Like many custom truck guys, Grant Zevenbergen can still remember the truck he drove when he was 16 years old. And like a few, he’s driving a truck just like it now. In fact, it’s the exact same truck—which isn’t that remarkable when you consider that Grant is 26.
Like many ambitious teenagers with a brand-new driver’s license, Grant was on the lookout for a truck when he found this ’69 C10, parked near the street in order to lure a potential buyer. Grant wasn’t looking for a time-consuming project, but something he could have fun driving while fixing it up little by little as he got the time and money. A lot of the truck’s appeal was the straight and rust-free sheetmetal, and the freshly sprayed Marina Blue PPG paint. The bed and bed floor had been powdercoated the exact same color. Beyond that, little effort had been made to rebuild the C10. It was running the factory six-cylinder and column-shifted three-speed, and lacked power brakes, power steering, and air conditioning—but it was clean, and nice-looking (on the outside). And with a $2,000 price tag, it was within the financial reach of a high school kid with a part-time job.
The interior was, as Grant described it, gone, and ready to be redone immediately. He was able to replace everything he needed with components from Kenny’s Truck Parts, an on-line parts supplier. Among the items provided by Kenny’s are the door panel skins, armrests, and handles, as well as seat foam and seat covers; Grant installed a black and white houndstooth vinyl cover to revive the factory bench. A chrome dash panel was added. The stock instruments were retained, and a Sun Super Tach II was mounted on the steering column. The wheel is a Formula GT model from Grant. Tunes are provided by a Pioneer CD stereo system. Grant replaced the worn out original wiring with a harness from Painless Performance. John Sahid sealed the cab with fresh glass and window rubber. The headlights and grille were replaced and the stock bumpers rechromed.
The refreshed cockpit improved the Chevy’s driveability, but after clocking a few miles, Grant concluded that the old inline-six under the hood was “pretty lame” and started making plans to replace it. His father, Ken, encouraged him to fill the engine bay with a big-block, so Grant pulled a very unlame ’73 454 Chevy out of a motorhome and delivered the engine to Chuck’s Speed & RV Center in Phoenix for a balanced and blueprinted rebuild. The block was bored 0.030-over and filled with 10.5:1 Speed Pro pistons. The four-barrel is an Edelbrock 750 mounted on a high-rise aluminum intake. The exhaust system includes Hooker headers and Flowmaster mufflers. The built-up Rat motor makes plenty of power, but Grant wanted it to look good too, and dressed up the engine with polished GM valve covers and a K&N air cleaner. Power steering and AC from Vintage Air was added at this point. Grant repainted everything under the hood before dropping in the big-block, which he paired with a Turbo 400, rebuilt at Kelly’s Transmission in Phoenix. The rearend is the stock ’69 C10 with 3.73:1 gears.
Grant used the truck as his daily driver during the rest of his high school years. He had done most of the work himself (and some of the work twice, he confessed) with valuable assistance from his brother Brian, his dad Ken, and Chip Lowe—and he had paid for it out of his own pocket—with money earned working at Ken’s custom furniture shop. When Grant went away to college, his pickup, by now nicknamed Little Blue, stayed home, driven only during the summers when he came back to Phoenix.
A couple of years later, Grant got a surprise. Little Blue, although good-looking, powerful, and driveable, needed some upgrades to the stock chassis before it could be considered finished. Ken took the truck to Grunion’s Fabrication in Phoenix where the framerails were C-notched in the rear and 2½-inch drop spindles were installed in front to drop the truck several inches. Coil springs and shocks from McGaughy’s Suspension Parts and front disc brakes were additional mods. The tires and wheels were also swapped at this time. The front and rear fenders are now packed with 20-inch Torq Thrusts riding on meaty 275/45R20 Falken radial tires.
Grant’s reaction to the surprise was mixed: he was shocked and happy. Now that he’s finished with college and back in Phoenix, he has more time for the truck and has been hitting some shows. When we saw the cool, blue Chevy at a Goodguys show in Scottsdale, it had just been selected for the Young Guys Pick award. He’ll be driving Little Blue a lot more now. Grant hopes that wherever it goes, his owner-built C10 will encourage teenagers to do what he did and build a truck of their own. Maybe it just did. CCT
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