Young truck enthusiasts are the future of our hobby and it's refreshing to witness first-hand when they grab the proverbial bull by the horns when taking on their very first build. For 18-year-old Drew Gale of Somers, Connecticut, his journey got started four years ago when he first became infatuated with a tattered 1963 Chevy C80 dump truck serving as a workhorse on his family's farm. The old behemoth possessed just the right amounts of brute power, classic good looks, and charisma to make his young mind grab hold and not let go. When looking deep into what made it tick he was particularly smitten by its 348ci V-8 and often hoped to transplant it into a smaller C10 model from the mid 1960s.
Seeing his son's devotion to pursuing a potential project, John Gale wasted no time in getting involved. At age 14, Drew and his dad first took on the task of pulling the vintage V-8 from the C80 and followed up by beginning the search for a suitable truck to accept the transplant. To get started and learn to understand the mechanics of what made trucks tick, he purchased a 1964 Chevy C10 Stepside (for one dollar) that had long ago succumbed to the ravages of harsh New England winters. The old wreck was the perfect medium for a young teen to get his hands dirty as he started to disassemble it as a learning tool.
Once Drew was comfortable with the knowledge he gained from the exercise, the pair began a serious search for a donor truck. Used to seeing vehicles eaten away from winter road salt, they focused on looking for a rust-free truck to start with. Scouring the classified ads they finally came upon a 1966 C10 recently brought to their area from Texas. Upon checking it out they confirmed that it was an original longbed with factory A/C and six-cylinder power with a three-on-the-tree. Seeing that it was mostly untouched and noting its minor shortcomings, a deal was made and it was brought to their home shop to evaluate. Drew envisioned a cool street truck with just enough attitude to serve as a perfect cruiser to drive to high school when he got his license. How cool is that?
Taking on a new project for the first time, Drew and John spent plenty of hours disassembling their new find and slowly began the process of rebuilding it. Wanting to meet the goal of Drew having the truck ready for his senior year it was obvious that they would need help to complete the build. One weekend while attending a local swap meet in search of parts, they met up with the team from a new local shop, New England Speed & Custom from their hometown of Somers. They immediately hit it off with the team of Howie Coro, Josh Wilson, Matt Firestone, and Dale Wilson who were devout traditionalists and passionate trucks. The group got together at the Gales' home shop to review the progress the pair had made and to add their creative ideas to the project.
Shortly after, the truck was transferred to NESC for the build to continue. With the truck already in pieces their first focus was on the original frame. Since the stock spine was rust free it was blasted clean and powdercoated in satin black. Seeing that the truck would need a much lower stance, a pair of LMC Truck 4-inch drop coil springs were added to the stock rear suspension along with Belltech Nitro Drop 2 shocks, a Classic Performance Products antisway bar, and GM 10-bolt rear packed with 3.73:1 gears to transfer the power.
Up front, the refurbished IFS got its nose in the dirt thanks to a combination of LMC Truck 2½-inch drop spindles combined with matching 2-inch drop coil springs, and Belltech Nitro Drop 2 shocks, while a Classic Performance Products antiroll bar completes the mix. To update the braking system, a firewall-mounted Classic Performance Products chrome dual master with 9-inch booster pushes fluid through stainless lines to stock drums out back and a CPP 11-inch disc conversion up front complete with two-piston calipers to tame the beast. Wanting to give the hauler a classic style, 15-inch steelies from The Wheelsmith were capped with big 'n' little Coker Classic wide whitewall rollers.
Remember the old 348ci mill that Drew and John exhumed from the C80 with hopes of transplanting into the project? Well the costs for the rebuild far exceeded Drew's current budget, so it was put on hold and a '79 350ci V-8 recently plucked from a former police car came into play. The engine was sent over to Mark Eastwood at Eastwood's Auto Machine in nearby Somersville to get the full treatment.