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The C10 Build of a Lifetime

Some of us come into the custom truck scene by choice. Others, like Halen Ashley of White House, Tennessee, are raised in it, and have all things automotive deeply engrained in their DNA. Halen is currently a high school student working her way through homework at a very trying and uncertain time in history, but her upbringing has given her a sense of grounding that has allowed her to keep on truckin’ through it all.

Back when Halen was just 7 years old, her dad, Bryan, bought her something most kids her age probably couldn’t imagine receiving. It wasn’t a Playstation or some other mind-numbing toy, but it was a truck. A real truck. THIS truck shown here—a 1970 Chevy C10. Wow. Talk about a great gift! Now, the truck didn’t look as good as it does today. Bryan purchased the truck for his daughter as a project that they could work on and spend time together throughout the years of her childhood.

In a time when there are greater numbers of disconnects between parents and children, building a custom truck is an excellent method of bonding—if the idea sticks.

“My dad’s ultimate goal for the truck was to have it ready for me to drive by the time I was 16,” Halen says. “At the time it was given to me, I didn’t fully appreciate what the truck represented, since I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Now, the truck has become a passion for me.”

In a time when there are greater numbers of disconnects between parents and children, building a custom truck is an excellent method of bonding—if the idea sticks.

The C10’s bed has been cleaned up and treated with new paneling, fresh paint and a slick wood plank floor.

The process of building the truck didn’t start right away, but once it was time to work, Bryan made sure that his daughter was a major part in the process if she wanted to be. To his pleasure, she did want to help out, and the duo decided to first start on the chassis, as they began to assemble a custom frame with a stock donor from a ’68 C10. To keep things simple and straightforward, the two planned to lower the suspension with quality static drop components. Good ‘ol coils, spindles and blocks brought the ride height down to a respectable 6.5/9-inch slam. With that kind of rear drop, a C-notch was definitely in order, but nothing Bryan and Halen couldn’t handle.

“Working on the frame was the easiest and maybe the most enjoyable part of building the truck,” Halen admits.

To get the C10 starting and driving as reliably as possible, a newer engine, an ’84 GMC 350, was harvested and prepped for hardy modification. Together, Bryan and Halen outfitted the V-8 with top shelf performance products from Edelbrock, Holley, as well as some great custom pieces that will not only keep the C10 purring, but roaring while on the road.

Halen might not have been fully knowledgeable of what each phase of the build entailed, but she didn’t let the opportunity to learn pass her by.

“Working on every aspect of the truck with my dad not only taught me how the entire truck works and what each part does, but it also taught me how to work hard, have patience as well as a lot of other important life lessons,” she says.

While Halen got to spend so much time with her dad while getting the suspension and engine in order, her mom, Mandi, also joined in on the fun as the mother-daughter team turned their attention to reupholstering the bench seat. Halen liked the old school, rat-rod look of utilizing Mexican blankets as seat covers, and that’s exactly what they ran with—they even found blankets that had a teal color that perfectly complemented the truck’s freshly painted color.

Taking the personal touches further, Halen opted out of creating a traditional headliner, and instead used the space to display her ever-growing sticker collection. While the task of making the truck reliable and roadworthy was a top priority for her parents, allowing Halen to take creative reigns and make the truck her own was just as important in their eyes.

A lot of time and money has been spent whipping Halen’s C10 into the condition it currently is in, but it really has been the best investment made by the Ashley household. While the entire process didn’t happen overnight, the approximate 7-year build gave the entire family a chance to fully appreciate the high points that arose in that time.

“I was never afraid to ask questions,” Halen says. “Trucks are such a big part of my life now, and I would not be me without them.”

With her C10 now complete, there is nothing Halen would have wanted done differently. It has the low stance and killer wheels to match, as well as all the finishing touches that have made for a winning combination of parts and one-off craftsmanship.

Surely, there will be more custom projects in Halen’s bright future. While this particular C10 might be hard to top on an emotional level, it definitely will be a stepping stone for great things to come.

“I am so grateful that my parents gave me this opportunity,” Halen says about the last handful of years. “I was very blessed to be raised in a home that has such a love for awesome trucks.”