Robby Keller C10
Beautiful inside and out,
this C10 is more than a pretty face
It’s no secret that classic pickups are the current darling of the custom car world. Sure, ’69 Camaros and ’55 Chevys are still segment leaders, but no one can (or should) ignore the ever-growing parade of bagged and fuel-injected Chevy pickups stretching as far as you can see. We can trace the emphatic rise of custom trucks to several sources: availability, price, wow factor and the simple fact that trucks are cool.
Call ‘em crazy, but a lot of enthusiasts would rather buy a clean C10 for $3,500 and go to town versus a basket-case ’68 Chevelle for $12,500. Buying a cheap canvas leaves more room in the budget for the actual art. This is especially true for the young guns out there that don’t have a sentimental attachment to a specific body style; they’re just lookin’ for something neat to modify and make their mark. Along the same lines, most of the new crop of truck builders isn’t hung up with the way things were; many are curious to try new ideas, new combinations, and new technology.
Take Rob Keller’s ’64 Chevy C10, its powered by a venerable 5.3L LS engine, sits flat on the ground, and contains more well-placed electronic components than early U.S. spacecraft; it’s guaranteed to make a couple hot rod purists balk everywhere it goes. Alas, many of these nit-pickers arrived in a minivan and left their leg to stand on at home.
Rob’s truck, aptly named Cover Girl, sits on a custom-built chassis from AF Speed Shop, complete with custom front control arms, a braced differential housing and airbags at each corner. Rad Fab assembled the whole works, selecting an Accuair E-Level system to keep tabs on and allow adjustment of the altitude and attitude via a small handheld controller living on the dash. The 22” Detroit Steel Wheels smoothies have OEM bowtie caps in the middle and Toyo Proxes tires around the outside. The aforementioned 5.3 is backed by an NV4500 manual transmission and adorned with a one-off air-intake/engine cover, small block valve covers and a pair of gorgeous, hand-made headers.
In the cab, things look deceptively stock. Elevated Designs fitted the original bench seat with fawn and mocha hound’s-tooth material, while a ’63 steering wheel spins proudly. What you may not notice is the Retro Sound head unit, 10” Kicker sub and 1,200watt amp, or the RTX instrument system. RTX is Dakota Digital’s latest series in which we combined an OEM look with our full menu of 21st century tech. Rob can change the illumination color everyday with a slick mobile-app on his phone. Spectators will think the cluster is from 1964. Everybody is happy.
Players in the truck scene are writing their own playbook. It’s nimble and more organic than the large, established car clubs and events, plus they’re online; the internet has played a huge role in the unprecedented (and largely unanticipated) explosion of old trucks. Not weighted down with corporate red tape and rules of how things should be, a casual, one-night-only truck meet can grow to over 700 participants, pulling truck from across the country. Dino’s Git Down feels like a C10 flash mob. Look it up.
There’s a new set of values afoot. High quality, big power, crazy suspension and well-appointed interiors are becoming the new norm. Old trucks are hot; by some measures hotter than muscle cars. Cover Girl recently enjoyed a second consecutive appearance at the SEMA Show; the C10 was completed as seen here for 2018, which is in stark contrast to 2017 when the truck received a new wrap each day to show off Avery-Dennison’s line of vehicle vinyl wraps. The buzz around this truck is intense, and young Rob is pleased as punch to cruise the Arizona streets in his dream truck.