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Tasty Waves

by Fuelish Media

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1972 is a particularly special year for Stephen Lambert. Yes, that does happen to be the year of his Chevy C10, but he specifically chose to build a ’72 specifically because it was the year he was born. When the time came to select a project truck to work on, there really was no question as to what he wanted in that regard. But the year also represents something much more deeper for Stephen – something that has played a part in forging his love and admiration for customized vehicles of all kinds throughout his life. 

“My father, Ellard, opened our family business, Highlands Auto Supply in 1972 as well”, Stephen says. “It’s because of growing up playing in the back of the store as a kid and starting to work there at age 13 that my involvement in the automotive industry began – it really has been there my entire life.” When Stephen and his dad weren’t working at the store during the week, they’d be out drag racing at NHRA sanctioned events on the weekend. Cars were everything for Stephen during that time, and he had a blast hanging out with his dad, but when he decided to start a family of his own, he naturally stepped away from racing to spend more time at home. “That did last for a good while, but I couldn’t really sit idle for very long”, he admits. 

Six months after swearing off working on cars for a spell, Stephen was soon presented with the ultimate test of his willpower. “My wife and I drove out to Indiana to visit her father, which was fun and all, but I couldn’t get over what he had just sitting at his house.” While that sounds nice and innocent enough, Stephen quickly reveals what turned out catching all his attention during that trip. “Well, it turns out that my father-in-law had just bought a ’72 C10. I instantly knew I had to have it, and after some slight pressure, he agreed to sell it to me, and even offered delivered to us in Texas. Looks like I’d be spending more time in the garage again sooner than later.” 

You can’t really blame Stephen too much for treating himself to a new project – cars are in his blood, and just like everything else in life, he did plan to spend his time with it in moderation. The truck was in fair enough condition as it sat. It needed a passenger door due to some rust issues, and the hood had years or rock chips embedded in it, and the entire paint was worn down and faded. It wasn’t anything that couldn’t be overcome in Stephen’s allotted free time. “I really just wanted a toy to play with”, he admits. “I had no intentions of building it up into a show truck, but it didn’t take long for me to start making upgrades to it.” 

Since the factory A-arms were junk, Stephen scrapped and replaced them with fresh CPP tubular arms for the front and a rear CPP crossmember with tubular trailing arms for a well-rounded initial upgrade. It wasn’t long before Stephen had the bed pulled off, notching the rear of the frame and building a custom double-adjustable panhard bar. Yeah, things were taking a drastic turn for his C10, but once he got to this point, there really was no reason to slow up. 

“I finally had a reason to order a new set of Budnik wheels and fresh Nitto rubber to go with them. I then yanked off the front clip, sold off the worn out 350 and turbo 350 trans, and got a brand new Edelbrock 350 crate engine to give the truck new life.” Stephen’s dad helped with this portion of the build, which brought back the feeling of old, familiar times in the garage together. “It was hard to decide whether or not to go the trendy LS route under the hood, but in the end, we chose to stick to the more traditional choice.” 

Moving along, he smoothed out and painted the core support, inner fenders, and bottom side of the hood. He even painted everything on the engine for some extra shine and had friend John Carpenter pinstripe the valve covers. With the bay empty, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up since that amount of detail work goes a long way in the end. After replacing the rusted door, Stephen’s pal, Larry Pogue sprayed it, along with the hood to freshen up the C10s appearance a bit. Stephen even cut and buffed the OG paint, but he was thinking more along the lines of a brand-new paint job, which is never a bad idea. 

“The colors I wanted to run with were blue and white, but specifically Medium Blue and Linen White – I get asked all the time for the specific color info.” With some very select and limited exterior upgrades made to the truck, Stephen decided to do something a bit different in the bed by adding a custom painted surfboard that he painted and had John Carpenter striped up. “To answer another popular question I get asked when showing the truck – yes, I do surf. My kids and I do love to go down to Galveston with our long board, so incorporating that into the build was a fun twist.” 

Since the truck had come this far, Stephen just had to finish the inside of the cab off properly. With fresh, color-matched carpet, door panels, rebuilt factory bench, and pretty much brand new everything else, the C10 ended up looking like a legitimate showpiece – something Stephen wasn’t planning for or even knew that he wanted when he first started. 

This truck didn’t come together overnight, as it took just about ten years to get to where it is now. Unfortunately, Stephen lost his dad five years ago and this truck was the last thing they worked on together. However, his passion now lives on as Stephen has an awesome family to share it with. “My son Owen recently turned 16, and he has a real interest in this sport. At the C10-Nationals, he drove my truck for the first time, and accepted the award for Best Garage Build. This truck has been a great experience for us. I’d like to thank my dad, Alan Albright and Skully Molen, and a very special thanks to my wife for her love and supporting me in all I do.”

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Stephen Lambert ‘72 C10
  • 2016 Edelbrock 350 crate engine assembled by Ellard Lambert, Highlands, TX and painted by owner
  • Performance crankshaft 
  • Edelbrock E-Street aluminum heads and Performer 650 carb
  • HEI ignition 
  • MSD Wires 
  • Engine bay components sanded and painted to match 
  • Finned aluminum air cleaner
  • Custom engine detail paint by John Carpenter 
  • Hedman headers 
  • Flowmaster muffler
  • 1995 Chevy 700R4 transmission assembled by Shannon Brinkley 
  • One-piece driveshaft built by Houston Drivetrain
  • Factory chassis 
  • CPP tubular A-arms, rear crossmember with tubular trailing arms and 2-link
  • Rear frame C-notched 
  • Custom double adjustable panhard bar 
  • Firestone ‘bags 
  • KYB shocks 
  • Air Lift Performance air management system 
  • 20×8.5 and 20×10 Budnik Gasser wheels 
  • 245/35ZR20 and 275/35ZR20 Nitto NT555 tires 
  • Wilwood D52 front caliper kit, proportioning valve, master cylinder 
  • Medium blue and Linen white paint 
  • LMC Truck steel chrome grille 
  • Wagner headlights 
  • Brothers front bumper 
  • Original hood and rear bumper
  • Passenger door replaced and painted by Larry Pogue 
  • Matching surfboard, and stainless rods with airbrushed bamboo effect 
  • Factory seat rebuilt and covered in blue and black houndstooth by Charlie Powell 
  • Blue vinyl door panels to match seat 
  • Original dash with LMC dash pad 
  • Original gauges rebuilt with white faces 
  • Vintage Air A/C
  • Budnik steering wheel 
  • Wiring by Roger Lewis 
  • Kenwood head unit, MTX speakers installed by Alan Albright 

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