There are generally two types of folks when it comes to shopping for a project truck: those who look for the cheapest truck possible to eventually turn into the ride of their dreams (and often making some compromises in the process), and those who are willing to bide their time, waiting for the exact, perfect truck to eventually come up for sale, no matter the cost.
Josh Mason falls into the latter category. He had wanted to put a dually in his driveway for more than 25 years, but none that he came across ever did it for him. “I had plenty of chances to buy one over the years, but never found the right one. Until this one. A buddy’s brother decided to put this one up for sale and I bought it before he could list it. It appears it was never used as a truck because there wasn’t a single dent in the bed. I’d never seen a dually this clean, so I had to have it, and put my touch on it,” said Josh. This was also his quest to find the perfect squarebody dually to replace his last truck, a ‘78 C-10 known as “Grumpy” (titled as “Space Cowboy” on the cover of CK Truck Mag issue #2).
With just 78,000 original miles on the ‘86 Chevy C30 dubbed Thick-30, Josh says the truck still rides and drives like new, but of course he couldn’t just leave it completely stock! “I had to add my own touch to it and knock off that ‘Paw Paw’ look.” To that end, he dropped the truck with Belltech spindles and front springs, as well as a Tinworks axle flip kit for the rear. Belltech shocks help dampen each corner, and a Tinworks helper bag kit (with Air Lift management) keep the rear end in check when hauling. Josh also ordered up a set of custom cut, directional 22-inch dually wheels from Lowboy Motorsports, with Delinte DS8 265/35R22 tires added for clearance and the proper final stance.
A big draw for Josh was how immaculate the truck was, and that included the engine and drivetrain. So, as much as swapping in an LS would have made sense to most, the original 454 and Turbo 400 were just too pristine to not keep in service. If it ain’t broke, right? Because of this, the only modification made in this department was a custom 2.5-inch exhaust system that was fabbed up using Magnaflow mufflers.
Any other changes that were made were done to improve upon the truck without distracting from its original aesthetic. LED headlights were added for improved visibility and safety, a bed cover from Truxedo adds some security and protection to any loaded cargo, and a RetroSound Bluetooth stereo with Ground Zero and Rockford Fosgate speakers bring the music quality into the 21st century without looking out of place.
About the only thing beside the billet steering wheel that looks custom on the inside is the seating by Eric Roden at The Tread Shed, which was redone with sculpted foam and vinyl. Yes, the original upholstery was still in fine shape, but when you spend most of your time with your tush on the cush, it better be exactly to your liking!
And that, really, was the point of the whole build – to have a truck that was exactly how Josh wanted it, without compromise. The fact that it took more than 25 years to find the perfect platform was just part of the process for him, and while a major percentage of the truck remains original, not making certain changes just because of this originality would have indeed been a compromise of Josh’s vision. So, when asked what he would do differently if he had to do it over again, his reply was simple: “Nothing. I’ve done everything I set out to do.”
JOSH MASON • ‘86 C30
- Original 7.4L 454 Chevy engine
- Hooker long tube headers
- Custom 2.5-inch exhaust with Magnaflow mufflers
- Original Turbo 400 transmission
- Original Dana 70 rear end with 4:10 gearing
- Tinworks rear axle flip kit for 8-inch drop
- Tinworks helper bag kit
- Air Lift air management
- Belltech 3-inch drop spindles
- Belltech 3-inch lowering springs
- Belltech shocks all around, rear shock extenders from Switch Suspension
- 22-inch “Malibu” style wheels from Lowboy Motorsports
- Delinte DS8 265/35R22 tires
- Factory two-tone paint
- LED headlights
- Truxedo bed cover
- RetroSound Bluetooth head unit
- Pioneer 5-channel amplifier
- Ground Zero 6.5-inch speakers
- Rockford Fosgate 6x9 speakers
- Ground Zero 10-inch subwoofers
- ACC carpet kit
- Reshaped and reupholstered factory seats by Eric Roden/The Thread Shed