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Joe Graves saved this knee knocker from it's previous life down on the farm.

by Joe Graves

We love it when an owner steps in and tells the story of their build. Joe Graves reached out to us a few months ago about his ‘63 C10 project that was just wrapping up. When we found out he lived within shouting distance of our favorite photographer in the greater Phoenix area, Brian Goude, it was only natural that we set up a beautiful Arizona sunset photo shoot. Without further ado, here’s Joe’s story… 

‘63 Chevy C10 – “After attending Good Guys Southwest Nationals in the fall of 2019, I spotted a 1963 big window in cherry red. I called the number on the for sale sign, only to be disappointed that the truck had sold. But my interest was piqued. I was a truck enthusiast and had owned an older Chevy previously. I attended car shows on the regular, and knew body styles and my favorite years and models. But for some reason, this truck had captured my daydreams in the days after the show. 

After scouring Craigslist, a diamond in the rough appeared in a town a few hours away. I drove up after work from the hospital one evening, completed a quick test drive, and became the proud owner of a 1963 Chevrolet C10 big window long bed pickup. It had seen better days, and been through it’s fair share of owner modifications through the years – different shades of blue primer coated the outside, worn bucket seats from a 90’s pickup adorned the inside, but she drove… and sparked something creative inside me that would become my project of a lifetime. 

That night, we trailered it to Mark Postula’s home in Prescott, Arizona where the fun began. A complete inspection commenced, but I was adamant that I wanted to keep the truck as it was. A classic that had some miles, but that I wouldn’t worry about scratching or parking in a tough part of town. So after only a few weeks and some upgrades, the truck came home and I loved driving around. But I quickly saw the potential for my vision to come to life. And I decided that this would become what you see today. A custom classic truck with a stock appearance, but many unique and special modern details.” 

‘50 Harley Davidson Panhead – “While on the hunt for a 1967 Ford Econoline van in a neighboring subdivision, a friend alerted me to one in the backyard of a house that seemed abandoned. He had made several attempts through the years, but no one ever came to the door, there were never lights on, or a car in the driveway. Not heeding my friend’s warning, I decided to stop by out of the blue and give it a try myself. To my surprise, on my first attempt, a burly man named Mark (nickname “Animal”) answered the door and asked what the hell I wanted. I asked if he would be interested in selling that hippie van in his backyard and much to my surprise, he told me to come back on Saturday and promptly slammed the door. Like a kid getting the first glimpse at the Christmas toy catalog, I immediately called my friend to make plans to return on Saturday and eagerly counted down the days. 

Saturday finally arrived. As we walked through the front door, we immediately noticed signed photos of motorcycle racers covering Mark’s living room walls. When he caught our wandering eyes, he explained that he raced for many years and even owned a local chopper shop here in Arizona. I knew it was a longshot, but like any motorcycle enthusiast, I had to ask the question if Mark happened to have any old Harley parts. Much to my surprise, he had a wide grin when he told me about a 1950 Panhead he had in his garage. 

With the van a fleeting thought in our minds, we quickly followed Mark as he led us to the garage. He flipped on the light, but there was no motorcycle – was Mark messing with us? He saw our smiles fade and quickly pointed out that the engine was underneath his workbench, and the frame and transmission were over there under a blanket with some boxes. This 1950 Harley Davidson Panhead basket case had seen better days. 

Mark had been in a motorcycle accident and had plans with the insurance money to bring her back to life. This was evident with the boxes and boxes of brand new parts scattered across his workbench. Unfortunately, his health declined and the rebuild just never happened. Mark shared the title with me, proving it was a 1950 Harley Davidson Panhead. But the biggest surprise came when I asked if he would be interested in selling; he shot out a number. 

About a week later, after much thought, I stopped by Mark’s house with a cartoon sketch of my vision for the bike and made a counter-offer. We shook and after selling an old bike of mine at Born Free Bike Show in California a few month’s later, I made the final payment to Mark and brought Lola home in pieces to start the process of my dream build. 

I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Although it wasn’t known to me at the time, if I wouldn’t have knocked on his door, Mark wouldn’t have been unable to pay his back taxes due to his fixed income. From there on, we developed a friendship where my wife would bring Mark meals to check-in, while I shared the progress of the build with him. He even came over to my house to do a mock-up after all the parts were collected. To this day, we still are in touch.”

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