Sometimes the best things in life aren’t planned. Whether it be a fateful turn of events, being at the right place at the right time, some indescribable cosmic force working in your favor, good karma finally paying off, or just good ‘ol fashioned dumb luck—you just have to be ready to go with the flow whenever a golden opportunity presents itself.
While not everyone is fortunate enough to purchase a lottery ticket worth millions, it’s still worthwhile to keep score of other meaningful life occurrences, such as finding a cool pickup project out in a field somewhere. This must be just as exciting as winning the Powerball, right? While some folks might not be able to equate landing a big jackpot with scoring something as mundane as a rusty truck, keep in mind that we aren’t talking about just any truck here—or just any field, for that matter.
To bring this picture into focus here, let’s start by describing the truck in question. Imagine an untouched early ’60s big-window shortbed C10. That’s a good start for sure, but it was in major need of some TLC while still thankfully being in largely original condition. The truck was accompanied by a heap of parts that may or may not help in the restoration process, but it’s usually better to have a surplus of bits and pieces than not enough in the long run anyway.
With this image in mind, now place it sitting in the back pasture of one Bob Grant of Grant Fab’s Northern California residence. Chad Cooper wasn’t in this position but he was there when Bob Grant showed some of the project cars that needed to be removed from his property.
“I was not planning on purchasing anything that day,” Chad admits. “When you get word that Bob Grant is selling some of his personal projects, you just go and see what he has. Luckily, I was able to make a deal work on this ’61 Chevy and Bob, being the awesome guy he is, honored a credit that I had with him that went back some 10 years before this day. The stars had seemed to align just right, so I went ahead with purchasing the C10 and had Bob himself perform some killer metalwork while it was still there at his disposal.”
While at the Grant Fab compound, Chad’s C10 experienced a flurry of one-off alterations for the sole purpose of creating a truly unique classic Chevy truck in a sea of other customized classic Chevy trucks. Bob Grant was the perfect person to have on your team for a project like this.
Bob started with the tired C10 in stock condition, adding a 2-inch cut top and modifying a Ford front bumper. He then lowered the front bumper to match the lines. He then whipped up a custom rear roll pan for the truck, worked in a set of ’66 Ford F-100 taillights, and pretty much worked his magic on just about every metal panel imaginable during the year he had Chad’s C10 in his care.
COVID happened while progress was being made on the truck. There seems to be a new wave of custom trucks being finished that were under construction during the crazy lockdown. The supply chain is slowly loosening up as time goes on. Chad also moved from California back to Texas during that period, which affected the build time.
With a great deal of the metalwork already taken care of, Chad’s next step for the truck was to look for a custom chassis builder in his new area, and he found just that Acme Chassis Factory in South Houston, Texas. While there, Griffin Gunner and Acme crew fabricated a full custom frame complete with high-end air-ride components that they were lucky enough to get their hands on in a timelier-than-average speed for this era. The guys did take a little over a year to obtain the tires they needed to cover their 24-inch Raceline wheel, which was absurd but not as long as the delay Chad faced when he tried to acquire the engine of his choice.
Chad waited only three years to obtain a brand new GM LS7 crate 2021 engine. Nelson Racing, in Chatsworth California, took care of the rest. There, the engine was given a dual turbo setup and then sent on to Texas. That’s a hell of a setup for an old ’61 C10, but this former basket case of a field find was steadily evolving into a pickup easily differentiated from its peers.
METAL, PART 2,
With the project still requiring some work inside of the bed as well as in the interior, Chad began yet another search—this time to find a talented, local metalworker on par with Bob Grant, which wasn’t an easy task.
“I knew that I had found the right guy to help with the rest of the truck’s metal as soon as I met Rocky Seaman,” Chad says enthusiastically. “Rocky, along with Daniel Dotlow of All N 1 Autoworks, Conroe, Texas, collaborated on creating custom sheetmetal bed paneling, an aluminum bed floor, as well as devising a motorized center panel to reveal the Acme chassis below. Rocky and Daniel also created a killer metal dash to showcase their handiwork front and center in the cab, which was soon outfitted with an Alpine Halo receiver, Air Lift and Vintage Air controllers, along with fresh instrumentation.”
While Chad’s bare metal beauty is looking mean and clean as-is, there is still much work to be done to carry it across the finish line. This truck isn’t his only iron in the fire, as Chad has another high-quality vehicle also in the build phase, but he did have to sell four of his other rides to work on this ’61 Chevy pickup at the same time. So far, there is not one single thing he’d like to see changed. Rocky is currently preparing to start fabricating panels for both the engine compartment and the underside of the bed.
Chad refers to this highly anticipated under construction truck as Cherry Pie—a nod to the hair band Warrant. Although it still has its distinctive bare metal finish on the exterior, this nickname could be a hint at a future paint color. If not, this truck’s namesake is still a fitting song to refer to. The opportunity to build this truck was certainly a sweet surprise. And it has plenty to offer to make even a grown-up cry.
1961 Chevy C10
- Shop Nelson Racing in Chatsworth (CA)
- 2021 GM LS7 v-8
- Twin turbo
- Stage 6 4L85E four-speed automatic transmission
- QA1 carbon fiber drive shaft
- Shop Acme Chassis Factory South Houston TX
- Full-custom frame
- Air Lift air management system
- FLO air tanks
- Two Viair 485 compressors
- Ford 9-inch rearend
WHEELS, TIRES & BRAKES
- 24-inch Raceline bandit wheels
- Wilwood braking components
EXTERIOR & PAINT
- Shop: Bob Grant @ Grant Fab, Oroville, CA
- Grant Fab offers custom bodywork for your vehicle.
- Modified front bumper to fit the body
- Custom rear roll pan
- Shaved cowl
- 2-inch Chop Top
- All N 1 Autoworks in Conroe TX, Rocky Seaman and Daniel Dotlow, custom sheetmetal bed with aluminum floor.
- Customized motorized floor section
- 1966 Ford F100 taillights
- Orion Automotive Finishes satin Clear applied to bare metal
- Auto Metal Direct offers a variety of parts
- Snowden custom bench seat
- All N 1 Autoworks offers custom metal dashs
- Vintage Air A/C, heat
- Ididit column
- Bill Flynn – Painless wiring harnesses and electrical by Bill Flynn
The Street Trucks article Cherry Pie – Chad Cooper’s 1961 Chevy C10 was first published.| Chad Cooper’s ’61 Chevy C10 appeared first on Street Trucks.