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Buck the Truck: The SEMA-Quality '73 C10

Anyone in tune with the today’s automotive trends knows that GM’s popular ‘73-87 C-series pickups are hot. With millions of them produced during that period, there’s no shortage of worthy restoration or modification candidates, and because they’re so heavily supported by the aftermarket, their legacy should live on for generations to come. Buck the Truck, Preston Folkestad’s ’73 Chevrolet C-10, is a tastefully modified home-built example that’s truly a family heirloom.

Buck the Truck C10 Side

It Runs in the Family

“I grew up in an automotive family,” says the 23-year-old Des Moines, Iowa resident. “My grandfather and my dad are big motorheads. I think the same oil that runs through my dad’s veins runs through mine. I was around three years old when my dad purchased my first motorcycle—a 50 cc Italian. I started riding it before I could ride a bicycle without training wheels. And I learned how to drive a car at the Bonneville Salt Flats.”

Buck the Truck C10 Front

Helping maintain Preston’s obsession with vehicles is the fact that his dad, Bob, owns GC Cooling—a company that produces high-end cooling system components for a wide array of vehicles. “I have always helped my dad in the shop and have experience in welding, fabricating, assembly, machining and painting. I graduated from Iowa State University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and am his Marketing Manager, but I really fill in on any jobs that need to be completed at any given time,” he added.   

When Preston started driving, his regular mode of transportation wasn’t anything close to ordinary. “My great-grandfather, Maurice ‘Buck’ Heckart, purchased a new ’73 Chevrolet C10 pickup truck,” he said. “It was a long-bed in burnt orange with tan interior and an inline 6-cylinder engine. He primarily used it as a work truck on his farm in rural Iowa. I spent time a lot of time on Buck’s farm learning to ride dirt bikes, shooting rifles and enjoying the outdoors. I remember playing in the barn on the old tractors and the dusty Chevy truck.” 

Buck the Truck C10 Engine

Early Modifications

Buck passed away in 2005, and his C10 was passed down to Preston, who had plans to make it a roadworthy driver. “Being an old farm truck, it was in pretty rough shape when I inherited it. It needed some work, so my dad and I chopped the frame to make it a short-box, lowered it, dropped in a 350 ci small-block Chevy and painted it hotrod flat black. I drove it daily until I graduated college. Growing up around cars and trucks of a different caliber numbed me to what I really had, however. The truck was just a truck to me at the time, but looking back, I had so much fun with it,” he said.

Buck the Truck C10 Rear Angle

Starting the Build

After its tenure as Preston’s daily driver, the modified C10 was in pretty rough shape. “I took care of it the best I could, but it was still a 40-year-old truck and showed its age,” he said. “The rockers, rear cab corner and bed were pretty rusty. The inner fenders were rough and the interior needed serious attention. I had been studying abroad in Rome, Italy and returned in December 2016. In my first marketing meeting back at GC Cooling, we learned the Camaro our customer was building to display in our booth at SEMA 2017 was on hold. We knew we needed a cool replacement. That’s when my mom suggested that we build the truck. My dad and I looked at each other and both had the light go on in our heads!”  

Buck the Truck C10 Rear

SEMA 2017 was GC Cooling’s second time exhibiting at the event. With its opening only months away, Preston and his dad were on a mission to build a show worthy truck. “We knew it would take good old fashioned hard work to get the project completed in time. We started the build in May 2017, and our goal was to have it finished by SEMA’s late-October opening so I could compete in the Young Guns competition. We worked on it every evening from 5 p.m. until 1 or 2 a.m. We’d then be back up at 7:30 a.m. for another day at GC Cooling.”    

Exterior Facelift

LMC Truck provided new rocker panels and rear corners for the cab along with a new short-box bed. Preston sourced used doors and original sheet metal to restore short-box side panels from a local salvage yard. The front bumper was flush-mounted and fitted, and the rear was replaced with a molded roll pan. The front marker lights were shaved from the fenders as were the lock cylinders from the doors and roof drip rail moldings from the cab. An aftermarket hood with cowl induction from LMC Truck replaced the original to enhance the muscular appeal.  

Buck the Truck C10 Bumper

Beautiful Paint

Chris Cope of Cope Custom Paint Specialists in Des Moines, Iowa performed much of the body work and applied the beautiful exterior finish exclusively using House Of Kolor products. The Kandy Tangerine over Orion Silver color coat provides an attractive contrast that’s accented by an airbrushed pinstripe with a carbon fiber appearance. The entire finish was clear coated, wet sanded and polished to mirror-like perfection.

Buck the Truck C10 Paint

Custom Leather

Inside the cab, the attractive leather and suede seat pattern on the bench seat was custom designed by Preston and made by Steve Pearson of Upholstery Unlimited in Clinton, Iowa. The dash panel was wrapped in matching leather and features a carbon fiber instrument panel insert with Dakota Digital gauges. The original door panels were customized to complement the rest of the build. A layer of Dynamat sound deadener resides beneath the replacement black cut-pile carpet. Affixed to the factory column is a Billet Specialties steering wheel. Sparco harnesses keep passengers restrained while a Vintage Air system keeps the cab comfortable. Alpine equipment makes up the sound system.

Buck the Truck C10 Interior

Upgraded Engine

Preston custom-made new inner fenders for under hood with carbon fiber. Between the frame rails sits a 355 ci small-block Chevy built by Mike Six Sr. A mid ‘80s Chevy truck donated its four-bolt 350 ci block. The cylinders were bored .030-inch and filled with forged-aluminum JE Pistons riding on original forged-steel connecting rods. The original crankshaft was undersized and treated to a fresh set of Hastings bearings. A Melling oil pump pressurized the lubrication system while a Moroso road-race-type oil pan and windage tray provide oil control. Cast-aluminum cylinder heads by Automotive Machine Shop Services provide a compression ratio of 11:1. Comp Cams supplied the hydraulic roller camshaft and Scorpion shaft-mounted rocker arms turn lobe lift into valve lift.

Buck the Truck C10 Full Engine

Tuned for Power

An Edelbrock Victor intake manifold and Fitech Meanstreet EFI system handle induction, while Aeromotive products supply the fuel. MSD Ignition components initiate the spark, while NGK VPower spark plugs ignite the mixture. Total spark lead of 38 degrees is reached by 4,000 rpm. 515 Fabrication in Des Moines custom-created the stainless steel tubular headers that feature 1 7/8-inch diameter primary tubes and 3-inch diameter collectors. The exhaust system is comprised of 3-inch diameter tubing with an H-type crossover and dual Magnaflow mufflers, which exit just ahead of the rear wheel on each side. The total result is approximately 500hp.  

Buck the Truck C10 EFI Live

Backing the potent small-block is a built 700R-4 four-speed automatic transmission with a B&M torque converter that’s stall-rated to 3,500 rpm. A transmission fluid cooler from Fluidyne High Performance keeps operating temperature in check. A custom driveshaft from Fast Shafts in Des Moines, Iowa transfers power to the rear axle.

Buck the Truck C10 Gauges

Putting the Power to the Ground

For the suspension, No Limit Engineering supplied its Front Independent Suspension kit, which included new spindles with at least seven inches of drop and a one-inch sway bar up front. Ridetech provided the coilover spring and shock absorber assemblies along with the power rack-and-pinion steering kit. A custom-fabricated pan hard bar positively locates the custom-fit nine-inch Ford rear axle with 4.10:1 gearing built by Quick Performance of Ames, Iowa.

The fully-modified suspension is complemented by a set of 20-inch Rambler wheels from US Mags in a width of eight inches up front and 9.5 inches in the rear. The attractive aluminum rims are shod on Nitto NT05 tires in 255/35ZR20 and 315/35ZR20, respectively. Wilwood braking components featuring six-piston radial-mount front calipers and four-piston rears provide stopping power.

Buck the Truck C10 NT05 Tires

Honoring a Great Man

High end show vehicles are typically given a name that defines the build. Preston’s C10 was afforded the same honor. “My great-grandfather was a World War II veteran who served in the 707th Tank division and was a motorcycle messenger and medic. Buck was such a precious person, and we lost someone very special when he passed away. We believe his legacy lives on with this truck and we ultimately named it ‘Buck the Truck’ in his memory.”

Buck the Truck C10 Name

The Accolades Keep Building

At SEMA 2017, Buck the Truck was awarded a top 10 finish in the Young Guns competition and finished within the top 40 overall, and the awards haven’t stopped there. They include Young Guys Award presented by Goolsby at the Good Guys event in Texas as well as Top Truck at the Midwest Exclusives Car Show.

Specs: Buck the Truck '73 Chevy C10

BUILT BY: Preston Folkestad, Bob Folkestad, Chris Cope
BUILD TIME: 150 days
ENGINE: 355 ci small block Chevy built by Mike Six Sr., four-bolt 350 block, forged-alloy JE pistons, stock crankshaft and connecting rods, Automotive Machine Shop cast-aluminum cylinder heads, COMP Cams hydraulic roller camshaft, Edelbrock Victor intake manifold, FiTech EFI, MSD Ignition system
DRIVELINE: 700R-4 automatic transmission with overdrive, B&M 3500 rpm stall torque converter, modified Ford nine-inch rear axle, 4.10:1 gears, limited slip differential, Wilwood brake components
SUSPENSION: No Limit Engineering drop spindles, one-inch front sway bar, Ride-tech coil over shock assemblies, custom-fabbed rear pan hard bar
WHEELS: US Mags Rambler, 20x8-inch front, 20x9.5-inch rear
TIRES: Nitto NT05, 255/35ZR20 front and 315/35ZR20 rear
BODY: Original Chevrolet C10 cab, original long-box frame shortened to accept small-box, shaved trim, flush mounted front bumper, rear roll pan
INTERIOR: Custom leather by Upholstery Unlimited, leather-wrapped dash pad and door panels, Sparco passenger harnesses, Dakota Digital gauges, Billet Specialties steering wheel, Alpine sound system, Vintage Air HVAC system
SPONSORS: GC Cooling, Dakota Digital

Not all builds have to be expensive. We found an amazing one made on the cheap.

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