We get quite a few submissions from all of you loyal readers across the country and even worldwide for our Classic Cruisers column. While they are all important, we only have so much space here to share them with the rest of you. There are reasons some make it and some don't, and it is loosely based on what kind of trucks we've recently run, just like our features. For those who don't make it into the magazine, it is usually because the photography is unusable, i.e. blurry, badly lit, unflattering backgrounds or reflections, not enough photos or information, and the most common email submission mistake: sending images whose file size is too small.
Regardless, we occasionally get stand-out entries that just seem to deserve a bit more due to the quality of the truck, the human interest aspect, or both. We haven't had a DIY feature in quite a while, but we thought we'd share Robin Crowder's story about his '71 Chevy. His dad James bought the Dark Blue CST C-10 longbed brand new and immediately topped it with a camper shell and loaded up his wife, Frieda, and son to go camping and fishing. This was a common occurrence for the Crowder family, and the Chevy was soon considered an important member, too, safely carrying them on many a vacation and more weekend adventures as the years passed. All of these family activities were done in comfort because James had ordered his truck with a factory 402 big-block, four-season air conditioning, tinted glass, heavy front and rear springs, front sway bar, power steering, and an AM pushbutton radio.
Like most proud truck owners, James stuck by his truck for many years, but when he was getting ready to retire in 1992, he talked about selling the '71, which frightened Robin since he basically grew up in it. A deal was made between the father and son, and the very next week Robin found himself tearing the truck apart for a well-deserved complete rebuild. By the end of the week, it was in just about as many pieces as it could be. The build would be a big learning experience for Robin, and soon-like many-life took over and Robin got married and built a house, amongst other things more pressing than the Chevy. But in the end, the truck got its turn.
Aside from just returning the '71 back to its former glory, Robin added rare factory bucket seats and matching console, an original tilt column, a tach to the OE gauge cluster, and a few other custom touches like putting black walnut veneer in the lower body trim and interior. The chrome plating was done by Advance Plating in Nashville, Tennessee, and includes such items as the heavy-duty 12-bolt rearend.
Since the truck's completion, father and son Crowder have had a blast both driving and showing the truck around the Midwest and even picking up some trophies along the way. One of the neat things about "Dad's '71" is that James kept the original check he wrote to pay for the truck, the factory build sheet, Protect-O-Plate, and every registration slip from when it was new. They had all this matted and framed to show along with the truck, which makes for quite the history lesson for interested onlookers. Sounds like the Crowders are still having some pretty cool family activities after all these years.