Most of us were lucky to have a friend in high school with a car, or at least access to one. At a tender age Nick Murguia knew what he wanted to be driving in a few years, so he set his sights on his grandpa's '71 Chevy Cheyenne Super-how's that for youthful wisdom?
Grandpa Roberto Nava bought the Chevy brand new and was going to trade it in for an '85 Silverado, but at 5 years old Nick said he wanted it, so Grandpa promised it to him that day in '94, and when Nick turned 14 he got the keys for his birthday. After planning and dreaming for six months, Nick and his dad Javier tore into it without looking back. They decided to buy a 350 Vortec motor built by Leonard from Leonard's Mufflers (where we did the shoot) to swap out the gas-guzzling, brutish 396 for the time being while still holding onto the big-block. With that in mind the frame was disassembled and powdercoated black, and everything that went back on the chassis was rebuilt or replaced-there weren't going to be any corners cut! He bought a rebuilt steering box from Classic Performance Products as well as 2-inch dropped spindles. Roberto rebuilt the stock 3.73:1 12-bolt Posi that, along with the 700-R4, makes for some good cruising.
While the sheetmetal was at the body shop, Nick decided to go with the not-so-common pistachio yellow and white two-tone paint scheme instead of its original bronze and white just so the truck would be more unique. As a birthday present from Dad, Carlos Hernandez shot the tin, and after it was all dry the gang started in on the most demanding part of the build-reassembly! After the big stuff was back on the fresh frame, Nick was given the reins and finished off everything else when he wasn't in class at Cypress High School. Nick chose to put the stock interior back in the Cheyenne Super since it was still in great shape after all those years of Grandpa's care. He added a Lecarra steering wheel and a new padded dash to replace the old one, but that's about it.
Nick says firing that motor off for the first time was better than winning the lotto, and knowing his two and a half year project was finally on the road was the best day of his life. On the way to the Goodguys show in Del Mar, California, this year (where the '71 received a CLASSIC TRUCKS Top Ten Award), Nick was cruising alongside his dad in his black '58 Impala Convertible on the freeway. The two just looked at each other and smiled. It was then that Nick knew he was just like his dad-he was supposed to be building cars and trucks and proud of it!