Beneath the surface of old restored trucks lies a story, a story about the ironclad American work ethic. Think of the abuse they’ve taken throughout the years: hauling heavy, dirty loads, pulling old farm equipment, supporting the livelihood of the tough-as-nails working class A heroes across the country. Underneath the now-shiny exterior of restored trucks is a gritty history that’s a beautiful juxtaposition.
While not all trucks have the opportunity to share with us their times of gratifying labor, it’s something to think about when spotting one that’s still putting in a day’s work. Luckily, there are a fair amount of them that have had their lives extended, and plenty more are being rescued every day. Now is the time to start “listening” with your eyes and picking up on what every dent and gouge in the metal has to say.
In the case of this particular Chevy K-10, its story presents itself through multiple layers. There’s not much known about its origin other than it hails from Texas. Who knows what type of situations it might have been through and somehow survived. It could be imagined or assumed that this ’72 must’ve seen its fair share of action since most older 4WD trucks did. It’s what they were intended for in the first place. It does, however, wear a unique badge of honor earned in its first life, which has been preserved through the restoration process, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
During its second phase of existence, this truck did have the opportunity to serve a purpose very few pickups do; actually, a 43-year-old truck would probably consider it a lifetime honor. The crew at LMC Truck got ahold of it some time back and used it as a base to test fit and develop a good deal of their product line. Granted, it was sitting in pieces for the majority of that time, but its components were all in decent condition, and it was the first of its kind to be equipped with LMC Truck’s amazing restoration products, which have helped resurrect so many other trucks throughout the years. There came a time, though, when the LMC Truck team needed the truck less and less for R&D, but there it was, torn apart and ready for whatever. The K-10 would soon experience what exactly the broad term “whatever” entails.
We chatted with Susan Berkowitz, marketing manager at LMC Truck, about how the situation went from good to amazing for the K-10. “After years of using the truck to help build parts for other trucks, we felt it was time to repay it somehow by restoring it as a shop truck for us,” she says. But that wasn’t all; the full build was going to be done on set and broadcasted on “Chop Cut Rebuild,” as seen on MavTV. The truck was going to be a star. How’s that for an unexpected twist of fate? Off it went to the studio where show host Dan Woods and Nate Boyer of Kultured Customs sized it up and tore it down for the cameras. Nate and his crew have worked with LMC Truck in the past, so it was only natural to invite them back to recreate the same magic they’ve made before. “I’ve never felt the feelings of excitement and fright at the same time before,” Nate says. “But that’s exactly how it was when the cameras started rolling. This truck was something special, and knowing that people were going to be watching and scrutinizing our every move only added to the pressure, but we were confident with our plan of attack.”
After the initial teardown process, the guys jumped right into the most important modification on the playlist, clearing enough space to squeeze in the new Chevy Performance Gen V LT1 6.2L motor. Nate was quick to comment about the start of this endeavor, “When we received the motor, it was brand new to the market, and to my knowledge, it was not yet made available to the public. It was a challenge for sure because we became the test mule for the connect and cruise for this beast.”
Modifications to the front-drive assembly were in order to get the proper components to function within the parameters of the chassis and engine compartment. “Once we figured that part out, it was on to fabricating the 3-inch stainless exhaust with electric exhaust cutouts, which posed another challenge to successfully build around the transfer case,” Nate says. There was definitely work ahead for the guys, but there was too much at stake to succumb to stage fright. The lights and cameras were on, so there was no other option than to jump in with both feet.
Other than the engine and drivetrain work, the exhaust fabrication and body and paint process, the only other area of major construction was inside the cab. The stock bench was treated to a fresh stitch job featuring the finest Italian leather. The door panels received the same treatment. A lot of guys still don’t know this, but LMC Truck offers a wide range of stock replacement interior pieces as well. The drop-in dash and gauges—yep, those come from them. The vintage-inspired RetroSound head unit and powered 8-inch sub and amp are theirs as well. This K-10 has been the test dummy for all of these parts and more for years, but it was finally being outfitted and assembled yet again, permanently. The entire build took all of six months to complete; mere chump change considering how much planning and execution went into it.
We mentioned a badge of honor earlier. Well, smack on the rear lower area of the cab is a bullet hole that nobody can account for. Something must’ve happened in the truck’s previous life that nobody could talk about or wanted to own up to. Whatever happened, the evidence was kept intact since it adds character and is a great conversation piece. LMC Truck even used the hole as a catalyst to help come up with a suitable name for the truck. An open call was made to the public to submit possible ideas, and the winner was awarded a $1,000 gift certificate. Hundreds of names were submitted, but in the end, Miss Fire was selected, which is about as perfect a name as could be for this old country hauler.
It has a name, and it sure does have a story as unique as they come. The dubious nature of the truck’s history only adds to its mystique. Maybe someone someday will come across it and match the bullet hole with the memory of how it got there, but that’d be a shot in the dark.