The truck was abandoned and rotting in a field when Rick and Patty Thomas of Hesperia, California, came across it. At the time, they had been looking to purchase a nearby piece of property a few miles from their home. While looking at the land, they saw a '64 Chevy C10 sitting in the middle of a field covered in overgrown weeds. Rick made a comment jokingly to the realtor, asking how much the truck was, and the realtor said $250.
The C10 was all there except for a couple of minor things. So before purchasing it Rick wrote down the VIN and plate number, and had some of his cop friends run it. That night Rick told his 18-year-old son, Steve, that they had found the C10, and the condition it was in. Steve was really excited about the project truck. The C10 came up with a clean record, so they paid the realtor and towed it out of there. Since the Chevy was no longer in the system, the lien sale paperwork was filled out, and the truck was now in the family.
Rick owns and operates R-T Welding and Fabrication, where they make custom engine kits to upgrade old diesel motors to the newer more environmental-friendly diesel motors on heavy equipment and buses. Rick said that they prototype the engine kits on location, because some of these heavy-duty vehicles are too big to drive down a normal road. So taking on something like the C10 wouldn't be as difficult, because of Rick's experience and the tools at his shop.
Everything sounds easy on paper but once the headaches of building a custom truck hit home, Steve decided it was too much for him to handle. Rick, however, still thought the C10 would be something he would enjoy building, so he purchased the truck off his son and continued on the 17-month build.
Rick originally wanted to build the truck within a year, but with all the cool things he wanted to do, the process took a little longer. The C10 came with a straight-six with three on the tree, and the first thing Rick wanted to do was put something big underhood. A GM Performance Parts 572 big-block was ordered, and Rick fabricated custom motor mounts to move the engine forward and up to make room for his custom headers. Rick has made headers before but this set was slightly different, because they were handmade using his mandrel bender and the huge 2.25-inch tubing with 4.5-inch collectors. Moving down from the massive headers Rick reduced from 4.5-inch collectors to a custom mandrel-bent dual 3-inch exhaust and Thrush mufflers to tame some of the big-block noise. This thing sounds like a monster that wants out of its cage.
A TH400 transmission was built by Delgado Transmissions of Phelan and strengthened with no corners cut. A 2,200-stall converter was also installed to help tame the giant motor. Rick wanted to put in a custom two-piece driveshaft so he made a one-off center mount and bearing to support it. A Dana 60 was pulled out of a heavy-duty truck and chopped down to fit the massive 15x15 Weld wheels. The axle was beefed up by O & R 4 Wheel Drive Center in Bloomington.
Since the wheels and tires of choice were so enormous Rick had to make new wheeltubs to cover the wheels, so he fabricated it to match the lines of the one-off bed he made. Check out the cutouts for the rear coilover shocks. The tailgate chains were also removed, and Rich custom made a hidden latch and strut assembly for a clean look.
Before Rick painted the truck he went to a few car shows and decided that the typical red, yellow, or blue paintjobs you see on C10s wouldn't work for him. Rick wanted something that would be very understated when it came to the paint and let the details of his fabrication really shine. This truck may not shine but the ingenuity of a do-it-yourselfer like Rick made this Chevy stand out.