1971 Chevy C10 Cheyenne

Buying and Building a Childhood Dream Truck | 1971 Chevy C10 Cheyenne

It’s true what they say—good things do come to those who wait and wait and then wait some more. Patience is key and timing is everything. Yes, that all sounds cliché but there is a lot of truth behind those words. Sometimes there is no other choice but to give things some time and stick around for the right opportunity to pop up. Once it does show itself, there is absolutely no more time to lose.  

1971 Chevy C10 Cheyenne

This is how Joey Loiacano seized the chance to take ownership of a truck that he has had his eye on since he was a kid. “My truck obsession started way back when I would see this particular ’71 Chevy drive by my house everyway”, he reminisces. “The man driving would always wave and beep on his way to his business—a body shop that was located at the end of my street. As I got older, I would ride my bike over to the shop to look at the truck and all the other cool cars that were there.”

The friendly gentleman in question was Stan Schultz. He owned and operated the neighborhood body shop and was a big collector of old Cadillac cars, but the only vehicle parked on his property that Joey every cared about looking at was that old pickup. “Back in the early 90’s, I was driving a ’71 Chevelle, so I took it over to Stan’s shop for it to be painted”, Joey says. “When I would tell him that I was almost ready to buy his truck, he would just laugh and ask why I would want that thing when he had some of the cleanest Cadillacs around but it was always the Chevy truck for me.”

While Joey was always hoping for a shot at buying Stan’s old pickup, he was fearful that his chance would only come under the worst of circumstances. Stan was getting up there in age, and in 1996 he passed away, leaving all of his possessions to his daughter. “Of course when she put the cars up for sale, all the Cadillacs sold first”, Joey remembers. “The truck was the last of his vehicles left, and I still considere myself very lucky to have been able to purchase the exact pickup I had wanted to drive before I was even old enough to drive it.”

Martin Senour Hugger Orange paint on Chevy C10

Joey was having the time of his life driving what was his holy grail of all vehicles, but after about six years enjoying the C10 as-is, he made the decision to park it fix some slight rusting issues. Before too long, the truck was blown apart for a complete reinvention. “I took body panels off, took the interior out, bought some old GM sheetmetal, then I figured it was a great chance to paint the frame while the body was off”, Joey says. “This was one of Stan’s trademark moves to fend off rusting to the chassis. Everything else kind of snowballed from here.”

It was at this point when Joey began altering the C10’s factory frame. Instead of coating the entire chassis in regular paint though, Joey’s good friend John Del Monte from Best Products convinced him to use powdercoat instead. Not only was the frame coated, so were both axles after they were rebuilt, as well as the front and rear springs that were actually arched by Fulton Springs in Fulton, NY to give the truck a subtle all-around 2-inch lift. To capitalize on the taller suspension height, Joey knew he could run some beefier tires, so he went with 31-inch Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo rubber to cover a set of 15×8-inch OEM wheels. Now, it must be said that Joey actually blasted and powdercoated a total of 12 wheels and chose the best 4 of them to use. We aren’t knocking his process. We are actually celebrating his elevated attention to detail.

A wood plank floor keeps the C10’s bed looking clean and classic.

The C10 was originally powered by a 350 engine, however, Joey opted to purchase a brand new 350 crate engine from a local Chevy dealer instead of rebuilding the old tired mill but he didn’t toss the old unit since he still had some unfinished business with it. “I pulled the factory carburetor and had it rebuilt by Peter French at Lee Electric who is a Quadrajet genius”, he admits. “I also had the factory exhaust manifolds Jet-Hot coated, and the transmission and transfer case sent to Joe at Professional Transmission in Marcy, NY for a full rebuild on both.”

GM 350 C.I. V-8
A brand new GM Performance 350 crate engine now takes up residence underneath the hood.

With the Chevy’s drivetrain well taken care of, Joey could then focus on the exterior, which he had already been slowly chipping away at over the years. As the owner and operator of Joey’s Auto Detail Shop, he does make it a point to attend the annual SEMA event to stay up to date on the parts and products in the marketplace in order to keep his business on the cutting edge. He has also used his yearly road trip out West as a perfect opportunity to source rust-free sheetmetal for his C10 project.

“Aside from the 2020 show, I’ve been in attendance at SEMA for 26 straight years”, Joey exclaims. “In that time, I’ve collected fenders, doors, box sides, a cab with no dings—everything to put together an entire an all-GM West Coast body together! Once I had what I needed, Duncan Mobile Wash baking soda blasted everything before it was sent to John Ramsey at John’s Auto Restoration for the royal treatment.” This phase included fresh Hugger Orange paint for a timeless, sporty appearance, as well as some authentic GM replacement parts to add to the C10’s freshly updated façade. “There is no trick bodywork or anything like that to be found here though. Every GM panel was finished like the day it was new.”

Lifted orange 1971 Chevy C10 Cheyenne

Joey kept the interior space just as clean as the exterior. He recruited the assistance of Don’s Upholstery to first hack the factory bench seat into two separate buckets before recovering them in old school black and white hounds tooth upholstery. A center console makes for a much more enjoyable cruising experience, as does the rebuilt A/C system that continues to blow ice-cold air. Inside the glove box, Joey keeps all the original paperwork and service records that came with the truck, as well as the brochures and business card of the sales manager who originally sold the truck to Stan.

When the dust settled, it took Joey nearly 15 years and cost him roughly $85,000 to get the C10 to the level it’s on now, but he really was in no hurry to get it done. He had waited so long just to hold the keys to the truck, anything extra was just a bonus. “The best times of this journey has been able to spend time with my dad working on the truck and cruising to shows together” he says. “I will admit that I could’ve done it faster and cheaper, but I was meticulous with the original proper year coded GM parts that have been assembled throughout the truck, which was also an enjoyable part of the prolonged build process.”




Joey Loiacano
1971 Chevy C10 Cheyenne
Utica, NY


  • GM 350 C.I. V-8
  • Balanced and blueprinted
  • Rochester Quadrajet carburetor
  • 2 ½-inch Tucci Engineering exhaust
  • MSD ignition w/ split dual exhaust
  • 1971 TH350 transmission completely rebuilt with new internals by Professional Transmissions, Marcy, NY
  • All shafts and joints balanced and replaced by FleetPride, Marcy, NY


  • Shop: Best Products, Utica, NY
  • 1971 Chevy frame, axles and springs blasted and powdercoated
  • Two-inch suspension lift
  • Factory front and rear springs w/ arch installed by Fulton Spring, Fulton, NY
  • Factory GM NOS shocks all around

Wheels, Tires & Brakes 

  • 15×8 OEM wheels
  • 31×10.5 R16 Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo tires
  • SSB Brakes power disc front brakes, rear drums w/ stainless lines

Body & Paint

  • Shop: John’s Auto Restorations, Floyd, NY
  • Martin Senour Hugger Orange paint

Interior & Stereo 

  • Shop: Don’s Upholstery, Yorkville, NY
  • Original bench seat split and recovered in black and white hounds tooth upholstery
  • Center console added
  • OEM AM/FM stereo
  • Cold A/C
  • NOS carpet


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