1968 Chevy C10 – Revisiting David Neal’s Screaming Yellow Zonker!
Story and photos by David Fetherston
The 1968 Chevy C10 exploded onto the hot rodding and truckin’ scene in a big way a decade ago. Not surprisingly, it continued to progress and now with major shows opening their doors to later model squarebody’s, it will continue to flourish. But this is the story of a car that debuted years ago in Columbus at the biggest Goodguys event of the year.
The moment we saw David Neal’s outrageous C10, we had to find the mastermind. The truck was just sitting on the ground, in a near-empty parking lot at the Goodguys PPG Nationals. The owner, David Neal was nowhere to be seen. It turns out he was out looking at other outrageous rides, just like a typical car guy!
His 1968 Chevy C-10 was his first big venture. He’s built other rides, but this was his first hat trick of body, paint and power train. Neal owned the truck over nine years and has watched several close friends built all sorts of custom vehicles, including custom car builder, Tim Strange at Strange Motion.
The styling for the truck emerged out of some daydreaming and a little pencil and pad work over about two-year span while he redefined the look he wanted. David’s preferences morphed along with this age of ever increasing wheel diameters, leading to this crisp new re-style.
The 1968 Chevy C10 sits on a heavily-modified factory frame that David updated for a custom air suspension. The nose is now suspended off a set of Air Lift 27C air bags that work with the Chevy’s stock A-arm front suspension, spindles, and shock installation. Because of the 22-inch front wheels, there was no need to use dropped spindles in this install.
The steering was updated at this stage with a ‘79 Chevy power steering box and an Ididit steering column. The rear end was way more complex. This required creating a whole new rear frame section that blended the new sub-frame in behind the cab with huge C-notch to hoop over the rear axle.
This was all fabricated out of a 2 X 4-inch box section tube with new bed and body mounts. This allowed for the new Air Lift air bags for the stock rear axle and a custom-three link that David built to suit the suspension of the 1968 Chevy C-10.
The ride height engineering of the suspension was focused on the use of 22-inch front wheels and 24-inch rear wheels. These were custom ordered from Centerline and are 9-inches wide on the front and 10-inches on the rear.
The cab did not need much bodywork but it needed to get a prettier profile. So with the help of friends Joe Turk and Andy Cook, David clipped two-inches out of the top. The rest of the body was shaved of its wipers and door handles and generally just slicked up. The only trim left was the front quarter of the 1968 Chevy C-10 trim tag and the stock aluminum side moldings that run the whole length of the truck. Most custom truck builders would have removed this trim but retaining these pieces of stock trim help give the truck its crisper look.
The grille was reworked with Jeep Liberty headlights and is now painted white to match the bumpers, top and wheels. The Jeep headlights give the Chevy grille a modern look with their form following the contours of the headlight opening in the grille shell. According to David, they were not easy to install as they are flipped, which makes it difficult get the focusing correct. David also reworked both front and rear bumpers by shaving and smoothing, and at the rear he notched it in even tighter to the body.
The bed is a trick piece of art. Its rear surface was shaved and restyled with a classic molded license plate mount. The floor of the bed was raised about 12-inches to cover the new C-notched frame. The gas tank access was added into the new surface under the floor, inside the tailgate. The inner wheel wells were reshaped and raised to the top of the bed edge. Pieces of the bed were made by Tim Strange and at Ray Shaw Design and its turned out to be a masterful job. The taillights are stock ‘68’s from Early Classics.
The interior was also heavily reworked at this stage with a completely new custom dash made of steel and fiberglass. The exterior door handles were removed and are now opened with pull-down openers on the inside surface of the B-pillars.
Once David was done with all the restructuring, reconfiguring, shaving and custom molding he turned the truck over to Shane Souba in Peoria, IL for the new paint. Shane took up the gun filled with a satin taupe grey and shot the interior. He then reloaded with PPG White and shot the roof, bumpers, wheels and the top down to the waistline. Next came the statement color of Dub City Model Yellow to the rest of the body and interior.
The detailing and color combination is startling. David retained the fine chrome molding which runs along the bottom of the windows into the cowl and around the B-pillar to the base of the back window. This fine chrome trim helps to define the line between the two colors.
The interior features a wildly sculptured dash panel with all the instrumentation mounted in a peaked center panel with a long chrome shifter rising out of the slot on in the lower console. This is capped with a top-hatted, cigarette-smoking cartoon skull. The steering wheel is a Hustler from Billet Specialties and the sound system is an Alpine, installed by Andy Cook. The new dash is fitted with a full selection of Auto Meter white-faced gauges and a Vintage Air A/C system.
The single, cab wide bench seat is a stock frame reconfigured with ISS foam and a new cover stitched up by Jerry at A1 Upholstery in Bartonville, IL in a combination of tan and taupe Ultra Leather Jerry also stitched up the new taupe carpets.
Under the hood, the stock brake booster remains but it’s now painted and updated with a CPP master cylinder. The hood is now mounted on billet hinges and a billet accessory drive mounting system sis also used.
There is also nothing stock about the power train but it’s all Chevy. David installed a 2001 5.3L Gen III Vortec truck engine along with a matching 4L60 E transmission. He added Edelbrock Performer carburetor and headers, Flowmaster mufflers and painted the engine detailing in black and yellow.
The trends David Neal set with this hot hauler nearly a decade ago helped define a generation of show trucks. The change in body height, its lowered stance, the huge wheels and its color combination, all make for a sweet, sweet ride, accentuated by all the fine detailing. Slammed or cruising, David’s 1968 Chevy C-10 casts a large shadow!