he could drop the engine in and have his friend Doug Holmberg mock up the exhaust. Greg took out the original 396 and told his buddy Curt Hooker that he wanted something big with a bit of a lope to it. Curt happened to have a '70 454 and knew exactly how to meet Greg's specifications. It was punched 0.060-over, fitted with an Edelbrock Air-Gap, Holley 650, Isky hydraulic roller, and JE pistons and attached to a Turbo 400 tranny.
After it came back from the body shop, Greg brought it home and he and Sammy went to work on it. For stance, Greg wanted to go low without slamming it. He went old school by cutting the front and rear coil springs. Although the truck started life as a Stepside, Greg wanted to go with a smoother look and replaced the stock fenders with ones off a Fleetside. The emblems were removed and it was shot in Cadillac Escalade Green. The truck sits on 15x10 Chevy rally wheels and the gas tank was moved to the rear of the frame to even out the weight distribution. A roll pan was placed in the back and the rear bumper was removed to keep with the no-frills, no flashiness direction of the build. Not much is out of the ordinary on the inside, and that's how Greg likes it. A different seat covered in black vinyl, black carpet, Vega G.T. steering wheel, and Pioneer stereo was all Greg felt the truck needed.
So the next time you're at a show and see something that looks like Fort Knox on wheels, ask yourself if the thing even gets more than 50 miles a year put on it. Half the fun comes from driving it. If you're not doing that, it's sort of like marrying a Playboy bunny and having separate beds. Just ask Greg LaGro and he'll tell you the same thing.