Reinventing a High-Profile Feature Truck
You may recognize this particular truck by a few of its notable custom characteristics, but then again, there may be higher probability that this is the first time you’ve laid eyes on this ’67 C10. If you fall into the latter category, don’t fret – this Chevy pickup has had its fair share of time in the limelight before, but its new owner, AJ Schwichtenberg, has made a few personalized changes that may prove to make it unrecognizable to the vast majority. Now, before anyone throws any shade AJ’s way prematurely, just realize that his changes were done so in the name of putting the truck on the road more, and turning heads in a way that would be all new territory for this once wildly popular Chevy pickup.
First off, allow us to congratulate the most astute truck aficionados in the crowd who instantly recognized this C10 for what it used to be – a bright orange painted, ‘bagged beauty that once went by the name “Tootsie.” Ah, now, that should ring those bells of familiarity. As you can see, a lot has changed. There has been a total aesthetic overhaul as AJ has done away with the ‘bagged stance, and has gone another direction with QA1 coil-overs. This is the single facet of the rebuild that might cause the most uproar from onlookers, but AJ’s reasoning behind the change-up was simple – he wanted to autocross the truck like a madman, and truly felt the existing suspension system, as impressive as it used to be, had to be altered to achieve his new goals.
The next glaring change to this ’67 is the paint. The rich DuPont Orange color was buffed over with a much more subdued black hue from PPG While the suspension and exterior alterations have been drastic enough to disguise the previous identity of AJ’s C10, there are still a lot of modifications that remain the same from the original build. The Intro Flagstaff wheels are still present, as is the finely crafted bed and interior space. AJ did, however, continue to mix things up under the hood with a fresh Chevy LS engine that puts out 615hp to the rear tires.
That power, along with the newly introduced coil-overs, make for the exact truck he had envisioned when he first bought it. And just how did AJ acquire such a truck, you may ask? “I purchased the famous Tootsie C10 at Barrett Jackson two years ago” AJ answers. “I fell in love with the one-off Porterbuilt chassis, but I knew that I could turn it into the kind of truck that would look like it was doing Mach 9 at the curb.”
Not everybody would purchase a truck of Tootsie’s caliber with plans to change so much of what made it so cool to begin with, but the level of respect AJ has for the craftsmanship featured in the original build made for an ideal platform for him to expand upon. “We all love being in the weeds, but it’s also nice to jump in a rig and just go”, he admits. “Sometimes, believe it or not, I just don’t have time to wait for the air to build up.”
To make the transition, AJ relied heavily on members of his team at Good Fellows Classic Cars to help turn the popular show truck into a legit street machine that would soon take on a whole persona and set of accomplishments to check off. The entire phase took a solid year but AJ is a veteran in the custom car game, so he knew exactly what he wanted out of his new truck, and exactly how to get there.
Would you change up a truck that had as much going for it as Tootsie? A lot of folks out there would say “no” without hesitation. But for a guy like AJ, who has grown up around customs and has spent so much of his life building cars to suit his lifestyle, there was no other way around making the C10 his own. “I’d have to say that this truck has the most amount of high quality parts on about any vehicle I’ve ever owned”, he says. “It looks good, it performs good, it stops good – I couldn’t be happier with how it came out.”
While there is so much to say about flippin’ the script on a previously featured ride that has received so much attention and has gained quite a following of admirers, it all boils down to doing what feels right. AJ had nothing but love for Tootsie, or else he wouldn’t have bought it – and Barrett Jackson prices aren’t exactly cheap. He simply appreciated the truck for what it was and saw the potential to tailor the C10 to be a perfect fit – for him.
Obviously, speed and performance mean a lot to AJ, and the level of excitement he’s experiencing with his ‘67 is downright inspirational. “This truck lays flat on any road course, and when you stick it, it goes like the roadrunner with a rocket on his back.” Now, that sounds pretty fast, and when pressed for additional description of his truck’s newfound agility, AJ went on to say; “the truck seems to be happiest when it’s drifting sideways at top speed, smoke rolling, motor crackling like good rock and roll – racing has never been so much fun!”
How can you not feel motivated by enthusiastic feedback like that? Light those tires up, AJ!