Just when you think you've seen it all, something stops you in your tracks. It's tough these days to do something different and make it look good. Let's face it: Just about everything that can be done has been done to the automobile, and that includes classic trucks. Nevertheless, we (and you) push on and shake things up just when things seem a little stale.
When we caught up to David at the recent 2009 Columbus Goodguys show, he had been thrashing with the help of friends to get the C-10 done after all these years and as you can see, they made it. David would like to thank Andy Cook, Tim Strange, Shawn Ray, Shane Souba, and Joe Turk for their hard work. Job well done!
Case in point: David Neal's '68 C-10. This truck blends many traditional C-10 good looks with a healthy dose of out-of-the-box ideas-but not too far out. David wanted to build a truck that had some extensive body modifications done to it, so that you might second guess yourself if you didn't know for certain. It would take almost a decade for David to accomplish his vision.
David started on the '68 back in 2001 with the rough idea of how he wanted it. At that point he didn't have all the skills he needed to make some of these things happen, but that didn't stop him from trying. It was this persistence that would help him learn the things he needed along the way. The top chop, for instance. David figures he went through three or four cabs before getting it right. That might be a waste of sheetmetal to some, but to David it was the price of real world, hands-on experience that would help him hone these new skills and ideas. That and good old-fashioned help from friends like Joe Turk as well as Gary Brown from Brown's Metal Mods in Indy. Gary gave David the idea to lean the tailgate forward to match the trim angle in the front fenders-which is much easier said than done. But after that train of thought went around, they also agreed that the back of the cab would look good leaned forward as well. Next up was a body drop and raising the '88-98 Chevy bed floor to clear the frame and the 24-inch painted Centerline wheels.
You might be wondering how the C-10 can sit so low over such big wheels and tires. This didn't happen overnight either. David built a complete new frame from the firewall back using 2x4 3/16-inch wall tubing that would incorporate a custom three-link rear suspension setup to locate the 12-bolt. He also built a cantilever rocker system to mount the Air Lift 27c 'bags and get an amazing amount of lift and a reportedly soft ride at ride height. In the front, he raised the stock crossmember up to lower the truck even more and installed a set of dropped control arms.
David has realized in recent years the benefit of a modern drivetrain and incorporated the engine and transmission from an '01 Chevy truck into the '68. The little, but mighty 5.3L LS engine is fairly stock save for the LS6 Corvette camshaft, but it plays well with the 4L60E trans that was joined to it at the factory and gives David a powerful, worry-free, and economical gas pedal. David built a custom exhaust system using many 2 1/2-inch diameter mandrel U-bends that snake through the chassis and incorporate a pair of Flowmaster mufflers.
In the end, after all the sheetmetal and bodywork that was done, Shane Souba laid down the PPG white and "Dub City Model" yellow paint. The effect of a truck with so much done to it while not wearing much bright work- save for the stock polished grille and side trim, and the '69 Camaro hubcaps-and still retaining such a stock-ish look at first glance is pretty cool. Of course, the truck is anything but stock and David went far from OE for the interior. He made the custom dash out of sheetmetal and filled the interesting shape with a group of white-face Auto Meter gauges. The stock seat got new foam and was upholstered by Jerry at A1 Auto Upholstery in Bartonville, Illinois, in tan Ultraleather. The Alpine stereo was installed by Andy Cook while the custom speaker pods were made by Brain Bong and Dan Condre.