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Who’s Your Daddy?

by Robbie Purser

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It’s no secret that many of us dream of building a truck with our father. Alternatively, many fathers dream of building a truck with their son, however, many times those stars never align for either party. In the case of Arizona father and son duo, Kevin and Jason Bowman, both dreams have been achieved more than once. Over the last couple of years, the Bowman father-son duo have successfully built an LQ4-swapped ’86 squarebody, a ’77 Duramax-powered dually C30, and now, their latest creation, a retro-custom 1971 Cheyenne C10 that almost any truck nut will lust over. 

Before we jump into all the juicy specs of this ochre-ladened beauty of a 2nd generation c10, let’s focus on the story of the find. After all, the hunt and rescue can be the best part. 

As Kevin, Father Bowman tells it, “My son and I were looking for a truck after we sold my ‘77 dually. We made a [Facebook] post about looking for a truck on a few groups and got a few hits, but nothing that really jumped out at us. The next day my son got a message about a ‘71 Cheyenne truck. It was exactly what we had been looking for.”

It’s important to note that Jason, Kevin’s son, has a well-known shop, called Big 10 Garage, in Gilbert, Arizona, and has created a one-of-a-kind business building trucks for folks all over the country. 

And it’s at this point that the story gets a little more interesting. “We skipped the paragraph about why they were messaging and went right to the pictures – we were in! But there was just one problem: the truck wasn’t for sale.”

It turns out, the truck’s owner was a lady who lived nearby and was simply trying to find out how to get her late-Father’s truck ready to drive. While it was clear that Jason needed to actually go and honestly assess the truck for this prospective customer, it was even clearer – at least in Kevin’s mind – that there had to be some way to buy the truck should it check the boxes of what the Bowman-duo was looking for. 

At this point, Jason turned to his Dad with a simple, yet sometimes hard-to-fulfill message: we need to keep our cool and not ask if the truck is for sale. 

“The whole time Jason is looking over the truck, I was jumping out of my skin wanting to buy it. I knew this was the truck for me. We talked for a few hours and, yes, even though Jason told me not to try to buy the truck, I couldn’t resist. While Jason was looking underneath the truck, I asked [the owner] if she would be willing to sell it. When she actually said she would “think about it” I didn’t hold out much hope.” 

The next morning the call came. She wanted to sell the truck. What was the deciding factor for her to sell the truck, you ask? It was a similar connection that she felt between her and her father that was evident with the Bowman’s as well.  

“Jason and I have always been very, very close. She knew she had met a father and son that truly loved these old trucks and knew we were going to do right by the truck.”

As many who have had the pleasure of “digging one out” would expect, the truck was buried to the axles – and had been since 1994. But the Bowman’s were able to drag the truck out of its resting place and began the teardown process that night.  

After a slew of spiders, scorpions and all sorts of crawling critters were extracted from the truck, the real fun began. The camper shell that had been installed a few days after the truck was new was removed to reveal a perfect bed floor ripe for the impending shortbed conversion. 

Kevin and Jason proceeded to blow the truck apart – down to every nut and bolt – and began the process of building it back up complete with rocker rust repair and every bolt and washer cleaned or replaced. The truck’s original long bedsides saw a little nip-and-tuck action from Kyle Oxberger at MetalOx Fab and some killer patina paint blending from Matt Vesay. 

In parallel with the paint and bodywork, Kevin and Jason blew the stock chassis apart, shortened the factory frame rails and installed a full Ridetech coilover suspension onto the freshly powdercoated frame. With a new AZ Pro Performance Revelator 14”/13” brake kit installed, the chassis was plumbed with all stainless steel brake and fuel lines.  

Taking advantage of the new performance suspension and brake set-up, Kevin and Jason set in place a Magnuson supercharged, freshly rebuilt 6.2 liter LS3 and 6L80e transmission. A fresh set of custom American Racing VN474 Gasser-style wheels – powdercoated to match the Dow 7 treatment used on the old-school Halibrand wheels – were wrapped in Nitto 555G2 rubber to transfer all the boosted-LS power to the pavement. 

To bring the interior up-to-snuff, Kevin and Jason installed all new OER door panels, dash pad, and carpet, as well as Vibro Solutions sound deadening, and Dakota Digital RTX gauges. A RetroSound bluetooth radio with a mix of JL Audio and Hertz speaker components bring the audio ear candy into the 21st century.  

Further tidying up the aesthetic, Jason focused on the engine compartment to dial in the fit and finish.  Jason designed and built the supercharger cooling lines, fabricated the intake tube, and the upper and lower stainless steel radiator hoses for a more custom appearance. Holley valve covers were selected to hide the coil packs and give the engine compartment a more original look.

In true father-and-son fashion, this truck was built on a bond that most other relationships can’t replicate. Even when a few choice words and an elevation of emotions were present, the goal of leaving the truck’s old, tired self in the Arizona dirt was realized and what came to life was the tire-roasting, tastefully-modified, street runner you see on the spread before you.

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Kevin Bowman • ‘71 CHEYENNE
  • 2015 LS3, 600 HP/580 lb-ft
  • Machine work by CBA Machine, Chandler, AZ; Assembled by Jason Bowman
  • Magnuson TVS2300 supercharger
  • Holley valve covers
  • Wegner Automotive front accessory drive
  • Masterpower 200 Amp alternator
  • ECP Cooling Products aluminum radiator
  • Speed Engineering stainless steel headers, 1.75” primaries
  • Custom stainless steel 3” exhaust
  • Magnaflow 14” oval mufflers
  • 6l80E transmission
  • Circle D billet 3,500 RPM stall torque converter
  • Custom driveshaft by AZ Driveshaft
  • Stainless brake and fuel lines by Big 10 Garage
  • Boyd Welding 19-gallon fuel tank with dual
    Aeromotive 450 fuel pumps in tank
  • GM 12-bolt rear axle
  • Detroit Truetrac differential with 3.73 gears
  • Moser axles
  • Ridetech 3-link rear suspension
  • Ridetech StrongArm front control arms
  • CPP front spindles
  • Ridetech coil overs, front and rear
  • AZ Pro Performance Revelator disc brakes, 14” front, 13” rear
  • Baer Remaster master cylinder and proportioning valve with LEED Brakes booster
  • American Racing VN474 2-piece wheels, 20×8.5 front, 20×10 rear; Custom Cerakote finish
  • Nitto NT555G2 tires, 255/40R20 front, 315/30R20 rear
  • Longbed-to-shortbed conversion by Metalox Fab, Peoria, AZ
  • Mostly original Ochre paint with touch-ups by Matt Vesay of Mesa, AZ
  • United Pacific headlights and taillights
  • Dakota Digital RTX gauges
  • RetroSund head unit
  • JL Audio amplifiers
  • Hertz Audio speakers, JL 10” subwoofer
  • Vintage Air Gen IV climate control system
  • OEM-appearance 15” steering wheel
  • Original seat with new foam and cover installation by DBomb, Phoenix, AZ
  • Original style dark saddle door panels and carpet

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