As it turns out, having your cake and eating it, too, is entirely possible with some creativity. All you have to do is bite off more than you can chew, and then just start chewing!
Paul Karp already had his hands full with another project that was progressing quite nicely, but he wasn’t about to drive it to work every day. As he tells it, “I own a 1966 C10 which I had been working on for a couple of years and had gotten it to the point where I really enjoyed driving it as much as possible. Leaving for work with it in the driveway every morning sparked an idea of building my next service truck [Paul is a plumbing contractor] from a first gen C10. A friend of mine, Deon Flores, had acquired a 3/4-ton ‘66 GMC with no bed and a ’91 work truck with an all-aluminum service bed. I purchased the bed and the truck, and that’s when the idea and process of building a real service truck started.”
This project is all the sweeter for Paul since he wasn’t always able to focus his attention on extra projects of any kind. Not having a lot of free time or money during his young adult years meant that he would have to find other ways to express his interest in custom trucks. And eventually, that interest would manifest itself into one of the hottest new truck shows to hit the West Coast.
“I have loved the automotive world since I was a kid. I played with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, but my wife and I had kids at a young age, so I wasn’t able to afford to spend on the hobby. Once my kids were older, I dove deep into the world of C10s when I bought my ‘66 short fleetside in 2017. It was all over after that. I found my home and never looked back. I founded the C10 Club Central Coast, CA a couple of years later after learning about the C10 Club through social media, forums, and print media that featured the logo on so many bad ass trucks. After founding the Central Coast chapter of the C10 Club, I was asked to host events to raise awareness of the club and help solidify us as an active part of the community. That was when the idea of the C10 SLO Down was born, and it’s been nonstop ever since!”
Now fully immersed in the culture and already busy with his first C10 project, Paul was ready to tackle that ‘66 GMC 2500 and turn it into a fully functional service truck that could hang with new trucks while attracting more looks than any late-model ever could! The early stages definitely revealed some surprises, including some of the truck’s history.
“When I started taking the truck apart, I was high-temp pressure washing it when the paint on the frame and the engine compartment started to peel away. What was revealed was a definite surprise – there was olive drab green on everything! The springs, shocks, frame, firewall, inside the cab… everything! It turns out that before it was an RV, it had been a military truck and was retired shortly after the GM body change and purchased by the person that had put it in vacation mode.”
With the truck being used to carrying heavy loads its whole life, it was certainly up to the task of being a plumbing service truck, but it definitely needed some help in the looks department. To that end, the GMC received an air suspension using a combination of Air Lift, Belltech, and CPP products, matched with a set of 20-inch Coys C-33 wheels with custom baby moon caps in low-profile weight-rated Nitto tires to liven up the stance.
Once the utility bed was mounted and the customized ladder rack installed, Deon sprayed the GM Fathom Green Metallic paint, with Aaron Cribbs of AC Vintage Design coming through with the signage and striping. Now that the “public relations” and “marketing” aspects were on point, Paul brought Mike Castro into the mix to work his upholstery magic with the interior, which included covering the factory bench seat with black high strength canvas and vinyl. Lombards Stereo then came through with an amazing sounding audio setup using a Pioneer head unit, Addictive Audio amplifier, and Addictive Audio speakers.
We think it’s fair to say that Paul probably has one of the raddest service trucks out there, ticking all of the coolness boxes: vintage style, killer attitude, and with a sound system that definitely helps pass the time while on the highway. So, is Paul done with his GMC, or does he have more in store for it? According to him, the truck just needs one small update to make it a bit more daily-driver friendly: an LS swap to replace the 350 that is currently in the truck. If you live anywhere between Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara, don’t be surprised if you start seeing even more of Paul’s GMC as he makes his service calls, and you’ll definitely be seeing it at the next C10 SLO Down!
PAUL KARP • ‘66 GMC 2500
- Early ‘90s Chevy 350 engine assembled by Larry Mason
- Summit Racing K1102 camshaft and lifters kit
- Edelbrock 1406 600-CFM carburetor
- MSD Street Fire ignition and plug wires
- 2.5-inch exhaust with Black Widow Venom 250 mufflers
- 2003 GM 4L60E transmission assembled by Randy Loshbaugh
- TCI transmission controller
- 2003 GM 10-bolt rear end w/disc brakes
- Custom axle flip kit
- CPP C-notch
- Air Lift airbags front and rear
- Ridetech rear shocks
- Belltech front shocks
- CPP drop spindles w/disc brakes
- Upgraded power steering
- 20-inch Coys C-33 wheels with painted baby moon caps
- 235/55R20 Nitto NT421Q tires
- Custom-mounted aluminum plumbing service bed by Sean Ulry at Sharc Welding
- Shaved antenna
- Filled drip rails
- Stepside tailgate modified to fit service bed
- PPG GM Fathom Green Metallic paint by Deon Flores
- Lettering and striping by Aaron Cribbs/AC Vintage Design
- Black high strength canvas/vinyl upholstery by Mike Castro
- Forever Sharp Muscle steering wheel
- Lokar 23-inch shifter
- Audio system by Lombards Stereo
- Pioneer AVH-3500NEX head unit
- Audio Dynamics K1800.6 amplifier
- Addictive Audio Hydro HCX6 6x8 front speakers
- Addictive Audio Bassix 6-inch subwoofers