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The Journey of One Truck

There are few shortcuts to do a major restoration/modification of a vintage vehicle, if you want to do it properly.

The first step involves disassembly of hundreds of components, body panels, and items that may or may not be used in the finished product. So it is with this 1972 Chevy C10 which began life in the small town of Manning, Iowa, which our story begins. The original owner was closely associated with the former Manning Motor Company, a typical small town Chevy dealer that operated the same as thousands of dealers across the country.

The truck was purchased by a part owner of the dealership and he used it as his regular driver until he passed in the late 1980s. The truck was used occasionally but sat for many years with a family member's intention to restore it. Before that restoration could be completed, the truck was sold to another person who also wanted to restore it to its former glory, but as is the story with many restorations, limited time and money made it apparent it would never be completed.

Terry Van Dyke, Auto Collision Technology program instructor, found the truck in 2020 just south of Sioux City, Iowa of Facebook Marketplace and made arrangements to take a trailer to the location in hopes of making a purchase. The deal was made and the truck sat on the Hawkeye Community College campus, covered in a tarp until 2022, when work began in earnest and students got their first look at the program's upcoming project.

Disassembly commenced with students getting the opportunity to deal with rusty nuts, bolts, and fasteners to get the truck torn down to its frame, sheet metal, and suspension/steering components. The drivetrain was pulled from its mounts and pushed aside as every part that would be needed for reassembly was organized and prepared for refinishing.

"Taking something this complex apart is an excellent teaching tool," explained Terry, "as many students never get the chance to completely disassemble a vehicle. Fighting through corroded components and stubborn fasteners while maintaining the parts needed to get the truck back together takes good organization and problem solving."

The truck was worked into class schedules, but it still was slow going before all that remained was the rolling chassis and a pile of sheet metal, most of which was going to be reused during the truck's build.

C10 Trucks were essentially work vehicles and come with options that were meant to make work easier, including the size of the rear truck bed. This one had the common long bed most trucks had to allow for essential hauling space. But this truck was destined to find its bed shortened, one of the key features of today's contemporary resto mod trucks. "The truck needs a short box," said Terry. So he went to work shortening the frame to accept a new box and showed students th process of getting the frame prepped for its new bed.

The truck was wearing some paint that had been applied on the interior and firewall areas, but otherwise had only primer. All sheet metal was stripped, the bed sides replaced with new (shorter) sheet metal from AMD and the NOS tailgate was fitted. Some sheet metal areas, particularly on the doors, lower cab areas, and front fenders, had rust damage that had been repaired, but required a more professional refinish. "We've removed much of that initial repair work and will get those areas back to solid metal."

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