Mike DeMello has had his share of vehicles, yet none has more meaning to him than this '73 Chevrolet C10. That's because his grandfather had a truck of the same body style when he was younger, and he became very fond of it. Though Mike was not able to get his grandfather's actual truck to customize, he managed to get his hands on this one. Before he got the '73 C10, Mike had a '72 Suburban that went in a shop for suspension work. The shop failed to complete the SUV, and Mike had to pick it up in pieces. He was very disappointed at the whole deal yet still needed to get the Suburban back together by someone. While asking fellow Down to Earth club member Travis Pruis of CTP Concepts about working on it, he heard about this C10. Both Travis and Mike ended up more interested in each other's projects and settled on a trade. This put the Suburban in Travis's hands and the C10 in Mike's.
As a part of the trade, Travis had to 'bag and body-drop the C10. He was able to do so during many late nights in his own garage with the help of Bob Everett. The plan was to get the body on the garage floor while being able to tuck 22-inch wheels under it. Since the original tires on the truck have an outside diameter of 29 inches, they figured these tires would work in setting up the suspension for 22s. On the front, Travis and Bob removed the coil springs, mounted a set of Firestone 224c airbags, and shortened the control arms for wheel clearance. To get the body on the ground, the front clip of the frame was raised 5 1/2 inches and welded to the 2x3x1/4-inch steel tubing that takes the place of the frame section under the cab. Then, the rear frame clip was welded in place, and a two-link with Panhard bar was mounted with another set of Firestone airbags.
To any normal person, the body-dropped version of the truck would have made it low enough to suit his needs. However, Mike wanted to go lower and commissioned Travis to drop it even more than before. Back at Travis's garage, he and Randal Bogoje cut the body mounts to have clearance to lay the doors. To get the doors down low, they cut off the bottom of the front fenders, rockers, and front of the bed. To add strength to these cut body panels, they welded 1/4-inch steel plates to these lower sections. This put the truck so low that the bumpers had to be raised in order for the truck to lay out.
Of course the mods didn't end there because the roof line went even lower with a 3-inch chop-top. Travis and Randal accomplished this by lowering the rear glass and leaning the windshield back. Then, 3 inches was taken out of the pillars to get the top down. To finish it, the windshield was cut down 2 inches and the doors were modified to match the top. Other custom sheetmetal work includes a modified cab floor with raised transmission tunnel. Also, the bed floor and factory wheeltubs were raised. To cover the step-notch section of the frame, a spare bed floor was cut and shaped over the notch. From there, Brandon Sisco plans on continuing the mods by shaving the firewall, making front wheeltubs, and then working the body straight. Then it will be off for paint at Milinich Paint and Body where it will get coated in a copper color.
Mike's vision for the completed truck is to have it classy yet low. In fact, the factory badges, side markers, door handles, and taillights will remain on the truck just for the sake of keeping the original look. That way, Mike can have a super-low truck that will still remind him of his grandfather's hauler.