1968 Chevrolet C20: Cart Tricks
Custom Horse- and Golf Carts Were the Catalysts for Building This Cummins-Powered Coal Cart
Diesel swaps of all sorts are wickedly popular these days. Enthusiasts change powerplants (from gas to diesel, or from one brand of oil-burner to another) for good reason, as diesels are quite powerful when built correctly. With that being said, having diesel power in a classic truck is not that big of a shock. In this instance, however, the vehicle is far from ordinary. The ’68 Chevrolet C20 featured on the following pages is a piece of rolling art that happens to function quite well with a diesel under its hood. At least that's how its owner, Jeremy Daeseleer, sees it.
One thing you are probably asking is how a vehicle like this comes to life. Well, the evolution of Jeremy’s 700hp C20 actually started with a 1hp vehicle. Of course, we’re not talking about a truck; the build began with a jog cart—a two-wheeled, horse-drawn cart.
Jeremy and his wife, Amanda, are all about training horses. To display his passion for her and the sport of showing horses, Jeremy restored a vintage Jerald Sulky jog cart. It turned out beautiful, but Amanda’s horse thought it was food and did some damage to it that had her very frustrated. Since they were demotivated at the time, the jog cart was traded for a golf cart that was formerly used at the Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. That cart was then tricked out with air ride and even had a stake bed.
However, tragedy struck again when a large truck ran into it and damaged the cart’s paint. It was traded for this truck, then known as “the Annoying Orange.” The ¾-ton longbed rig was bright orange and had a big-block Chevy gas engine under the hood. At that point, it was just a simple cruiser, but things were to change, as one of Jeremy’s buddies, Randy Johnson, found out a local shop needed a truck to work on for a TV show. Apparently, the shop’s scheduled ’53 Chevy burned in a fire and the crew needed something to work on ASAP.
Jeremy volunteered his truck for the build, and this is when its transformation into the Coal Cart (his name, not ours) began. The truck was outfitted with an Industrial Injection–built 5.9L Cummins engine with a 72mm Viper PhatShaft turbocharger and a 47RE four-speed automatic transmission. The body was also stripped to bare metal and the bed was cut down to a short version. The suspension was also dropped a bit, but the truck wasn’t nearly as low as it is now.
When Jeremy got the C20 back from the shop, it was only “TV ready” from an appearance standpoint, as the engine and transmission suffered catastrophic damage (in separate incidents).
Frustrated at the situation, Jeremy turned to Travis Pruis of CTP Concepts in Gardnerville, Nevada. Travis was able to encourage Jeremy to get his truck ready for the Lone Star Throwdown in Conroe, Texas. Once all the parts showed up, there were only 45 days before the big show.
With the drivetrain back in running order, the C20’s suspension was revamped with parts from CB Chassis Products. The stock front setup was swapped out for the company’s independent front suspension system with rack-and-pinion steering, while the rear frame was cut off behind the cab and CB’s custom backhalf with triangulated four-link was attached. The suspension utilizes a set of Slam Specialties airbags for a smooth ride and the ability to lay the truck on the ground when air is released from the system.
The interior is equipped with custom leather seats and Atomic Armadillo Metal Fab door panels. On the dash is a set of Classic Instruments gauges that helps Jeremy monitor the drivetrain vitals. To the right of the gauges are controls for the Vintage Air SureFit air-conditioning system and an AccuAir e-Level controller that manages the suspension. Below these accessories, a custom center console houses a B&M shifter along with AutoMeter Competition Instruments transmission temperature, boost, fuel pressure, and pyrometer gauges.
The exterior was kept in raw condition but upgraded a bit. In the front, a steel front pan with a handmade chin spoiler was added to replace the bumper. Moving up, the cowl hood was fabricated by welding on the side sections of a spare hood. In the back is a roll pan and a custom inner bed. The bed floor is comprised of reclaimed wood that was salvaged from an old barn.
When it was completed, this truck made a 4,500-mile round-trip to Texas and back—it’s no trailer queen. In fact, a few video clips of its maiden voyage went viral.
There is more to come. Jeremy tells us his next project is creating a lifted version of the truck. The plan is to haul horses with the C20, so he can marry both of his interests. We’re sure it will be another stunning ride, as Jeremy did a killer job picking up the pieces on this one and creating a truly unique rig.
Fast Facts:Year/Make/Model: ’68 Chevrolet C20
Owner: Jeremy Daeseleer
Hometown: Smith Valley, Nevada
Odometer: 25,000 miles
Engine: 5.9L Cummins I-6, ARP hardware, ported and polished heads
Fuel: FASS Fuel Systems 165-gph lift pump, 180hp injectors, Custom 11-gauge steel tank
Air: Industrial Injection 72mm Viper PhatShaft turbocharger, K&N Engineering filter, custom tubing, aluminum intercooler
Exhaust: 4-inch hood stack
Transmission: 47RE four-speed automatic, full manual valvebody by Power Driven Diesel, B&M shifter
Lubricants: Chevron Delo 15W-40 motor oil, Power Driven Diesel ATF
Horsepower: 700 hp
Torque: 1,400 lb-ft
Tires: 245/45R20 Firestone Firehawk (front); 305/55R20 Nitto 420S (rear)
Wheels: 20x9 (front) and 20x12 (rear) Fuel Maverick, modified Poverty caps
Suspension: CB Chassis Products independent front suspension, four-link (rear), splined sway bars (front/rear), Slam Specialties airbags, Ridetech shocks, AccuAir e-Level air management system, Viair compressors, RuffStuff Specialties disc brakes (rear)
Axles: ’86 Chevrolet 14-bolt rearend narrowed 10½ inches, floater kit, 3.73 gears, limited-slip differential, Moser axles
Body: Shortbed conversion, custom cowl hood, front and rear roll pans, reclaimed-barnwood bed, handmade chin spoiler, CPT Concepts rear wheel tubs, original scars, one-piece side windows, flush-fit back glass
Interior: Classic Instruments gauges, AutoMeter Competition Instruments gauges, custom seat, Atomic Armadillo Metal Fab door and kick panels, Vibro Solutions insulation, Vintage Air SureFit air-conditioning, Kicker speakers, Pioneer amplifier
Fun Fact: This ’68 Chevrolet C20’s journey started with a restored jog cart for horses. Jeremy would like to give special thanks to Travis Pruis at CTP Concepts, Hector Gordillo, and Ron and Amanda Young for the moral support and hand-delivered tasty sandwiches.