As clean as Joey VanDuser’s ’78 C10 is with its cool blue hue, aggressive stance and staggered billet wheels, you might not recognize it without its now iconic pile of Pabst Blue Ribbon cases in the back of the bed. It’s how most C10 fans know this truck, actually. Photos of it first cruising around the Hot Rod Power Tour with a pallet of PBR circulated all over social media platforms at the time but there is much more to this classic Chevy than just being a beer hauler.
Before we dive into the details here, let’s first address any rumors that might be flying around out there – no, Joey did not knock over a beer delivery truck before heading to that first show. In fact, there was not even a single can of suds in that entire stack of cases. “I just needed a way of transporting tools and luggage around to shows without leaving it exposed all day and night, so I built a box for it and this is what I ended up with”, Joey admits. While the pile of PBR is just a facade (sorry to disappoint), it really has become this C10’s signature look.
Joey first purchased the truck in “better-than-most” condition, although it wasn’t exactly finished off to his standards. As a guy who has spent the last 30 years or so in the trenches buying, building and selling custom cars of all kinds, Joey doesn’t usually tend to keep any of his vehicles for more than 3 years. “I’ve always been a car guy”, he says. “I used to have a Squarebody C10 but years ago, I got the itch to find another one since I’ve always been partial to the boxy style.”
Joey was blessed to track down this ’78 already painted and in good running condition – just what he was hoping for. Now, if you had to guess just how old the paint on this truck was, what would your number be? Our guess was wrong too, but Joey confirmed that the paint was sprayed about 20 years ago. “The truck looks like it was just rolled out of the paint booth, which is what really what sold me on this particular C10. The condition was amazing, and the color was almost exactly what I would’ve chosen myself”, he says about his truck’s immaculate finish. “Apparently the person who painted it lost interest with the truck and left it under a cover for several years.”
The paint wasn’t the only positive attribute the C10 had going for it before Joey took ownership. In fact, people doing rad things to it, sitting on it, then selling it became somewhat of a theme for the truck throughout the years. “Another owner did the original LS swap then lost interest in the truck too. It seems while I was buying and selling other projects, this Chevy was changing hands just as fast, but I really do believe this C10 will be my forever truck”, Joey says about the prospects of owning his latest build for the long haul.
With all the truck had going for it off the bat; it did have its shortcomings that one could expect of a long forgotten about pickup. While it was a “running vehicle,” it had a few major issues that made Joey reluctant to trust it on long drives. This included a leaking radiator, noisy rear axle, and faulty, falling-off brake calipers just to name a few of them. Going forward, Joey addressed these problems one by one, then got to work on a full suspension overhaul featuring RideTech coil-overs, rear four-link and all the trimmings you’d expect of a legitimate track truck. The old axle was swapped out with a Currie 9-inch, and to get the brakes back in order, new stainless lines were fabricated, and fresh Baer components were brought into the mix along with a set of 19×9 and 20×11 Budnik Knife wheels.
While Joey doesn’t believe this truck will be ever be “done”, as he enjoys tweaking and changing things up, he’s pretty happy with it right now, as he should be. Within four years of owning this ’78, he has shaped it just the way he likes it, and while he may pick up and start other projects, his C10 looks to be a longtime keeper. “This C10 has kept my interest longer than any other vehicle I’ve had in the past”, Joey admits. “Plus, these trucks are timeless and there are so many things to do with them. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it.”
Joey may not be taking his “PBR truck” out much in the off season since it would have to contend with the cold Tennessee winter, but come next spring, it’ll be out in full force, giving its fans just want they want to see – that beautiful mountain of beer boxes in the bed. Even if there is no real booze in there, the image of it all still looks damn cool, especially knowing now that the custom box is functional and not just a cruel tease on a hot day.
- 2002 Chevy LS 5.3L
- Brian Tooley Racing Stage 3 truck cam
- Entropy aluminum radiator
- Power Master alternator
- Holley valve covers
- Holley EFI
- MSD Wires
- Hooker headers and exhaust system
- Black Widow mufflers
- Chevy 4L60 transmission
- 2800 torque converter
- Custom aluminum driveshaft by Knoxville Driveline
- Ride Tech front and rear coilovers, shocks, spindles, front anti-roll bar, rear 4-link with Panhard bar
- Currie Turn 9 fabbed 9-inch rearend
- Wavetec limited slip
- Borgeson steering box 12:1
- Squarebody Syndicate steering column
- Boyd Welding aluminum rear mount fuel tank
- 19×9 and 20×11 Budnik Knife wheels
- 255/40ZR19 and 305/25ZR20 Nitto NT555 G2 tires
- Baer 4-piston 13-inch brake upgrade
- Ring Brothers hood hinges
- Auto Metal Direct glass
- Slosh Tubz inner fenders
- Dakota Digital gauges
- JL Audio Bluetooth receiver, amplifier, speakers