Coffee with Two Sugars – A Sweet and Simple 1968 C10
It doesn’t seem like Frank Gonzales sleeps much. He holds a full-time job at a school and after hours he’s in his garage building cars. He cuts, forms, welds, fabs, grinds and even paints hot rods for himself, his family, and some friends. Constantly.
Frank distinctly remembers when the hot rod bug bit him deep. At the ripe age of seven, his Dad put him to work on an older Chris-Craft boat where they reworked the wood and the lad got his first whiff of fiberglass. He was wielding welding rods by age 11 or 12 and had completed his first rebuild and paint job by the time he got his license. Five decades later, he’s still knee-deep in hot rod parts and projects – and so is his father!
His latest build is this coffee-and-cream 1968 C10 which earned a Goodguys Gazette Pick at the Summer Get-Together in Pleasanton this past June. Frank built this cool pickup in his home shop in a span of about 9-10 months. We’re not talking just a few quickie bolt-on parts, but a full-tilt, blow-it-apart down to the bare frame type of build. In fact, the only thing Frank didn’t do on this truck is the interior (though he’s stitched more than a few of his own on past builds).
This 1968 C10 was originally purchased a number of years ago as a family project, but just never took off so he finally decided to build it for himself. He rolled the truck into his shop and stripped it down to its bare essentials. Frank likes to keep things simple and functional, so the frame and factory rearend were retained and treated to a full set of air bags complemented by CPP A-arms up front and Porterbuilt drop components out back. An AccuAir system controls the height for cruising down the road or profiling at the shows.
Continuing with the plan to keep things simple, an era-correct 327c.i. small block was rebuilt with a cleaned-up set of stock heads and ram’s horn manifolds. It’s fueled by a tried-and-true Edelbrock carb on an Edelbrock intake, with an HEI distributor providing the spark. The sheet metal surrounding the small block, including the trick wheel wells, was hand crafted by Frank. He continued those touches on the firewall and sprayed everything to match the coffee and cream two-tone hue of the exterior. Outside, Frank shaved the door handles, lock cylinders and emblems, but left the factory trim along the lower body to separate the colors as a nod to the OEM styling of yesteryear.
The interior was completed by Doug at I-Did-It Upholstery with white vinyl stitched in a simple pattern over the factory bench seat. The factory dash and gauges were restored and Frank opted to retain the column shifter to maintain a clean appearance and extra legroom across the cab. A few modern creature comforts were added including A/C, a tilt column, stereo, and power windows. The bed received a hand-built steel floor that was raised and blended into the factory side panels. It was treated to a spray-in bedliner because Frank still actually hauls things in the bed. Custom wheel tubs were fabbed to fit over the new 22×9.5-inch Boss wheels that adorn each corner and are shod with Toyo rubber.
In less than a year, Frank built another beautiful hot rod and thanks to its sweet stance, subtle colors and pure simplicity – not to mention the knowledge that it was a home-brewed project – it caught the eye of our staff to earn a Gazette Pick. With the 1968 C10 on the road, space was cleared out of Frank’s home shop so he could get busy on a friend’s ’39 Zephyr as well as a ’54 Ford for his father. We’re anxious to see what he brings out to Pleasanton next year!
Photos by Damon Lee