A Little Gamble Goes a Long Way
The 1967-’72 Chevrolet c/k is one of the most popular, reliable, and easiest-to-drive classic pickups you can find. This generation marks the turning point when chevy realized it could offer truck buyers modern conveniences and comfort options in the same way it did sedan shoppers—a stunningly simple connection to make in retrospect, but one that blew the market wide open during a time when a primary rival, ford, steadfastly refused to build anything other than the most utilitarian models for work use.
The end result was a sales phenomenon that would see GM prolong its dominance over the Blue Oval well into the mid-’70s, pushing millions of examples of this generation of trucks out of the factories and onto the roads, farm fields, and dusty barns. The 1968-’72 C/K proved that you didn’t have to suffer a tin can cabin or a kidney-busting ride to get the job done.
Jeffrey Melder has always had a love for the classic truck style, while first getting involved in custom trucks as a kid.
“I loved customizing vehicles so much that I strived to start my own shop,” Jeffrey tells us. “It’s a passion that’s been growing my whole life.”
After getting married and relocating to Oakdale, Louisiana, Jeffrey built a shop on his property to work on his vehicles. Once the shop was constructed, Jeffrey was on the prowl for something that both fit into the classic truck niche but was also something easy to handle his custom desires.
Pawn Stars Align
Jeffrey would frequent a pawn shop in his town, and covered up at the shop was a beautiful 1970 Chevy C10.
“It was in perfect shape under the cover,” Jeffrey adds. “Even though he wasn’t currently selling the truck, I was able to convince him to do that.”
I loved customizing vehicles so much that I strived to start my own shop.
Following his persistence in purchasing the truck, Jeffery hopped in and, only a few miles down the road, the brakes froze up. It was discouraging since he had huge plans for the suspension, but he was able to load it on a trailer and get it back to his shop for repair. The first step was the wiring; every wire was scrambled together and was a mess. Jeffrey added an American Autowire harness and replaced the front calipers. Once the safety issues were handled, Jeffrey began the project of turning stock into show.
Trash to Treasure
To begin the build, the motor and transmission were removed, along with the front fenders and bed. Jeffrey started with the firewall, removing everything and filling every unused hole in the firewall. The transmission was replaced with a freshly rebuilt 700r4, and everything under the hood was painted to match.
Everything was a first for Jeffrey, so he was learning while he was working.
The next step was bringing the classic Chevy closer to the ground via the AccuAir e-Level air-suspension-management system. Jeffrey started by installing the GSI front dropmember, new control arms, spindles, and rack-and-pinion steering. For the rear, Jeffrey installed the GSI frame notch, 4-link, and Watt’s link. Everything was a first for Jeffrey, so he was learning while he was working.
At this point, the new billet wheels he ordered had arrived and Jeffrey was able to calculate the extra width for the rear tubs and the raised bed floor. He came up with the idea of adding a trap door in the bed that hid all the suspension parts, so he began cutting black walnut wood to fit. Once the metal and woodwork were finished on the C10, everything under the trap door was painted black and all the modified areas were sprayed to match.
Inside the Chevy, Jeffrey complained about the sound the motor made while driving, so the entire carpeting was pulled out and sound deadening material was installed. New carpeting was added on top for a cleaner look. Vinyl from Brothers Truck was added to the seats for a custom look and a billet steering wheel rounded out the interior modifications.
Pawn shops are known for used items that truly have no sentimental value or use, but the treasure that Jeffrey found at House of Pawn that day will be something he will cherish for the rest of his life. Jeffrey wishes to thank John Carruth, the owner of the pawn shop where the truck was found, for being a great guy and an influence throughout the process. Jeffrey wants to thank his beautiful wife, Lindsey Melder, for her support and patience. The two are expecting their first child this year and plan to make the classic Chevy C10 a true family truck.
1970 Chevy C10
Front Suspension: GSI front crossmember and control arms, modular 2.5 drop spindles
Rear Suspension: GSI rear notch with Watts link, 4-link from GSI, AccuAir VT with e-Level, dual Viair 444 compressors, 5-gallon air tank
Engine: Small block 350, rack-and-pinion steering, Wilwood brakes, Wilwood rear disc conversion, 2-piece driveshaft, American Autowire wiring harness
Transmission: 700r4, high-hump transmission tunnel
Rearend: Narrowed 13 inches, Moser axles
BODY & PAINT
PPG Bright Red, shaved and color-matched front bumper, billet grille, raised bed floor with trap door in black walnut wood, shaved tailgate, Boyd fuel tank
23-inch Lokar shifter, black and red vinyl seats from Brothers Truck, black carpet
Stereo: Pioneer CD player, Pioneer 6x9s
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: 24×9 and 24×14 Intro Rally wheels
Tires: 255/30R24 and 405/25R24 Pirelli tires