The title of this feature tells it all. There’s not another C10 like this one anywhere, and it required a bunch of imagination and a lot of work to make it that way.
Running across Cornell and Cheryl Woosley’s ’68 C10 at the NSRA Nationals this past season was an awesome surprise. From a distance the pickup looked like a run-of-the-mill hot rod driver--one that deserved a closer look and a few photos for event coverage. The closer I got though, the more I spotted the custom touches that make Cornell’s longbed C10 a one-of-a-kind creation. Sure, it sports hot rod suede, wheels more often seen on a street rod than a truck, and a generous helping of old-school pinstriping, but as you’ve more than likely noticed by now those initial observations are but the icing on a what is perhaps one of the coolest most subtle custom C10s I’ve ever seen.
Cornell’s pickup came into being as a potential project for the classroom. Cornell teaches autobody repair at Kentucky State Reformatory and had been looking for a truck that’d help him in his quest to help his students learn a trade. He found this well-worn former longbed in the yard of a local bottled water plant and talked the truck’s original owner into letting him and his students have a crack at fixing it up. The process started with the installation of the few common patch panels that trucks of this age normally require, like rockers, fender bottoms, and doorskins. During the course of these repairs the gent who owned the truck at the time asked Cornell if he and the students might be interested in doing more than just repairing the rust. Cornell said sure, and began to make some suggestions in that respect.
Cornell took the opportunity to coach his crew in the art of converting a relatively late-model pickup into a traditionally inspired hot rod truck. The project began by removing the truck’s 8-foot bed and cutting out the rotted portions of the cab. He then cut and shortened the frame by 17 inches and installed the needed patch panels on the cab, all except for the cab corners, which were removed but not replaced (you’ll soon learn why). The bed itself was then cut and shortened 7 inches behind the wheelwells and 10 inches at the front. The front bedwall was left off of the bed at the cut line, and the newly shortened bed slid back onto the frame and forward. The rear cab wall then served as the front wall of the bed, and the front edges of the bedsides brought right up to the rear of the door openings. The bedsides were then welded and blended into the cab forming a custom Chevy version of a Ford Unibody-style (one-piece cab ’n’ bed) pickup. As if that wasn’t enough, Cornell next cut off the cab roof and reworked it so it was 6 inches longer than stock--forming an integral sunvisor over the top of the windshield. Next, he removed the hood centerline, filled the side marker lamp openings, fabricated custom one-piece taillights, shaved all the emblems, and smoothed the firewall.
With the exterior customization complete Cornell turned his attention to the interior. He’d found and retrieved a dashboard assembly from a ’57 Chevy passenger car at a local boneyard and carted it back to the classroom where he and his students cut it into three sections and reassembled it to fit the pickup cab. They also reworked the inner doors so that they and the dash flowed into each other. The inner and outer door handles, the steering wheel, and the emblems on the rear bedsides were also pirated from the ’57. It was right around this point that the truck’s owner lost interest and sold the project to Cornell. With the major portions of the bodywork completed and its lessons learned, Cornell took the truck back to his home shop and began the finishing touches on his own.