Truck builders and car customizers are innovators and artists who choose a path less traveled. Instead of sitting behind some prefab warehouse desk punching buttons and shuffling paper for eight hours a day, they step through metal shavings, crack loose rusted bolts and bang and shape metal into art that will turn heads as it travels down the highway. Their art doesn’t hang on the wall in a museum, but rather, it impresses admirers at shows and in garages across the country.
Scott Purkerson of Eugene, Oregon, is an artist who exercises his creativity on American steel and pours his passion into shaping and redefining metal. When he was 24, Scott built hot rods and customs at Benchmark Fab & Finish in Corvallis, Oregon, while he worked on earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University. About halfway through school, Scott realized he didn’t want to sit behind a desk for the rest of his life, so he dropped out of school to build a truck. Seems logical to us, but mom and dad likely had a different reaction.
Once Scott was free of classrooms his build-up of a ’68 Chevy pickup went into overdrive. Before we get into specifics, let’s back take a step back. The build began with a hood that Scott custom-built, sculpted and radically reshaped. A friend had some bedsides and Scott’s dad had a cab, so little by little the makings of a truck were falling in line. He located two front fenders to match the hood, and another friend offered a grille. Scott amassed a sort of buffet of truck parts, but the haphazard beginnings set the stage for a full-throttle truck project.
As with any project, the chassis was the basis for greatness. Scott crafted a complete custom set of bones with 4×4 3/16-inch wall steel tubing and adjusted the wheelbase, moving both front and rear wheels forward. A Ford 9-inch rearend was narrowed and fit with Dutchman 31-spline axles and a 3.25:1 gear set. Scott built a custom 16-gallon steel fuel tank to replace the stocker and send octane cocktails to the 425-horse small-block. A pair of 1968 Jeep front leaf springs was used out back, along with a pan hard rod and 1 1/16-inch sway bar. KYB rear shocks dampen the suspension out back.
The front is set down properly with an A-body front clip with KYB shocks, A-body spindles, KYB control arms and a 1 5/16-inch sway bar. Disc brakes from an A-body with a Ford manual master cylinder handle stopping chores at the leading edge. Setting off this rolling art work are 18×9-inch front and 20×12 rear Billet Specialties wheels mounted on asphalt-ripping Mickey Thompson rubber.
Underneath the heavily modified hood that started all of this rests a 425-horse small-block 350 Chevy with ported and polished LT-1 heads topped by an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold fed the perfect air/fuel mixture by a 750-cfm carburetor. A Northern radiator and Flex-a-lite dual electric fans keep the temperature gauge in check, while coated 1 5/8-inch headers send spent fumes packing through a custom exhaust Scott built featuring a 3-inch pipe with a custom X-pipe exiting through Borla stainless steel mufflers. An EZ wiring harness connects all of the electrical dots, while a TH 350 transmission fit with a 3,000-stall torque converter hammers the power down to the narrowed 9-inch rearend.
Once the chassis and suspension were dialed in, Scott went crazy on the envelope and sealed it with a laundry list of metal modifications that had his welder and grinder working overtime. The lid was chopped 1 1/8 inches at the A-pillar, and the hood and grille were radically modified to match the truck’s custom theme. Scott custom built the front bumper out of 1/8-inch aluminum. Out back, the rear roll pan and tailgate skin that Scott made flow seamlessly into the rear setup. Scott also fabbed a custom steel bed floor and aluminum tonneau cover that give the molded and smoothed box extra style points. Shaved door handles, drip rails, smoothed doorjambs and a unibody with the bed welded to the cab make up the balance of the radical metal mods that were smothered in PPG European Ford Blue. Scott and James Katterson of Albany, Oregon, sprayed the striking color.
Between the doors, the work of art continues with a 1965 Chevy Suburban seat covered in custom two-tone vinyl by Mark Wygant of Premiere Upholstery in Albany. All of this fabric is surrounded by a smoothed custom steel dash stuffed with TPI Tech gauges. A Billet Specialties steering wheel handles navigation chores, while a custom-built console houses the shifter and Sony head unit.
Scott Purkerson, with help from a few talented hands, has built one cool and unique ’68 Chevy C-10 that cinched the Wildcard Award at the West Coast Goodguys’ Show. The truck was built through passion, commitment and talent coupled with the courage to step out of the box and do something different, even unconventional. Sometimes when a passion burns deep you’ve got to go your own way even if it’s not popular.
1968 Chevy C-10
350 Chevrolet small-block assembled by owner
1970 LT-1 ported, polished heads
Edelbrock Performer RPM intake
Flex-a-lite dual electric cooling fans
Custom owner-built air cleaner
Turbo 350 transmission with 3,000-stall torque converter
Headers into 3-inch custom exhaust
Borla stainless mufflers
EZ wiring harness
4×4 tube 3/16-inch wall steel tube frame custom built by owner
1968 Jeep front leaf springs on rear
9-inch Ford rearend
KYB rear shocks
Double convoluted airbags
1 1/16-inch rear sway bar
A-body front suspension clip with disc brakes
1 5/16-inch front sway bar
WHEELS & TIRES:
18×9 and 20×12 inch Billet Specialties SLD89
Mickey Thompson tires
BODY & PAINT:
1 1/8-inch A-pillar chop with B-pillar tips
Shaved door handles
Shaved drip rails
Full custom hood
Molded bed to cab for unibody conversion
Custom steel bed floor, wheel tubs and aluminum tonneau cover
Custom aluminum front fender inserts
Custom steel roll pan and smooth tailgate section
Single-piece side glass
Custom aluminum front bumper
PPG European Ford Blue paint by Owner and James Katterson of Albany, O
1965 Chevy Suburban bench seat
Custom vinyl two-tone by Mark Wygant Premiere Upholstery
TPI Tech gauges
Billet Specialties steering wheel
Billet Specialties handles
Owner-built custom steel center console
Sony head unit
6×9 and 4.5-inch speakers
Special Thanks: Benchmark Fab & Finish, Corvallis, OR