Square bodies are all the rage right now and among them, second-generation C10s are highly sought after for their unique hot-rod potential. Needless to say, Pickups Plus Cars knew it discovered a diamond in the rough when co-owner Kyle McCoy stumbled upon a rusty, dusty 1972 Chevy C10.
The Muscle Behind a ’72 C10
Your vehicle says a lot about who you are, something the staff at Pickups Plus Cars understands quite well. Family-owned and operated for 20 years, theirs is a full-service automotive shop serving two locations in the Greater Columbus, Ohio area. Company roots as a traditional truck accessory retailer and restyler soon expanded to include performance diagnostics and custom builds.
“I really enjoy projects where we get to be involved from start to finish, not just a portion of it,” said Kyle McCoy. To him, “sitting down with customers, hearing their ideas, and putting a vision to paper” is the most rewarding aspect of the job.
McCoy was itching for a shop build himself, something that would allow staff to bring their own vision to life… but it had to check all the right boxes. “Our family has always been in love with trucks from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s,” he said. “Eventually, my goal is to have one from each generation that we can showcase here at the shop.” The collection started with his father’s ’55, which has been restored to its original charm, and has since expanded to include a classic ’72 square body.
A Dream Restoration
McCoy stumbled upon a real Georgia peach while scanning various online classifieds during his free time. A spark for restoration was ignited with a 1972 Chevy C10 regular cab, short-bed setup. The C10 is a platform that McCoy has always admired, and he knew this particular model was a bit rare. “A lot of guys are finding long beds and doing a short bed change-up, cutting the frames and then shortening them.”
Clearly, the ‘72 C10 required serious TLC after spending decades parked behind the old barn it called home in the deep South, but McCoy knew that vintage beauty lived beneath all the damage. “The truck was running—barely—and it had a bunch of oil leaks, but there was a nice canvas to work with and it was kind of right up my alley, as far as what I was looking for. So, we threw it on the rollback and brought her home,” said McCoy.
This One’s for Keeps
Though a project worth doing isn’t always a project worth keeping, a 1972 Chevy C10 isn’t the kind of barnyard find that McCoy was going to serve up as someone else’s dream restoration. He knew it had good bones and the potential to serve as something greater than a buy-fix-flip. “Shortly after we got it, I decided that this was a truck that we were going to keep around for a while,” he said. Not one to mix business and pleasure, McCoy couldn’t help but to fall in love with the ’72 that he now envisioned as the official shop truck.
Because most of their business happens to be top-loaded with aftermarket products for newer vehicles, this particular build reminds customers that Pickups Plus Cars isn’t a one-trick pony. Restoration is as much a part of their repertoire as bolt-on customization and dyno work.
A Vintage Patina
As such, the McCoy family always intended for the shop build to be a collective project. “That meant the first step was to get all the guys involved, ask for their input, and start building a game plan around how we wanted it to look and drive,” said McCoy. Purchased in September 2017, the team spent the next few months methodically sketching the details, with Michael Brookover overseeing a majority of the parts ordering.
At the center of group discussion was exterior aesthetics. Everyone agreed that its antique patina was the heart and soul of the build, but experience warned them it would be a time-consuming undertaking. The factory teal paint was robbed of its original beauty.
“Somebody, likely a farmhand based on the historical information of the truck, gave it a few coats of red tractor paint,” said McCoy. “The red’s a good thing because it ties into our shop colors and is representative of our identity, but the fact that it was so old and the type of paint that they used was so durable, it was a real challenge to get the patina finish to look the way we wanted. There was an awful lot of body and filler work, sanding, and cleaning up paint runs, brush strokes, and things like that to finally get a smooth, seamless look—like it had been that way for the last 40-50 years,” he continued.
Old Meets New
“The patina is a nod to its vintage charm but our guy, Mike Shipley, did a great job marrying old and new with a black spray-in bedliner. It gives the bed a real modern, finished look,” said McCoy.
While they were at it, Pickups Plus Cars chose to convert the front end from a 1972 to 1969—a desirable year for the C10—and upgraded to Smoothie front and rear bumpers. Professional pinstriping and custom lettering on the door, spearheaded by Shane Syx, further accentuate and personalize the classic styling.
Old-World Charm, Modern Vibes
Such care and consideration were taken to maintain the integrity of its worn and weathered patina. But like the true gearheads they are, the team at Pickups Plus Cars was drawn to blend old-world charm with custom upgrades.
After considering a full LS swap and supercharger for max power output, they decided to kick it old school and hook the ’72 up to a GM Performance 350 crate motor with a TCI Turbo 350 transmission.
“Every year, our entire family goes on vacation together. And while I was gone this past July, the guys pushed really hard to get some extra stuff done so that Josh Skedell and Devin Shaffer could get the motor and trans dropped in and have the thing up and running for me when I got back, which was really nice of them,” said McCoy.
Pickups Plus Cars turned to tried-and-true aftermarket brands like Hedman and Edelbrock for the headers, intake, carburetor, and water pump. In addition, the shop upgraded to a SSBC brake kit all the way around, along with JW Speaker headlights, a RetroSound Radio, and a JL Audio amp/sub-conversion. “The headlights aren’t very good in these old trucks. This day and age, we’re lucky to have the advancements in lighting. So, we opted for the LED upgrade,” said McCoy.
Matt Whitaker was instrumental with all of the electrical, wiring, and custom touches, knocking it out of the park with a secondary digital setup constructed behind the original gauge cluster. “If you’re looking at it with the truck shut off, the gauges appear stock. But you get the digital look when everything is all fired up, which is pretty cool,” said McCoy. Likewise, Whitaker ensured a classic-looking radio with all the finer upgrades like Bluetooth control, component speakers, a sub, and full sound deadening.
The Envy of Any Onlooker
No rock was left unturned, right down to the new Energy Suspension body bushing kit and motor/transmission mounts. “Aside from the exterior paint and engine performance, my favorite part has to be the suspension. Donovan McCoy is very gifted mechanically and he jumped in to help wherever needed, especially the air-ride suspension,” said McCoy, who is extremely grateful to RideTech.
“We have a pretty good relationship with those guys, in particular Johnny Merder, and they helped us out with doing a full air-ride setup. Thanks to RideTech, we have a mini C-notch on it, which allows you to keep the bed all intact—looking at it from the outside in without having to cut the bed all up. Now we have full air ride all around the truck, which can be controlled from inside or directly from my cell phone,” said McCoy.
Just like a slick new tie provides the finishing touch to a snazzy suit, never underestimate the impact of a classic wheel and tire combo. Pickups Plus Cars swung for Mickey Thompson Street Comps and 20×8.5 American Racing VN506s up front with a set of 20×10 in the rear.
The BEST Kind of Advertising
The end result is a clean 1972 Chevy C10 that marries classic and contemporary styling, with an exterior finish that wears its decades-long abuse like a badge of honor and a modern air-ride suspension system that’s the envy of any mini-trucker.
As it sits today, the truck is 95% complete. “The thing sounds really good and it cruises really nice. It’s definitely a conversation-starter when people come into the shop. And that’s what we were after with the truck—make it our own and use it for promotional activity,” said McCoy. “We love to celebrate this shop build with our customers and that wouldn’t have been possible without Justin Hinkle, our sales manager. He made sure everything was flowing just right and by doing so, it allowed us the time and opportunity to steal guys here and there to work on this shop build without interfering with day-to-day business,” he said.
Classics are a dying breed, with the ’72 C10 sending a clear message to today’s throw-away society: “This is why we do what we do—for the love of breathing new life into the time-honored tradition of restoration so that we can resurrect the classics, the forefathers, the vehicles that shaped and molded the industry.”