When you’ve been into C10 pickups as long as Lee Jones, of Heber Springs, Arkansas has, you start thinking about building and selling them a little differently than most newcomers to the scene. Sure, there is an unbeatable sense of accomplishment that comes along with completing a new project, but you just can’t keep ‘them all. There is a right time to turn these things loose in the hopes of tracking down another one to build bigger and better the next time around, but it’s important to recognize and seize the right opportunities when they present themselves.
Lee has owned a few C10’s in various conditions throughout the years and has since met a lot of talented folks in the automotive industry because of it. “My infatuation for these trucks started back when I was 14 years old”, Lee reminisces. “An upperclassman at my high school had an absolutely gorgeous 1972 Cheyenne that was lowered at the right stance and had the perfect exhaust note. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
The last Chevy truck Lee owned was a 1972 that stuck around with him for just over 25 years. “I had approached Kenny Davis of Kenny Davis Hot Rods in Rogers, Arkansas to build that truck for me”, Lee says. “Kenny did a great job with it – maybe too good since a couple approached me about selling it to them just after it was completed. At the time, the money they offered was too good to refuse, and the idea of teaming up with Kenny again on another project sounded like a great time since we had become great friends during the last one.”
With his ’72 long gone, and his pockets loaded with cash, Lee began shopping around for another project C10 to work on. “After some time had passed, I hadn’t found the right truck until I discovered this ’68 at Ironworks Speed and Kustom”, he says. “It was a shop truck build that never left the sheet metal phase due to time constraints with customer vehicles. Luckily for me, this truck was exactly what I had been hoping to find – firstly, because it was a solid short bed model. Secondly, it was already sitting on a full custom chassis. This truck was just too good to pass up.”
The frame in question sitting underneath the ’68 just happened to be a Speedtech Extreme chassis, which is a true pro touring beast that would not only make everyday cruising much more comfortable but cater to a new hobby that Lee was looking forward to exploring after the completion of his new build. “I really set my focus on setting up this particular truck to compete at the autocross events at Goodguys shows.” Lee definitely had his work cut out for him. Speedtech’s Extreme chassis is designed to absolutely shine on the track, so his new project was already off to a good start. With the addition of Ridetech coil-overs, Wilwood braking components, and a staggered set of Billet Specialties wheels with fresh Continental tires, Lee was ready for Kenny to begin on the next phase of the build process.
To capitalize on the ‘68’s track-ready suspension setup, the guys decided to place an order for an LS3 complete with a Magnuson blower directly from Don Hardy Race Cars. With a few add-ons such as the Billet Specialties Tru-Trac serpentine system, AutoRad radiator, a set of Ultimate headers, and a custom stainless steel 3-inch dual exhaust and firewall by Kenny Davis, the engine compartment was soon filling out quite nicely. Hart Fab wide front fenders were also included underneath the hood to create a total visual presentation together in a way that pleases the eyes of neat freaks and gear heads alike. A TREMEC T56 Magnum 6-speed transmission was then paired to the LS3 for the ultimate C10 driving experience that Lee was just itching to get out and dial in.
As the project progressed, Kenny, along with the help of his father and crew at the shop, began to focus on the C10’s body and paintwork. “Before any work was really started on the exterior, we spent a good deal of time first determining what paint color to run with”, Lee admits. “Once we decided on Audi Nardo Gray, the rest of the details just worked themselves out.” The guys quickly proceeded to shave and smooth the cowl before they deleted the stake pockets from the bed for a truly streamlined appearance. Next, the bolts were removed from both bumpers and a cut out for the heat exchanger for the blower was made to the front before both units were sent out for a refreshing chrome dip. The Bowtie and parking lamps were also removed from the front grille to add to the ‘68’s smooth, manicured styling.
With all that work successfully completed, the crew then raised the bed floor up two inches to provide enough clearance for the truck’s 9-inches of suspension travel. The objective with this process was to make the bed floor appear like it hadn’t been raised. To assist in creating this effect, the front bed panel was cut to maintain the factory die stamped lines, and 2-inch wider wheel tubs were utilized on top of the freshly lined bed floor. Once the time came to spray the Nardo Gray paint, the Kenny Davis crew was instantly assured that the color proved to suit the demeanor of the Chevy perfectly.
The next phase of the project was to address the confines of the cab space. Now, Lee already had a few ideas in mind for the interior, but nothing more than a few hints to give to the upholstery shop. “I knew the colors of the materials and stitching that I wanted to run with but other than that, I let the team at Fast Al’s Upholstery do what they felt was right. Needless to say, they knocked the job right out of the park.”
Dark blue paint was used to contrast the dash, and a lighter shade of blue leather with a diamond-stitch pattern was used to cover the custom bench seat as well as the one-off door panels and dash pad. Classic Instruments gauges, Roadster Shop gauge bezel and glove box door and a Sparc Industries steering wheel have been included to increase the function and style of the C10’s cockpit. To keep Lee cool and comfortable all year long, a Vintage Air climate control system has also been added for the ultimate in creature comforts.
While it goes without saying, this C10 build is by far Lee’s favorite of them all. Even though he has been accustomed to driving one-off trucks in the past, this ’68 has been specially outfitted and tailored to suit a new way of driving and showing that he is looking to grow into in the future. “There is nothing I could imagine changing on this build”, he says proudly. “Kenny and I had a lot of fun with this one, and all of my kids seem to love it, which is huge for me because the first drives with each of them are just cool memories that I’ll get to keep and hold on to forever.”
LEE JONES • ‘68 C10
- Don Hardy Race Cars LS3 418ci engine
- Magnuson supercharger
- Billet Specialties Tru-Trac serpentine system
- AutoRad radiator and support
- Flowmaster 3-inch mufflers
- Stainless 3-inch dual exhaust and custom firewall by Kenny Davis
- Ultimate Headers
- Hart Fab wide front fenders
- ARP hardware
- TREMEC T56 Magnum 6-speed transmission
- Speedtech Extreme full chassis with torque arm rear setup
- Ridetech coil-overs front and rear
- 1-inch diameter front and rear sway bars
- Rick’s Tanks fuel cell
- Ford 9-inch rear end w/ 4:33 gears
- Wilwood master cylinder, 16-inch front and 15-inch rear disc brakes
- 20x10 and 22x12 Billet Specialties Geometric wheels
- 285/35/20 and 335/35/22 Continental Conti Sport Contact 5 tires
- Audi Nardo Gray exterior paint
- Removed bowtie and parking lamps from front grille
- Shaved bolts on front bumper and cut opening for heat exchanger for blower and re-chromed bumper
- Shaved and smoothed cowling, shaved stake pockets from bed front
- Delmo’s billet door handles
- Fesler Built taillights
- Bed floor raised two inches, rear wheel tubs widened 2 inches
- Interior by Fast Al
- Classic Instruments gauges
- Lokar pedals
- Vintage Air A/C
- Ididit tilt steering column
- Roadster Shop gauge bezel and glove box door
- Lokar door and window handles
- One-piece power windows
- Sparc Industries steering wheel