January 2007 On The Floor - Fun and Games
The photo accompanying my column is a perfect reflection of this issue's theme. I'm the guy on the right, and the other stooges are two of my best friends, Mike Kim (center) and Brian Busby (left). That photo was taken at the very startof my project '67 Chevy C10 buildup, just a few hours after we rolled the truck into the shop. This moment captured on film-sorry, memory card-marks the peak of our fun during the three months it took us to take my dilapidated 6-lug, straight-axle, iron small-block-powered Chevy and turn it into something wonderful. During that time period, we sold the stock frame, built our own, crafted a completely new independent rear suspension, mounted an aluminum LS2 small-block between the 'rails, and finally set the whole thing on the pavement with airbags. We accomplished quite a lot, working nearly every night and weekend.
It wasn't all good times, though. My work life became stressful, because I was coming into the office early each day and leaving early for the shop to work on the truck. My camera and tripod became a permanent fixture next to the truck, as I photographed each step of the build for future tech articles that you'll soon get to read about. I spent every lunch hour on the phone or the freeway, chasing down parts. This made it difficult to keep the magazine on track, but thankfully, I work with the best employees in the industry, so you still had something cool to read about each month. Aside from the toll all of this took on myself at work and at home-my wife forgot my name at one point-building the truck was also back-breaking work. Remember, I spend most of my time behind a desk, so my clothes tend to stay clean and only my fingers hurt from typing. To date, the build has destroyed 18 of my T-shirts and all of my socks-because I like to wear shorts while I grind and weld steel when its 110 degrees out.
Mike and I can both weld-his skill with a TIG torch leaves me feeling just plain retarded, though-and our egos occasionally got in the way of making progress on the truck. The two of us are also perfectionists in some regard, and we obsessed over the tiniest of details, which tends to delay things, like, say, working. During those months, Brian was like the country of Switzerland, staying neutral, level-headed, and cutting right through the B.S., so that we could stay on track and not kill each other. There were also a lot of laughs during this short, three-month build, but the truck's got a long way to go before it can ever be considered done, which is why I can say that the start, when this photo was taken, was the epitome of our good times.
The start of any project is just as important as the finish. The day we ripped my truck apart, we had big dreams, and I had a small wallet. After we plotted and planned the way we wanted the chassis to look, how low the truck was going to roll down the road, and how to fit the motor and wheels into that plan, we sat in the empty cab-on milk crates, if I remember correctly-and basked in the glory of our unfinished creation. You can't see our eyes, thanks to the sunglasses, but right then, Brian was thinking "Holy crap, what did we get ourselves into?" Mike is imagining all the women that will flock around him at truck shows once they find out he designed that trick rear suspension in a CAD program and then expertly TIG-welded it together. And that look on my face is simply that of a man trying to steer around all the potential potholes, like running out of money, that can easily derail any truck project.
I'm sure a lot of you have had the same dreams, dramas, and triumphs with your own project trucks. If you have a photo that illustrates that ideal, send it to me. I'd love to see what the rest of you crazies look like at the very moment where you begin to dream big or when you realize you're in over your head. See ya next month.