It may be good for advertising and recognition, but let’s face it, we’ve come to the conclusion that when someone wants to build a shop truck it’s because there isn’t a better excuse to add to one’s list of toys! It’s the quintessential “two birds with one stone” metaphor. For John Newberry of Pittsburgh, Kansas, he had three key reasons.
At the time, John was a fireman and on the side he ran a fire extinguisher and supplies company. He figured what better piece of advertising is there than a Chevy C10 pickup? Beyond that, his youngest son Adam was eager to learn the ropes of the automotive world and John figured this would be a perfect project for the duo. And if all that wasn’t enough, well John just straight up wanted one! So as John pondered, it was decided that his rock wasn’t gonna kill two birds so much as it was going to take down a whole flock!
Armed with an arsenal of motives, John and his son set out to look for a candidate. It turned out they didn’t need to look far because not far from their hometown they found exactly what they were after—a ’69 Chevy C10 shortbed. Things were falling into place so fast it seemed they’d be on the road in months. However, as fate would have it, John and his son Adam’s dream of building the ’69 came to a screeching halt when Adam perished in an auto accident.
As anyone could imagine John was devastated, and the very thought of working on the truck was just another painful reminder of what could have been. But through time and healing John rose to sing a new tune. What better way to fulfill Adam’s dream than for him to see the project through, and that’s exactly what he did.
With the ’69 torn to the ground John literally and metaphorically picked up the pieces and forged ahead. From the beginning the plan was to keep the truck as low as possible, while retaining maximum driving conditions. Therefore, the sandblasted frame first received a rear C-notch and lowered rear springs. Then the C10 was then hit with 3-inch lowering springs coupled with Belltech 2½-inch drop spindles up front, slamming the truck to the ground.
The rest of the chassis components were left status quo, but not before things were rebuilt and freshened up. The tired motor was tossed for a Lonestar Machine-built ’68 327. The 327 was completely overhauled and given a shot in the arm with a Comp Cams thumper cam, Edelbrock Performer intake manifold, and Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor. An MSD ignition, along with dozens of dress-up parts also found their way into the engine’s new look. Because John was adamant about maintaining a low-slung static drop, and keeping long-tube headers, he searched high and low until he found the perfect fit—a set of Doug’s headers. From there the exhaust was finished off with a Flowmaster kit. An ’86 700-R4 transmission with a B&M converter and tranny cooler were mated up.
John grew up admiring the looks of the ’67-72 C10s and never really wanted to change much about them. Yet, that doesn’t mean things can’t be refined. As you look over John’s truck you will see all sorts of minor tweaks that are both obvious, as well as inconspicuous. Part of the obvious is the fact just about anything and everything that could be shaved clean was wiped away.
Things such as the shaved driprails, welded cab seam, removal of the rocker pinch welds and various other touches are those that even the untrained eye may not catch at first. With metalwork dialed in John shifted focus to color. What he came up with is a lustrous DuPont Sunset Orange Metallic that was laid down by Sharp Auto Body there in Pittsburgh.
The unique color is one that not only dances with the sun as it changes hues, but when coupled with fresh chrome, a billet grille, and American Racing Torq Thrust II’s (surrounded in Nitto NTS rubber 245/45ZR17s in front and 245/45ZR18s in the rear) it’s to die for. The crowning touch to the whole ensemble is the unique exhaust ports, which were inspired by John’s fire background. While stocking the shelves at his extinguisher store John noticed the polished aluminum fire extinguishers and right away he knew he had something. A retaining ring was fabricated, and the rest as they say is history. Inside the bed John employed several other unusual touches, including molded inner rear fenders and a polyurethane gym floor covering for the bed.
As you move inside the cab you’ll notice that John once again didn’t pull any punches. For starters the dash was shaved clean and a polished Dolphin insert, with matching gauges, was rested in place. Next, OZ Custom Upholstery went to town on building the custom console and upholstering the cut Lexus bucket seats in gray leather. But again, like the exterior, it’s a simple touch that has the cab looking way classy.
John matched the leather’s color with a satin gray paint and sprayed the entire cab in it. The ominous unsuspecting color is the perfect complement to the boisterous outside finish. Although things may have not turned out like John had initially anticipated, one thing is for sure—Adam would have loved to take this ’69 out on a Saturday night and nothing would have made dad more proud!