The truck was only 2 years old when Fred Jones bought it in 1969. If you had told Fred that he would still be driving it half a century and half a million miles later, he probably would've laughed. Today, the fact that that's exactly what has happened might not make him laugh, but it certainly brings a smile to his face.
Fred purchased the 1967 C10 as a work truck. The first upgrade was a quick Camaro orange paintjob, which gave it its nickname: the Red Truck. He drove it for about 11 years, sharing it with his daughters while they were in high school. In the early 1980s, Fred lent the truck to his father to drive from Fred's home in Vista, California, to his own home in Arkansas. After a year had passed, Fred called his father to see if he'd forgotten to return the truck. His father said he'd rather keep it and Fred said OK (what would you have said?). Vernon Jones put a camper shell on it—and sometimes hitched an Airstream trailer to the rear—and drove the Red Truck all over, racking up hundreds of thousands of miles on trips from Arkansas to Alaska and practically every other point in the U.S.
After about 15 years, Vernon moved to Vista, bringing the Red Truck with him. By that time, the old work truck had acquired some wear and tear, a fair amount of rust, and about half a million miles. Some primary repairs were made to "un-Arkansas" the truck (as Fred puts it) while Fred waited for the time and money to do a full rebuild the right way. The right way took approximately three years and help from a lot of family and a few close friends, including Ernesto Torres, who provided assistance from start to finish, and Andy Walters who deserves special thanks.
Working with builder Ross Zie, Fred pulled the C10 body off the frame to have a go at the undercarriage. The stock Chevy chassis was modified with shorter custom shocks and springs to improve the profile and the ride. The truck's raring-to-go rake was enhanced with shortened front coils and pair of 2-inch drop spindles from Classic Performance Products. CPP also provided the power steering box as well as the front disc brakes; stocks drums are used in the rear. The rearend is the stock GM 12-bolt with 3.73:1 gearing.
Fred's choice of rollers started with a full set of 17-inch Intro billet wheels. The Twisted Vista II five-spokes are from the Exposed 5 Series, and were wrapped with Nitto NT450 radials measuring 225/50R17 in the front with 275/50R17s in back.
The Stepside body required a lot of attention to return it to the factory-fresh condition you see here. Picking the color for the Red Truck was easy. Fred heard about a skilled bodyman/painter named Luis through a friend. Luis replaced the rear fenders with '68 parts and added a new tailgate, and repaired every other piece of original steel by hand. After the sheetmetal was finished as straight as could be, Luis painted it, shooting the two-stage PPG Viper Red in Fred's barn.
Andy Felix at Andy's Auto Glass in Vista provided the new tinted glass. Larry Wilson, a cabinetmaker, recommended the Brazilian jarrah wood used for the bed floor, and cut each plank to make sure the grain was matching and consistent.
After four decades of service, the six-cylinder engine that had faithfully powered the truck was retired. In its place is a 383ci Chevy small-block built by Larry Godfrey. Not only does the engine provide plenty of power, it's dressed to impress, from the pulleys, master cylinder and booster to the billet air cleaner and valve covers. Air and fuel enter via a 670-cfm Holley Street Avenger on an Edelbrock manifold, and the exhaust departs through Sanderson cast headers. Zie added the steering system, radiator, and A/C. The factory three-speed was swapped for a column-shifted 700-R4 built by Kirk Tealy at Tri-City Transmission in Vista.
When it was ready for some attention to the interior, the Chevy was delivered to upholsterer Javier Ferrer, who used two-tone leather, a combination of tan and taupe, to cover the stock bench seat. Wilton wool carpeting was used on the cab floor. Replacement gauges from LMC Truck were installed in a 1972 Chevy dash by Ross Zie. An aftermarket tilt column is topped with a wooden Lecarra steering wheel. The dash houses the controls for the Vintage Air A/C and the Alpine head unit for the iPod compatible sound system, which includes JBL amps and Polk Audio speakers.
Fred's dad, Vernon, passed away before seeing the Red Truck rebuilt. Undoubtedly, he would have been impressed by the finished 1967 C10. Maybe he would have asked about borrowing it for a few hundred thousand more miles. Instead it's up to Fred to keep the odometer rolling, a responsibility he seems happy to fulfill.