There’s something to be said about building a truck to meet very stringent deadlines. We hear the stressful stories about prepping a vehicle for SEMA or some other big event from independent builders and shop owners alike. While these types of projects seem to be highly rewarding when completed, the amount of long, sleepless nights and burnt-out nerves must be taxing for those heavily involved in the process.
Not all truck builds have to be accompanied by high levels of stress. In fact, there are some therapeutic qualities to be had during a laid back, at-home build that doesn’t have any strings tied to sponsorships or time limits. Steve Richey of Sand Springs, Oklahoma comes from the unique experience of understanding both sides of the fence. He has put together a few complete trucks in his time with full interiors and exquisite paint jobs – magazine-worthy, trophy-pulling projects in other words. While he enjoyed every minute of seeing these builds through from start to finish, he has always valued doing things on a much smaller scale in the quiet setting of his own garage. This is the coasting speed we are here to break down and discuss here today.
Over the last 5 years, Steve has been wrenching away on this ’68 C10 during his spare time. With the exception of the stainless-steel exhaust system and a few other odds and ends, he has blown it apart and put it all back together again with his own hands. When he first found the truck, it was parked behind a house that was completely littered with trash and rubbish throughout. After inquiring about purchasing the truck from its previous owner, Steve came to find out that the truck started life as a parts truck at a dealership during the late 60’s up until 1982 when it was parked and forgotten about for the most part. It wasn’t until 2013 when Steve rescued it finally started giving it TLC that was very much needed to bring it back to life.
Once Steve got the truck in his garage, he started working on reworking the entire chassis. The frame was soon outfitted with front and rear Porterbuilt Extreme Dropmember systems along with McGaughy’s spindles, Mustang power rack and pinion steering and Firestone ‘bags combined with KYB shocks at each corner. Once all the parts were test fit and plumbed, they entire chassis and components were sent out for powdercoating for a clean, matte black finish that would not only improve its look but offer protection from corrosion throughout the years. Wilwood 11-inch brake kits including a master cylinder and proportioning valve were then thrown into the mix, as were 20×8 and 20×10 Billet Specialties Legacy G wheels and Toyo rubber to give the C10 a renewed outlook on a future back on the road.
To assist in giving the C10 its exciting new lease on life, Steve then began the process of clearing out the engine bay to make room for a brand-new GM 350ci crate engine that has been properly upgraded and outfitted to look right at home underneath the hood. The engine block was ground smooth and painted Hugger Orange for a cool, throwback appearance, which was taken even further with the inclusion of an air cleaner and aluminum valve covers from a ’69 Z28 Camaro. From there, the 350 was souped up with a Billet Specialties V-Trac pulley system, polished ram horn headers and a full exhaust system that RPL Customs fabricated and finished off with MagnaFlow mufflers. The estimated 300hp that is produced with this setup is more than enough power than Steve needs, as he was looking to build a comfortable yet capable cruiser out of the ’68.
One thing that Steve wanted to do specifically with this project was to hold on to the truck’s natural patina. Since the other trucks he has built in the past have all been fully painted, he was looking forward to embracing the naturally weathered look that he also enjoys. This C10 was originally equipped with a long bed when he found it, but he converted it down to a short box to better satisfy his personal taste. All the welds from the transition were grounded smooth and left exposed so the areas could age naturally to match the rest of the truck’s exterior. While the bed was being altered, the bed floor was raised a full 10 inches to accommodate for the truck’s much lower stance when aired out.
The factory exterior chrome parts and pieces such as both bumpers, mirrors and door handles have been cleaned and shined up, they are all original to the ’68. Nice paint does go a long way to finish out a custom build, but there’s just something about keeping a genuinely worn appearance that requires years of exposure to perfect. Not one painted surface succumbs to the elements the same, which gives the truck a variety of wear across the hood, roof and along the bed sides. This natural visual effect directly led to the appropriate nickname ‘Tan Lines’ that Steve has affectionately given to his Chevy.
A different approach was used inside the cab than with the exterior. Roger Lynsky of RPL Customs again helped Steve out by wrapping the original seat frame and door panels with saddle and brown colored Naugahyde upholstery. A supple dash pad was also created to soften up the appearance of the dash which has been stuffed with modern accoutrements in the way of Dakota Digital gauges, a Vintage Air control panel that orchestrates the A/C and heat settings, as well as a wrapped Billet Specialties Outlaw steering wheel for a touch of class. Cushy ACC carpeting and Lokar pedals finish off the lowkey luxurious renovation within the cab space that gives the truck an elevated feel when it’s time to cruise.
Steve took a very relaxed route to building this truck in his downtime, but he still addressed each modification with the care of a top tier project. To drive that point home, his patina clad C10 has taken home the Builders Choice award at the 2023 Goodguys Lone Star Nationals event, as well as a Top 10 nod at the ’23 C10 Nationals show and Media Pick Truck of the Year honors! A lot of hard work and quality execution has gone into Steve’s part-time project, and he has had a great run showing it off during its first show season. We’ll be watching to see what’s next to emerge from Steve’s home-based custom lab.
STEVE RICHEY • ‘68 C10
- GM 350ci V-8 crate engine
- Edelbrock water pump and 600 cfm carburetor
- Spal electric fan
- Aluminum radiator
- Power Master alternator
- Aluminum 1969 Z28 valve covers and air cleaner
- HEI ignition
- Taylor wires
- Polished ram horn headers
- Stainless steel 2.5-inch RPL Customs exhaust system
- MagnaFlow mufflers
- Billet Specialties V-Track pulley system powdercoated black
- Block, intake, water pump and heads ground smooth and painted Hugger Orange
- 1968 Chevy Turbo 350 transmission
- Porter Built Extreme front and rear Dropmember kits
- Stock floor body drop
- Bed floor raised 10 inches
- Wheel tubs stretched, and bolts hidden by Keith Stephens AKA n2billet
- Stainless steel brake lines
- McGaughy’s spindles
- Mustang rack and pinion steering
- Firestone air bags
- KYB shocks
- Boyd’s fuel tank
- Ididit steering column
- Speedway Motors axles
- Chassis and suspension components powdercoated matte black
- Wilwood 11-inch brakes, master cylinder and proportioning valve
- 20x8 and 20x10 Billet Specialties Legacy G wheels
- Toyo tires
- Long bed converted to short bed
- Welds ground smoothed and left exposed
- Natural patina finish
- Dakota Digital gauges
- DynaMat insulation
- Vintage Air A/C, vents and control panel
- American AutoWire wiring
- Billet Specialties Outlaw steering wheel
- Saddle/brown Naugahyde upholstery on seats and door panels by Roger Lynsky @ RPL Customs, Royse City, TX
- Juliano’s seat belts