Late-model Chevy S-10s just like this one are some of the most popular trucks on the road. The mods on them remain pretty much the same, especially when it comes to the bed. Usually, the extent of work includes shaving, painting, and possibly LED lighting to make sure it doesn't get rear-ended at night. The rear ends of these newer body-style trucks look good when they are cleaned up, but it has become an ordinary thing to do.
If we were to fall into the same pit as the others with our little S-10, then it could end up getting lost in the sea of similar trucks. So, we decided to blend older '60-'66 Chevy C10 styling with our contemporary Chevy. Those particular-style trucks have a cool tailgate with very distinctive Chevrolet lettering pressed into its sheetmetal. And we had a hunch that a tailgate like that would look killer on our newer truck, plus it would be sick to have 40-year-old metal meet up with the new stuff.
The search was on to find one of these original tailgates, as it would be the victim of our retro body mod. To complete this mod, we really only needed the center section of the old tailgate, so it made no sense to spend precious coinage on nice whole one. We went to Chevy Truck and Foreign Auto of Santa Ana, California. The company specializes in selling used parts from various models of trucks. We stopped by and found a banged-up tailgate with a clean usable center for the project, and since it wasn't in the greatest shape, we bought it for cheap.
1.We started out at Chevy...
1.We started out at Chevy Truck and Foreign Auto, since we found out that they had the right tailgate. They have a plethora of parts for General Motors' trucks, and as you can see here, they have plenty of them if you are doing this or even trying to find a replacement.
2.Here is the first look at...
2.Here is the first look at all the parts once we got everything we needed, including an original mid-'60s tailgate, Sir Michaels roll pan and light fillers, and reproduction Ford Model A taillights.
3.The roll pan was to be welded...
3.The roll pan was to be welded on, so we had to make sure it stayed that way. A good way to make sure it stays on is to weld a piece of square tubing to the front of it, where it usually will get pulled by road debris or curbs. To make ours even more sturdy, a frame was made to attach it to the bed for extra rigidity.
Way before we came up with the tailgate plan, we had thought of using round taillights we had seen on older Fords. A few phone calls later, we discovered that the lights were from a '28 Model A Ford and they have a trick lens with the word stop shaped into them. Now the trouble was finding a set of these for the project. There were no originals to be found on short notice, so we got ahold of exact replicas of them. Then, the plan was to order up Sir Michaels taillight fillers and a roll pan to host the new lights.
Once we had all the materials to work with, it was time talk to a few shops to see who had the craftsmanship to nail this project down correctly. We found out that the crew at Devious Customs of Ontario, California, have stepped up their game on sheetmetal work. They are known for making radical low trucks with properly designed suspensions that are built tough. In the past, bodywork was not a specialty, but now that Jose Rodriguez is a part of the crew, they can really do some great work. Jose has a ton of experience with sheetmetal and can create almost anything with it.
We got on the ball instantly and started banging out this thing. Before we knew it, we were working straight through a weekend to get everything done. It was a lot of work, but in the end, it was worth the time to make it a quality job done right.
4a.The lights were going to...
4a.The lights were going to be frenched in, which meant that lights buckets had to be made from sheetmetal. We measured the circumference and gave it an extra half inch to make some space between it and the lights. The metal was cut and put through a slip roller to make it round. Once it was in the shape it needed to be, it was welded together.
5.Then, a back plate needed...
5.Then, a back plate needed to be made to bolt the lights onto. Sheetmetal was cut to the size of the lights, and holes were cut for the wires and bolts. It was flattened and welded to the back of the buckets.