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1973 Chevy C10 Buildup - The Pickup Fix-Up Tour

Part I: Weird People, Bad Food, And A Helluva Good 14-Day Road Trip

Mike Finnegan
Mar 1, 2010
Photographers: Mike Finnegan
In our never-ending quest to one-up our friends and their trucks, we've forgotten the real reason we live this crazy lifestyle. The passion to have the biggest rims, lowest stance, and loudest paintjob has clouded our judgment. These days, guys take more pride in the buildup of their truck than they do in actually driving them. It's as if building the craziest truck on earth, no matter how many years it stops you from getting out there and using it, has taken precedence over actually rollin' the boulevard in your beater. We're just as guilty as the next guy of enjoying one side of the hobby and not the other, but we finally made a change this summer.
Photo 2/9   |   I bought this truck because it's a shortbed, it's old enough to not require an annual smog inspection in California, and it only cost me $1,000. If you think this looks bad, keep in mind that these pictures were taken after I threw away the old front sheetmetal and replaced it with parts I bought off an '84 Suburban that was for sale on Craigslist.
This truck is a total bucket and I promised myself that this would be a driver, a truck that looks cool but that doesn't need a winning lotto ticket to finance the build. Paint would be just nice enough to drive to a truck show, but mediocre enough that I won't be tempted to enter the show and waste time polishing my way to a trophy. This is a cruiser, a truck to throw parts into the bed of, a truck that I can roll the boulevard with my wife and dog without worrying about paint chips, bent rims, and all of those other annoyances that might stop me from cruising it. How serious am I about it? Serious enough that I put this truck together in less than a month and drove cross country in it.
Picture this: two dudes from California with a willingness to do almost anything, driving a semi-roadworthy brown, tan, black, white and grey standard cab Chevy C10 across 4,600 miles of open road in the heat of summer. Our plan was simple: 14 days on the road in search of good times and a few gearheads willing to turn the Brown Bomber into a legitimate custom truck. What could possibly go wrong?
I hatched this plan in my office after a conversation with Corey Scott from Kustomwerx Autobody in Conroe, Texas. I told him that I didn't want to build a show truck. I wanted a daily driver that looked and performed like a vintage Trans Am-series racecar, specifically the old Sunoco/Penske '69 Camaro that Mark Donohue drove to the championship that same year. He said that if I showed up ready to work on my bucket and gave him 4 days, that together we could straighten it out and spray a coat of primer over the thing so that it no longer looked like four-year-olds tagged it with water colors. How could I refuse? Working behind a desk at a magazine for the last eight years meant that I had plenty of fingerprints left on my hands to sand off.
But, if I was going to go to Texas, I figured I might as well go all the way to Tennessee for a truck show. What better show to go to than Relaxed Atmosphere's All-Star Event? And if I was going to a truck show, then why not fix the truck up as I drove along, because not only would that be a challenge, but it would give me an excuse to take a few detours and see old friends. It would also force me to keep the build simple and achievable. I needed a partner in crime and amazingly my friend and coworker Calin Head agreed to ride shotgun during the trip.
It was settled then. I called a few other friends to help fix up the truck during the road trip between California and Tennessee, and Calin and I got to work on the truck to get it road-worthy. After all, when the plan was put into motion, the truck didn't even run and we were leaving in a few short weeks. This is the Pickup Fix-Up Tour.



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