A good deal of project trucks are often purchased sight unseen from across the country from sellers who are perfect strangers. Whether the transaction is facilitated through an auction site or a classified listing, there are a lot of things left in the dark when shopping for a classic pickup remotely.
While analyzing batches of photos and scrutinizing written descriptions can help paint some kind of picture of that not-so-local truck you’ve been looking to pull the trigger on, nothing beats being able to see a truck right there in front of you. Depending on location, local buys are becoming fewer and further between, but are always the preferred method of deciding on a pre-owned truck of any vintage.
Terry Bowen, of Dallas, North Carolina, not only had the unique pleasure of seeing this ’69 C10 in person before purchasing, he had been quite familiar with it over the years, as it had previously belonged to one of his best childhood friends, Ernie Burns.
“I’ve known Ernie since we were both in diapers”, Terry says about his longtime friendship. “His dad purchased this C10 back in ’77, and Ernie bought it to get his driver’s license in ’85, so I’ve known this truck well for a good chunk of my life.” Ernie tinkered on the truck non-stop over the years, and actually got pretty far with it. Having always admired the work Ernie had put in on the C10, Terry has always let it be known that if he ever decided he wanted to sell it, he would be right there with a handful of cash ready to buy it. Needless to say, the day finally dawned when this ’69 would finally change hands between these two truck-loving pals.
Even though Terry had always loved what Ernie had done with his C10, it was now his turn to put his own twist on the truck. Terry drove the truck in as-is condition for a couple months until he hit the first major roadblock. The SBC in the truck needed a complete rebuild but Terry’s bank account was still recovering from the truck purchase. His only option was to save up some money while limping around for a while until it finally gave out on him a year or so later down the line.
Terry then called on Kin Puckett, who owned a mechanic shop in town, to help break the failed engine down before hunting and building up a refreshed 400 SBC to plant back underneath the hood. While some might find this turn of events a significant setback, Terry looked at it as great learning experience, as he still had a lot to familiarize himself with engine and transmission work at that point.
Riding a wave of productivity, Terry then turned his focus on the C10’s suspension and braking systems. To lower the ’69, Terry ordered all the static drop components he’d need from CPP, and ended up with a 5/7 stance, which is a pretty decent slam for an old Chevy like this. To fill up as much fender gap as possible, Terry called on Britt Myers at CS Motorsports in Gastonia, NC to place an order for a set of staggered 20-inch Billet Specialties wheels and performance rubber in Pirelli P Zero tires. Upgraded CPP braking parts were also assembled add improved stopping power to this C10’s new and exciting modification list.
With so much changing for the better, Terry sought out a shop that could assist with some bodywork and take care of a few odds and ends to push the C10 even further. Jason Mode of New Creations in Lattimore, NC, was more than willing to jump on the opportunity to join the project. The first order of business was to move the fuel tank over a bit so Jason could install his shop’s own hidden taillight gas filler (which is super cool if you haven’t seen it yet). He then began upgrading all lighting housings over to brighter LEDs, as well as outfitting the engine with a ton of dress-up and performance products. On top of all that, Ronald Pope joined the team and shot the truck with metallic flaked Slate Grey paint to give the truck cool and sophisticated classic demeanor.
To continue capitalizing on the C10’s ever-growing inventory of high-end mods, Jason Mode once again flexed his creative muscle by taking on the C10’s entire interior space. Fresh, supple, leather upholstery now covers the bench seat, as well as the dash pad, one-ofa-kind door panels, headliner and floor. Fresh seat belts, crisp new tinted glass, a Dakota Digital gauge cluster, matching Billet Specialties steering wheel, and a literal wall of speakers behind the seat all come together to create a truly VIP in-cab experience.
Before Terry realized it, his C10 was completely tailored to fit his personal taste. Given that the truck had previously belonged to a lifelong friend, he took it as an opportunity to show his pal Ernie his appreciation for selling him the truck while giving the Chevy his own spin at the same time. With some help from a very talented supporting cast, Terry can now look forward to cruising his truck to local shows and enjoying all the hard work that was invested into the process for years to come.
Terry Bowen • ‘69 C10
- 1970 GM SBC 406CID
- Machine work by Bob Lane & Sons, Mt. Holly, NC / Assembled by Puckett Brothers, Stanley, NC
- Stock GM crankshaft
- Forged Keith Black pistons
- Clevite 77 bearings
- Molly low tension rings
- Comp Cams Mutha Thumpr camshaft
- Chevy angle plug Bowtie cylinder heads
- Double valve springs
- Edelbrock Performer EPS intake
- Holley Sniper EFI
- Aluminum finned air cleaner from Summit Racing
- 1969 GM 400 transmission by Tony Miller @ Miller Transmission
- JEG’s torque converter
- Stock GM chassis • CPP C-notch, 5 lug 5x5 kit, high-clearance sway bar, adjustable Panhard bar, springs and shocks, upper and lower tubular control arms, 2.5-inch drop spindles
- CPP big brake conversion w/ drilled and slotted rotors, proportioning valve
- Show Stopper hydroboost kit
- New plumbing, brake work and fuel lines by Jason Mode @ New Creations
- Lokar aluminum pedal assembly
- Flaming River steering column
- 20x8.5 and 20x10 Billet Specialties Vintec SLD89 wheels
- 255/40/20 and 295/40/20 Pirelli P Zero tires
- Slate Grey w/ metallic flake paint and bodywork by Ronald Pope, Stanley, NC