Well, I’ve been threatening to do it for a year now, and it just so happened that the stars aligned and I bit the bullet. Yup, I bought another project. But this time, I’m going to do things differently. Instead of getting caught up in the moment and tearing into it blindly, I’m going to sit back and plan this one out. It’s not getting blown apart and I refuse to take it down to the bare frame. Hell, I don’t want to pull the motor or even touch the wiring on this one.
No, the object of this project is to do something a bit more homegrown; A more realistic project that is closer to what us guys with full-time jobs and families have the time and money for. Something you can get in and drive to work in the morning and wrench on at night and get up and do it again tomorrow. We’re gonna keep the upgrades short and sweet and plot the time it takes so that you guys have an idea of what you may be facing when it comes time to do the same projects on your own truck. And while we’re doing it, we’re gonna have fun! Ain’t that what it’s all about anyways?
But enough about that, here’s what you guys really care about . . .
I was scouring the local classifieds recently, as I’d been casually looking for the past few months, for something that was unmolested, running, and driving in decent shape and found a couple candidates but nothing that was a super steal. Most of the stuff I found had already been upgraded or was outside my meager budget. What I really wanted to find was a bone stocker that I could tear apart and work on in the magazine to show that it doesn’t take forty grand to build something cool.
I ran across a local ad for a ’68 Chevy C10 longbed truck for $2,500 and thought it was at least worth a look. I called the owner on a Friday afternoon and asked when would be a good time to come and have a look. “You can come now if you want”, was his response. I figured that I didn’t have anything better to do so I soon set out, trying to beat the rapidly setting sun.
I arrived to find the truck just as it appeared in the ad; a little worse for wear, but all in all, it was in great shape. Upon further inspection, it turned out that it still had the stock 307ci V-8 and Saginaw three-on-the-tree, stock suspension, and drum brakes at all four corners. Manual steering, which was a bummer, but we’re gonna upgrade that anyways, right?! The paint was in typical beater shape and there were a few dents here and there, perfect for doing a hammer/dolly story! Inside, the cab was clean for a 40-plus-year-old truck, with the usual wear and tear. The seat was in decent shape, as was the floor mat. The dash pad was cracked and needed replacing; but all the gauges and switches worked, right down to the turn signals and dome light. Fired up, the little V-8 ran like a clock and a quick spin around the block yielded that the brakes worked great, suspension was tight, and the trans shifted fine. “Sounds like a good foundation to build upon,” I thought. We agreed upon a price slightly under the asking amount and soon I was off riding into the sunset with my newest acquisition.
And like any car guy high on his new project, I couldn’t leave well enough alone for more than five minutes and was soon scouring the catalogs getting ideas on how to upgrade this and update that. I decided that what I really needed was a rough rendering so I could play out my ideas visually and put my limited Photoshop skills to work. I figured a set of wheels and tires, a few minor body upgrades, and a suspension kit would get the job done aesthetically speaking, while the stock 307 will get an external overhaul and the Saginaw will get replaced by an overdrive to make the truck a true cruiser.
I’ve got a ton of plans for the old girl, probably more than I can get done in the next year, but I’m gonna hit the ground running and by the time you read this, it’ll be well on its way. Stay tuned next month as I give the truck a once-over and reveal some of the things to look for and to keep in mind when looking for a project of your own.
Oh yeah, and for those who were wondering…it’s gonna stay a longbed…for now! CCT