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Swamp Thang

by Scott Mason

Stephen Williams’ Crusty 1964 Has Been Wreckin’ the Internet

When the average person sees an old truck rotting away, they take it for just that. It’s just a used up, once-loved trinket of days gone by. What was once eye candy is now an eyesore to a fair share of our society. Out with the old garbage and in with the new. Rinse and repeat.

Thankfully, that’s not the case for our buddy, Stephen Williams of Allardt, Tennessee. When he spotted this crusty ‘64 C10 on Craigslist a couple states away, he immediately had a vision of the build he had been cooking in his head. The truck he had in his crosshairs was a worn and weathered long bed that had been loved for decades by previous owners, but was in need of a new caretaker.

Stephen handed over a modest stack of bills and proceeded to take his new diamond-in-the-rough home to present to the family. At the time, his now 4-year-old son Jakob was in the midst of a full-blown obsession with the Disney movie Ralph Breaks the Internet, and immediately christened the truck as “Ralph”. Little did he know, Ralph was going to be breakin’ necks sooner than later.

Ralph went into surgery almost immediately upon arrival at the Williams’ operating room. The cab and bed were pulled off the chassis so Stephen could get busy stripping the frame down to the bare essentials. GSI Machine and Fab supplied the complete front air ride crossmember kit as well as the complete rear back half frame rail and suspension kit and rear-mount EFI fuel tank. Lifelong friend, Elliott Broyles, masterfully TIG welded the back half kit to the chassis to take it to the next level. Stephen bent and plumbed all new fuel, brake, and air lines for the entire chassis. Once the entire assembly was mocked up in its complete state, everything was broken down and sent for fresh powder coat at Volunteer Coating in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Once the chassis returned with its new finish, Stephen lowered the BTR cammed 6.0L LS engine and 4L80E trans with billet 3,200RPM stall Circle D converter between the front rails. Dave Cooper of Jamestown, Tennessee, fabricated a great sounding 2-1/2” stainless exhaust system with Magnaflow mufflers and Hooker ceramic coated manifolds. A black-finished Holley mid-mount accessory drive keeps the front side of the engine tidy while handling air conditioning, charging, and power steering duties.

Up front, a rack and pinion steering setup provides a modern feel and keeps the wheels pointed in the perfect direction. Out back, a Quick Performance posi unit loaded with 3.73 gears fills the stock 12-bolt rear axle which is suspended by a GSI 4-link kit with billet Watts link. An AccuAir e-Level system manages ride height via an ENDO CVT 5-gallon 4-corner tank plumbed with 3/8” aluminum hard lines.

At all 4 corners, huge Wilwood disk brakes help bring Ralph to a halt quite quickly. 14” front and 13” rear rotors are clamped by massive 6-piston calipers. Doing their best to frame all of that Wilwood goodness, is a set of gorgeous Budnik Knife forged wheels, 22×8.5 in the front and 22×10 rear. 255/30ZR22 front and 265/35ZR22 rear Lexani tires grip the tarmac.

Inside the cab is a mix of old and new. The perfectly-aged dash houses industry standard Dakota Digital RTX gauges and Old Air Products climate control system. Chris Snowden of Snowden Seats created the custom diamond-stitched seat and door panels, providing a tidy and stylish look that suits the truck perfectly.

Although the cab and bed appear to be the product of nearly 60 years of Mother Nature’s finest aging, there’s more than meets the eye. Local craftsman Gary Dale West shrunk the long bedsides down to an arguably more attractive short length. Russell Cunningham of Rusbuilt Street Rods knocked out the impeccable rust repair on the front fenders. He also recreated and blended the patina covering both the fender repairs and the bedside circumcision scars. Brand new Mar-K exterior trim adds a just the right amount of bling. 

Under the hood, Hart Fab tubs, radiator support panels, and firewall panels were added to create a stunning backdrop for that 6.0L. Richard Voiles of Allardt, Tennessee, bodyworked and painted all of the underhood sheetmetal. The bed floor was raised 6” with a 1” x 1” steel tube frame built by Stephen and Zac Cooper. Hart Fab bed tubs flank the lift-up center bed floor which allows access to the driveline, air management, batteries, and fuel tank.

When we caught up with Stephen and Ralph at the C10 Fall Revival in Oakboro, North Carolina, last October, it was great to see them doing what they love to do – driving to events, enjoying the scenery, and hanging with friends. We couldn’t have said it any better than Stephen, “This truck was built to drive and definitely gets plenty of smiles per gallon.” That’s what it’s all about.

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