Old trucks. Their thick-gauge steel bodies built this country much like the stained-overall clad men and women who once sat behind their oversized steering wheels. The trucks of yesterday with their solid steel sheet metal, metal dashes, crank windows and manual steering were built for one thing: work. On farms and in driveways across America, there was a time when everyone simply had to have a pickup truck. From daily drivers to weekend workhorses and family cruisers, trucks have always been the universal tool to get the job done and, like an old worn-out catcher’s mitt or a grungy old baseball cap, it’s a perfect fit every time you slide behind that wheel.
As time rolls on, many of these old workhorses get retired from service and put out to pasture or sold off into the abyss of an unpredictable future. Once in a great while, tales of trucks that have remained in the custody of their original owners since the day they were born surface and deserve to be shared with truck fanatics far and wide.
Rewind the clock to September of 1967. Nick and Sally Cohen of Irving, Texas, were in the market for a pickup truck. GM had just introduced the then-new version of the popular C10 body style, which had slightly more rounded features over the previous ’60-’66 model. Nick liked the looks and style of the new truck. The couple strolled onto the lot at Vandergriff Chevrolet in Irving and were immediately smitten by a ’67 Chevy C10 big window long bed pickup blanketed in Ditzler factory code 44 red and fit with a 327 under the hood, an automatic on the column and the ultra-rare and coveted “buddy bucket” seat option inside the cab. A deal was struck, and so began the Cohen family story of Ol’ Red.
Like most trucks in that era, Ol’ Red became a workhorse for the Cohens, hauling everything from heavy equipment to yard waste and everything in between, all while serving as Nick’s daily driver to and from work. In October of ’68, the Cohen family grew to three with the arrival of Nick and Sally’s only daughter, Heather. The buddy bucket seats became a platform for quality family time as the Cohen’s rolled in ‘Ol Red together around Irving. The truck was indeed part of the family as memories were created with every mile that the odometer rolled.
As young Heather grew, “cruising naps” in Red were a regular occurrence as the buddy buckets and mom’s lap provided the perfect headrest while the soothing sounds of the 327 sung the most harmonious lullaby. As time went on, the family had more adventures in Red, including family lake trips towing a friend’s ski boat while Heather and her best friend rode in the bed of the truck enjoying the sound of the exhaust and the flowing breeze. ‘Ol Red and Papa Nick were always curbside when Heather’s school let out, and daily rides with Dad were always memorable in ‘Ol Red.
The family moved to Lewisville from Irving when Heather was still young, and Nick creatively filled the bed with a playhouse for the move. At one point, the truck even hauled a Bob-Cat earth mover! Nick was never shy about using ‘Ol Red for its intended purpose as a truck. In the 70s, the old 327 decided it had run just about long enough and sung its last tune. A lot of folks back then would just put an old truck that quit running out to pasture and buy a new one. Not Nick, as he was a car guy and liked to tinker and work on stuff, and if it broke, he just did what it took to fix it. Out came the factory 327 and in went a 350 and ‘Ol Red was back up and running for Nick’s ride to work and Heather’s ride to school. Without missing a beat, the truck was back in service.
Fast forward the “cassette tape” to around ’96. Red was showing its age, and Nick decided it was time to take the truck off the road. Everything on the truck was tired and worn out, and this time the old faithful hauler was going to need more than just a heart transplant. The truck was rolled into the Cohen family garage where it sat for 20-plus years.
Sadly, in July of 2017, Nicholas Benjamin Cohen passed away. Mother Sally, daughter Heather and her husband Bill and daughter Sophie decided the best way to honor this hard-working husband, dad, father-in-law and grandpa was to pull ‘Ol Red out of its garage cocoon and rebuilt it from the ground up. What better tribute could there be?
In January of 2018, the family found the talent and the trust to rebuild ‘Ol Red in Scot McMillan of Scot Rods Garage in Ft. Worth, Texas. Scot, his wife Kelly and crew took on the challenge and turned ‘Ol Red into the stunner displayed across these pages. Chassis and suspension mods from Ridetech and Scot Rods to get Red down low and handling great are put into action by a fresh 385 horse small block topped with modern electronic fuel injection and backed by an overdrive transmission.
Red’s body was smoothed over and any wrinkles ironed out while the factory long bed was removed, the frame shortened, and the box replaced with a more desirable short bed. The historical metal was draped in PPG Vibrance II Romanesque crimson over Fire Gold while the original “buddy buckets” were covered in Saddle-colored vinyl. Modern in-cab touches include Bluetooth and iPod audio from Retro Sound, Dakota Digital HDX gauges and Vintage Air climate control. An American Autowire wiring harness connecting all of the electrical dots.
Shortly after the truck was finished, the family organized a reveal party where the new ‘Ol Red was unveiled. Sally Cohen burst into tears when Red pulled up as the truck that had raised her family and given her, her late husband and their daughter so much joy was back on the road.
Today Heather Cohen Perry, her husband Bill Perry and their daughter Sophie enjoy the truck as a family just as the previous Cohen generation did. Heather is quick to point out that to this day her favorite place to ride in ‘Ol Red is in the passenger seat of that buddy bucket “because that’s where I always sat as a kid when riding with Dad.” The memories live on.
Nicholas Cohen, Sally Cohen, Heather Cohen-Perry, Bill Perry, Sophie Perry
1967 Chevrolet C10
Fort Worth, Texas
2018 GM Performance SP 350/385 base
385 horsepower/405 ft-lbs of torque
GMPP Connect & Cruise wiring harness
Edelbrock Air Gap Endurashine coated intake
Stainless Works headers
DynoMax turbo mufflers and custom 2.5-inch exhaust system by Kinney’s Muffler Shop in Fort Worth, Texas
Vintage Air front runner pulley system
Ron Davis aluminum radiator
Transmission: GM 4L65-E, 2800 stall converter
Shortened factory 1967 Chevrolet frame
Strange Engineering 9-inch rear end/3.73:1 gears
Ridetech “Street Grip” suspension system
Hyperco dual-rate springs front and rear by Ridetech
Fox Shocks by Ridetech
Ridetech C-notch kit and Panhard bar
DelRin bushings throughout
Turn One Quick Ratio power steering box
No Limit Engineering rear frame-mounted fuel tank
Chassis Finish: Rustoleum Krylon Rust Tough Black
Suspension and Chassis work by Scot Rods Garage in Fort Worth, Texas
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
20×8.5-inch American Racing VF495
Wilwood front and rear brakes
Wilwood master cylinder
Nitto NT420 S tires
Body & Paint
Stock gas filler shaved
Custom gas filler in the taillight
Converted to short bed- Dyna Corn short bed panels
All body gaps adjusted to 3-1/2 mm
PPG Vibrance II Romanesque Crimson Over Fire Gold Base by Corbett Tucker in Fort Worth, Texas
Replacement grille and bumpers by LMC Truck
Exterior lights by United Pacific LED
Eddie Motorsports door handles
Ring Bros. hood hinges
Stock buddy buckets
Upholstered in Saddle Vinyl by Keith Kirk Auto Upholstery in Fort Worth, TX.
Dakota Digital HDX gauges-factory instrument panel
Billet Specialties steering wheel
RetroSound audio system with Sirius XM, iPod, Bluetooth connectivity
Vintage Air A/C system
Lokar column shifter
American Autowire wiring harness
Special Thanks from Owner:
Special thanks to Nicholas Benjamin Cohen for leaving the family a truck full of great memories to rebuild and continue to enjoy for many years to come. Also, a Special thanks to Scot McMillan and the crew at Scot Rods Garage for bringing ‘Ol Red back to life.