Nostalgia and Trends Merge in This ’84 Chevy C10
Nothing soothes more than a good dose of nostalgia. For Derrick Ramsey of Heber Springs, Arkansas, nostalgia came from his childhood of riding with his grandfather in a Chevy Squarebody.
My youngest memories were standing on a bench seat of an old farm truck. My grandfather and I went everywhere together. It was a huge part of my childhood.
“My youngest memories were standing on a bench seat of an old farm truck,” Derrick says. “My grandfather and I went everywhere together. It was a huge part of my childhood.”
Decades later, Derrick was conversing with a friend and shared his farm-truck memories. His friend told him that he knew of an ’84 Chevy C10 for sale for only $1,500. At that price, it was a no-brainer to scoop up the truck. Luckily, it was only one town over.
When Derrick arrived, he was shocked at how clean it was.
“It was mint, not a single speck of rust anywhere,” Derrick says.
The tail shaft was broken so it wouldn’t drive, but that didn’t stop Derrick at all. He winched the Chevy onto a trailer and took it home. The same day he unloaded it into his garage he began the stripping-down process. Without a clear path towards the level of customization Derrick was going to achieve, he laid out two different paths: It was either a clean, static drop with minor additions; or it was to blow it completely apart and learn as he went.
The decision came down to the flip of a coin, and I think you know which side it landed on.
Big Mission Ahead
With only minor experience in truck building, Derrick had quite the mission ahead of him. The first step was removing the front clip and yanking out the 305 from under the hood.
“I ended up taking that 305 to the scrapyard because that’s where 305s belong,” Derrick says with a laugh.
Derrick went online to several C10 forums and started researching and asking questions. After some in-depth research, Derrick realized that a huge problem with these trucks is that they don’t lay out in the front unless you raise the crossmember in one of three ways. He started looking into options, and people were talking about these new drop members that fixed every issue and would convert the truck to rack-and-pinion. At the time of the build process, only Thorbeck and Porterbuilt were making this drop member. While flipping through an issue of Street Trucks, Derrick saw a picture of Jason Thorbeck’s crossmember in one of the advertisements, and right then he decided that’s what he wanted for his C10. He ordered it along with a new back half and waited like a child on Christmas for it to arrive.
While waiting, Derrick took the frame to Rock Hard Powder Coating in Oil Trough, Arkansas. He found a Stroker 388 locally and a 700r4, which he added to the empty engine compartment. The rolling chassis was assembled, but the problem was that he hadn’t decided on what wheels to add yet.
“I know I’m not alone in this thinking,” Derrick says. “But wheels are the single most influential piece on any build.”
He spent hours looking through different wheels and, once again, turned to Street Trucks where he saw a set of Static 5s on a truck called Family Ties. Once he logged onto the Raceline website, the Jaded 5 popped up and he immediately made the call to order them.
With all the components arriving around the same time, Derrick began the long process. He installed the full air-ride suspension system, bringing the C10 to the ground. For the bodywork, Derrick’s good friend Shawn Stone at Heber Springs Collision allowed him to borrow the tools and materials to complete all the work. The next step was adding paint to the blank canvas by bringing the Chevy to Scott Churchwell for a complete paint job. At this point, Derrick thought he was finished with the build, but he was wrong.
C10, Take 2
While trailering his C10 to a local show in Fort Smith, Arkansas, he laid it out on the wood platform and gave the appearance of a body-drop. After seeing this, Derrick had a whole new mission.
He ordered larger wheels of the same brand and model and 2×4 tubing for the frame. The truck was torn down once again. The rolling chassis was brought to a friend’s shop, and a 3/4-inch frame was built for the 2.5-inch stock floor body-drop. Three days later the truck was once again on the road but now able to be dropped on the frame. To finish the body-drop process, Derrick built the bed floor and upgraded the air-management system.
When he needed extra parts for the C10, he found a donor truck. When he arrived to buy it, the owner told him he had named this truck Becky but thought the name was stupid for a truck.
On the way to dinner with his wife, Derrick’s transmission went out, so to get the biggest bang for his buck, he pulled the whole motor, added an LS motor, and had it tuned and dialed in.
As a habit, Derrick names most of the things he owns, from cars to lawnmowers. The names, for some reason, always start with the letter B. His last truck was Betsy, his lawnmower is Beowolf, and he has a street bike named Beatrice. When he needed extra parts for the C10, he found a donor truck. When he arrived to buy it, the owner told him he had named this truck Becky but thought the name was stupid for a truck. Derrick disagreed and said, “That’s the name of this truck, I can’t change it.”
That’s her identity now. When anyone meets her at a show, they always address her as “Becky.”
1984 Chevy C10
Heber Springs, Arkansas
Club Affiliation: Acrophobia
- Front Suspension: AccuAir Switchspeed suspension, Thorbeck Bros. P51 crossmember, Arms of Mass Construction, Airlift Dominator 2,600-pound bags, McGhaughy 13” front big brake kit
- Rear Suspension: basic triangulated 4-link, bag on axle, Airlift Dominator 2,600-pound triple-stack bags, two Viair 480s. 5-gallon tank
- Engine: 2001 5.3L Brian Tooley NSR truck cam, Holley Script coil pack covers, shaved stock intake painted to match, Taylor plug wires, intake painted by Jody Brooks
- Transmission: rebuilt 4l60e by Superior Transmission in Heber Springs
- Rearend: 12 bolt rear end, 3:73 gears, narrowed 4” by Garrison DeArmond in Ozark, Arkansas, Moser axles
- Stock floor body-drop, PPG Deltron, DMD 1683 Black. PPG black toner, 2012 Cadillac Escalade Magna Steel center stripe, ’68 Corvette Bronze pinstripe all done by Scott Churchwell, bodywork done by owner, LED headlights, semi-sequential LED taillights from Jason Kingsbury, raised bed floor, factory raised tubs, laser cut sheetmetal floor painted to match, metal stripe for a wood look, painted by Jody Brooks
- Dakota Digital VFD gauges, AVS air gauges, Vintage Air A/C, billet steering column and steering wheel
- Stereo: Retro Sound head unit, two 3.5” speakers under the dash, three 4×10” speakers
Wheels & Tires
- Wheels: front: 22×8.5 Raceline Jaded 5 with 5” backspace rear: 24×10 Raceline Jaded 5 with 5” backspace
- Tires: front 235/30R22 Lexani LX Twenty rear: 275/30R24 Lexani LX Twenty
First and foremost, thanks to my wife, Chelsea. She has put up with a lot and supported everything. Thanks to my mom and dad. My mom would stop by the house every afternoon to watch our son so I could get into the garage and work on the truck. My dad would drop what he was doing and come help every time I was ready to give up. If it weren’t for those people, it would have never gotten finished. Mike McElroy and Jody Brooks always came to my aid with electrical issues. Thanks to Shawn Stone for letting me take up space in his place of business to do my bodywork and Scott Churchwell for the paintwork.