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Sometimes the Best Dishes Take a Little Bit Longer to Simmer

Mike Blackwelder is not new to the scene. He’s spent most of his adult life building custom trucks, including quite a few mini-trucks worthy of adoration. But somewhere along the way he decided that instead of dumping his cash into vehicles that never made him any money, he’d do the opposite. That’s when he bought himself a ’67 C-10.

THE LINES ARE SUBTLE, BUT THE WAY MIKE EXTENDED THE ROOF TO MEET THE RAIN GUTTERS IS AMAZING.

THE BED COVER HIDES THE SUPERCLEAN CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION. IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY, YOU CAN SEE THE 14-INCH WILWOOD BRAKES, PLUS THE ACCUAIR E-LEVEL.

That was somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years ago. In the meantime, he’s built up his sign business and done all of the usual things that adults do. About eight years back, he picked up a short-bed chassis from a buddy. It already came with a 1969 Camaro clip on the front end (bolt-in kits weren’t quite mainstream back then), and the back was already notched. It was just a few steps away from being perfect, so he bought it, pushed it into a corner of his shop, and worked on it when he could. Once it was done, he dropped his 1967 cab and bed on it, made sure it all worked, and congratulated himself on a job well done. Then it sat. Again.

THIS TRUCK IS ALL ABOUT BLACK ON BLACK ON BLACK.

Now this might sound all doom and gloom, but Mike did work on the truck throughout the years. It just wasn’t his first priority. He would buy things as he saw fit, put them on a shelf, and install them when he had time. Some days he’d wrench on the interior, others he tweaked the bed. There was progress made on the truck as time went on, it just wasn’t fast. That, and Mike is a bit of a detail freak.

THE PINSTRIPING THEME IS INTEGRATED INTO THE SEATS, WITH CUSTOM STITCHING IN THE BACKRESTS.

Take the rain gutters, for example. Most guys hack them off the cab and let it ride, because the stock gutters just don’t look that great. But they do serve a purpose, and since Mike lives in Colorado, the truck would see rain. Plus, he didn’t like the idea of water just pouring off the roof into his doors. Now this is complicated, but to explain it as clearly as possible, we’ll put it like this: Mike extended his roof to meet up with the gutters.

Being the owner of a sign shop that makes everything from vinyl stickers to giant chain store lettering means he has access to all sorts of cool tools, one of them being a sheet metal brake and other shaping tools. Mike went to the brake, shaped a few rounded corners, and welded the pieces to the body such that it now looks like the roof of the cab has been extended, leaving a slight overhang over the doors. It’s subtle, but once you see it, you’ll wonder why it’s not done more often—it looks that good.

THAT ROLL PAN IS CUSTOM, AND MIKE MADE IT HIMSELF. NOT TOO SHABBY, RIGHT?

THE 22X9 AND 22X12 US MAG NIMITZ WHEELS LOOK JUST PERFECT TUCKED INTO THE FENDERS.

Another cool tool that Mike’s shop has on hand is a CNC table, and that led to more ideas. Mike had never seen milled pinstriping before, so he decided to give that a shot with a few panels under the hood. It looked so cool that he extended the idea to the bed and the interior to tie everything together. The gauges even have little details in them to match. And it’s all done just about the right amount: not too much, not too little. The truck is packed with details like that, but one big hot spot is the bed. All of the sides were smoothed out, with a large piece on the cab wall accented with the aforementioned CNC pinstriping.

The floor was done in custom black brushed aluminum, with brushed aluminum inserts between each slat. If you were to walk by the truck casually and check out the bed, you might think it was stock wood. Then again, maybe the notch cover would give away the ruse. Underneath the hinged, bent aluminum panels sits the custom frame notch and all of the suspension goodies inside. There’s the parallel 4-link, AccuAir e-Level kit and Fox Racing shocks that all stand out, sure, but the overall clean, black appearance is a stunner. It’s a good-looking setup, that’s for sure.

THE BED FLOOR ON THE TRUCK IS SUPER-CLEAN. AND EVEN THOUGH IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S A DARK WOOD, IT’S ALL ALUMINUM.

When Mike did finally finish the truck, he took it out and started to survey the competition. That’s when he learned that sometimes taking so long to build a project has its disadvantages. For example, things that were cool in 2007 weren’t quite as much so in 2017.
So he’d swap out what he felt needed updating with something fresh, go to another show, buy another part—that was his pattern. The results speak for themselves.

THE DETAILS ON THIS TRUCK ARE EVERYWHERE, PARTICULARLY UNDER THE HOOD. CHECK OUT THE METICULOUS ENGINE AND THAT CNC-ENGRAVED PINSTRIPING.

Overall, it took a while for this truck to get built. For some people, that’s not OK. But seeing this truck says otherwise. All of these things take time. Sure, he could’ve pushed his business to the side and focused on the build, but he didn’t. The truck that he built is all the better for it. And frankly, so are we.

TRUCK SPECS

OWNER

Mike Blackwelder   
1967 Chevrolet C-10
Grand Junction, CO

ENGINE

  • Brad Franklin, Grand Junctio
  • 1986 Chevrolet 383 stroker V-8
  • 450 hp
  • Assault Racing polished aluminum shotgun double-barrel intake
  • Edelbrock intake manifold
  • Edelbrock carburetor
  • Edelbrock headers
  • Hedman headers
  • Flowmaster mufflers
  • Proform GM-licensed slant-edge valve covers
  • Hot Rod wiring kit
  • Chevrolet THM350-C automatic transmission
  • Summit Racing torque converter
  • 3,200-stall speed
  • Custom transmission mount
  • Rick’s stainless steel gas tank

 CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Mike Blackwelder, Grand Junction
  • 1969 Camaro front subframe
  • Custom control arms
  • Slam Specialties 7-inch SS airbags front and rear
  • McGaughy’s dropped spindles
  • QA1 Stocker Star front shocks
  • Baer tie rod adjustment sleeves
  • Howe Racing custom ball joints
  • Boxed in frame
  • C-notched rear frame
  • Parallel 4-link
  • Custom shock mounts
  • Fox Racing 2.0 Performance series reservoir shocks, rear
  • Ford 9-inch rearend narrowed 5 inches
  • 4:11 rear gears
  • AZ Pro Performance 14-inch Revelator front and rear brake kit
  • AccuAir e-Level

 WHEELS & TIRES

  • 22×9 and 22×12 US MAG Nimitz wheels with polished center spokes and gloss black barrels
  • 295/25R22 and 335/25R22 Pirelli P Zero tires

BODY & PAINT

  • Mike Blackwelder and George Miller, Grand Junction
  • Shaved factory badging
  • LMC Truck front bumper
  • Custom-made roll pan
  • One-off bedside panels engraved with pinstriping
  • Shaved rain gutters
  • Extended cab top ½ inch to compensate for missing rain gutters
  • Shaved door handles, gas filler and badges
  • One-piece windows
  • Custom-made black brushed aluminum bed floor with brushed aluminum inserts
  • Custom-hinged center bed section with gas shocks
  • Custom panels under the hood and in the cab to match the bed
  • Fesler billet taillights
  • Axalta K99 Black paint

 INTERIOR & STEREO

  • Troy Reiger at Accurate Upholstery, Grand Junction
  • Black leather and black ostrich upholstery
  • PT Cruiser heated bucket seats
  • Custom gauge cluster
  • Billet Specialties Chicayne steering wheel
  • Dakota Digital commander remote control windows and door poppers
  • LMC Truck carpet
  • One-off headliner
  • Auto Meter gauges
  • AVS door poppers
  • Custom center console
  • Stereo installed by Mitch Bolton at Sound Stage, Grand Junction
  • Hot Rod Air AC kit
  • Kenwood double-DIN head unit
  • Dynamat sound deadener
  • Rear-view mirror camera
  • Kicker 8-inch subwoofer in the console with Kicker amplifier
  • Two 6-inch Kicked coaxials in the console
  • Optima battery

 Special Thanks From the Owner: “Thanks to Travis and the crew at Arizona Pro Performance for the brakes, tie rods, spindles and a lot of knowledge; Clay and the crew at Full Tilt Street Rods for the brake lines, steering components and official question answering; Scott from Top Notch Garage for mechanical guidance and help; Jim at A1 Muffler; Mike and the crew from Color Wheel; Mitch from Sound Stage Car Audio; and Platinum Sign Company for helping me move parts and push it in and out of the shop for years.”

 

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