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Old 04-04-2023, 11:11 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Rockwell, NC
Posts: 39,712
Todays Spotlight is on 71CHEVYSHORTBED402

Todays spotlight is on 71CHEVYSHORTBED402 and here is his story

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I purchased my 71 C-10 Custom Deluxe in 1989, and am the second owner. The original owner special ordered it locally with an interest in recreation. The truck had everything from a boat launching hitch to a CB, fifth wheel, camper, step bumper, saddle tanks and camper mirrors. He even ordered leaf springs, so that with a SWB makes this frame very rare. Rare doesnít mean desirable, itís about impossible to obtain bumper brackets for this frame. For the poor soul☺ who he needs them, a good set of OEM ďcoil springĒ brackets are a good start for welds, cuts and re-drill. Those are the set with shorter inner brackets. Bumper placement approx. 8Ē behind the frame rail should about do it, at least for a sport bumper.

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Never mind I had very little knowledge of Chevy, I knew near nothing about mechanics when I bought this truck. I wasnít exposed to it, and to some extent feared doing things Iíd never done before. 4-5K in tools & materials later Iíve learned so much. I only knew the truck was cool with something called a big block. It was parked on a corner of the main drag, inside my old territory. Literally, I had a paper route or two as a kid. I know the area so well even my ex-wife worked a few doors down for many years. Heck I was chased by a dog two doors down, you got to watch out for some white labs man, a good Schwinn bike does the trick though. That tiny car lot is so small it remains a car lot 10 business names later, the space is otherwise useless.
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Old 04-04-2023, 11:13 AM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Rockwell, NC
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The truck was my daily driver the first 2-3 years, until about when I burned up the engine. Yeah, it was at the shop for radiator & blew a bearing and oil pump on start? Hmmm! Well I was fired earlier that very same day, for govt. abuse on their part. I picked the wrong day to quit smoking turns out, and my Sheba died two days later.

After having lost my job only to find a better one later, I had a month to R&R the engine, which was led by my old buddy. I gunned the engine bay all black in 5-28 degrees, all outdoors. It actually held up to extent, and it sure looked bad too. I had to remove paint from everything for this restoration; even the evap. case was hit. The exterior had been painted beforehand too and nothing was spared, what a disaster.

A reputable guy named Mickey rebuilt the engine in 1993, installed with heads off a 68 396 Camaro if I remember right. He said the original heads had been gone through? All I know is when I bought the truck it had about 94K & died 6K later, and the heads are an improvement. He did a bang up job less I lost a heat stove, though I didnít have the pipe anyway.

After the rebuild the truck became a garage queen, though I used it for landscape projects to the tune of maybe 200 tons of material. After a long wait I found a bed 9-10 years ago, it was located just 10 minutes from me. That was a $1200 bed swap, the old bed was toast well before my projects. I got a nice front bumper & reusable park light out of the deal too.

The engine doesnít burn oil, and the oil crystal clear, and after 40K miles the block still runs like a top. So the engine wasnít rebuilt for this beyond a chain, pump & balancer. All else has been rebuilt or is new. Pretty close anyway, I think I reused a relay or two for example, and I only cleaned the wiper & pump to see full operation for the first time since Iíve owned the truck, vinegar is your friend through the pump, just clean all of it out. Iím sweating start-up badly; the motor has been asleep maybe six years now. What a bummer to have to pull it after a restoration, I worry too much.

After having restored most of this truck I recognized it was primarily unmolested when I bought it for $2800, including the papers, owners manual and such. It was important I give it an honest restoration, I like vintage a lot. That required so much research. The good members of 67-72 Chevy guided me through much of it. This rebuild is with primarily original parts with exception of say a 1975ish Delco HEI, 10SI alt., Delco Mini-starter, heads as mentioned, though they look the same. I added an OEM expansion tank, and the moldings are an upgrade with the deluxe paint job, sport mirrors and bumper. Other than that I introduced some 68-71 Corvette material for such things as a fat ball antenna mast, and Witek band clamps as opposed tower clamps for water hoses, all original parts.

For many years, everyone, EVERYONE said NO, DONíT PAINT IT OCHREÖ..NEVER! The only exception to that were the painter, and his wife who I worked with. Sheís how I met the painter, Josh. Now those left say wow, Iím sure glad you painted this Ochre☺. My mom always said it would be nice no matter the color, but she felt Ochre was proof I was colored blind. I wish she and others lost could see it. She used to ask why it was taking so long.

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Old 04-04-2023, 11:18 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Rockwell, NC
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I initially thought Iíd be able to ďrestore this truckĒ to the tune of 18K☺ 70-75K dollars and many thousands of hours later it should roll about July 2022. I got into the game 6-7 years ago when nice OEM parts were still somewhat plentiful. Thatís not so much the case anymore, timing is everything. But Iím unlucky to be wrapping this up under a COVID economy. Things that would otherwise take months have taken over a year, and as of this writing 3/27/22, I still need glass.

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I even bought a truck for my truck. Itís in a rough & rusty state, but somehow proved a great resource of rare detailed parts when in needed them, a match made in heaven. Iím lucky that way sometimes, even the license plate reads 400 like the badges on said donor, howíd that happen?

Iím developing a manual & kit for how to build a GM from the ground up as well. My long & former profession lent itself to authoring it, but Iíd say this is my best work. The difficult part was I did not know what most of the parts were called; and everything I handled was a new experience. The manual is an accumulation of details one wonít find elsewhere, and the process written in engineering format to the 5th grade level, so to speak. Itís straight forward in other terms, and just doesnít ramble on like I do☺; it should finish at 80-83 pages.

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The body & painter for this truck was a god-send, I honestly couldnít have done this without him. Heís excellent; as meticulous as they come, and heís has taken this project to heart. Heís done far more than body & paint; he led the dry run and molding placements too. During the dry-run we discovered the truck had been approx. T-boned. Just the RH door fitment required five hours of his attention and my moral support, a bent A-pillar will do that. Thanks to Josh, the door fits better than new.
I look forward to the end of this project, once in a life-time was enough, and I wouldnít do this again if paid. Iím sure glad to have had the opportunity though; things just fall into place sometimes, this truck is now a family heirloom. Closing this will become another major chapter experienced during my life of late. Over the last four years I retired, divorced, and I lost so many. I saw colors in others for far too long we can all live without, and now am able to do that. COVID chaos meant nothing to me compared to what I experienced in 2019-2021. But blessings remain high, my children are GREAT, I have my health & options, and a new gal too. Sheís a real red-head, thatís new to me as well, oh my!

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