The market’s recent uptick in old truck demand confirms that vintage workhorses are all the rage. We bring you a pair of lowered pickups, transformed from lumber haulers to tire squallers by a father and son duo, and they are the epitome of old school cool.
The trucks have obvious differences at first glance, but the similarities are uncanny. Both have LS engines, but the fern green Ford F-100 is naturally aspirated. In contrast, the satin black Chevrolet C10 is turbocharged. Both trucks rolled out of the factory in 1967, and both are equipped with airbag suspensions. If you could only own one, which would you choose? Before you decide, let’s get to know the builders and their trucks.
Mike Helferich loved cars from a young age. When his son, Dylan, was born, Mike immediately imprinted his love of cars to his scion. Instead of restoring old cars back to stock, he tailors them to his personal taste adds personal touches. “Maybe I had a few too many Matchbox cars when I was a kid,” he chuckled. “I tend to like vehicles that are out of the ordinary.” Not only does he like vehicles that are out of the ordinary, but ones that haul ass.
Once old enough, Dylan was right by his dad’s side offering tool holding and fetching services. He turned wrenches well before he could drive. At age 15, he started fixing and breaking Subarus (in no particular order), which evolved into starting a grassroots rally race team. This ultimately led to his career as an automotive tech.
“We make a great team!” Mike beamed. “Most days,” Dylan joked. “We both have a different point of view mechanically, so when one of us hits a snag, the other can come up with a solution,” Dylan explained. “Our best ideas come from standing in the garage and brainstorming.”
The twosome completed many projects together including a 1932 Essex Ratrod, a ‘72 K-5 Blazer, ‘87 Jeep YJ, countless odd side projects, and the two builds that brought us here today, the ‘67 Chevy C10 and Ford F100.
After Mike graciously gifted the C10 to Dylan to celebrate his college graduation, he purchased his F-100. “I thought it would be cool to have the same year Ford truck and cruise around together,” Mike paused and looked up as if in a daydream. “Maybe I can find a ‘67 Dodge Pickup and roll into a car show with the ‘Big Three’ someday.”
When a GM guy goes Ford
The green faux patina paint on Mike’s F100 replicates that of an old farm truck that sat dormant in a sun-baked field. The cab has a four-inch chop and shaved door handles. White Mob Steel 20-inch Artillery wheels fill the fenders and compliment the look.
Mike is a GM guy at heart, so he opted for the reliability of an LS engine. “The power is a bit stronger than the original 390 without modifications,” he said. Turning up the heat in the LS with a light bore was an easy and inexpensive way to get that extra oomph that he was lusting for. Stock pistons hang on 6.098-inch rods. The engine inhales deeply through a TrailBlazer SS intake manifold assisted by a Baker Engineering 232/238 camshaft with 0.600-inch of valve lift. It exhales through shorty headers linked to a 2.5-inch exhaust.
A factory fuel tank houses a Walbro 255 fuel pump which feeds a set of 39-lb Ford SVO fuel injectors mounted on stock GM rails. A stock ECU tuned with HP Tuners by Kenny Dangler at Northern Performance makes all the components work without a hitch. According to the dyno, the 4L60E transmission converts 500-horsepower from the crank down to 430-hp at the tires.
Mike grafted in a Ford Crown Victoria front suspension. He paired it with a Ride-tech universal four-link kit in the rear to gobble up bumps in the road. Twin compressors and tanks control airbags on all four corners for that extra “awe” factor and perfect ride height. It can cruise along the weather-tattered Northern Michigan roads or grip the pavement for smoke-billowing burnouts.
Turbocharged C10 on a Budget
The smooth satin black finish on Dylan’s Chevy C10 contrasts with Mike’s Ford. The four-inch chop and shaved door handles matches that of the F-100. In the C10’s bed, a wood bourbon barrel covers the frame’s step notch. A Coleman cooler mounted near the cab disguises the electric pumps for the air ride system.
Although the engine is also an LS1, Dylan went the opposite direction and threw on a cheap but meaty VS Racing T4 turbocharger with a 69-mm wheel to curb his craving for boost. “A boosted setup is what dreams are made of,” Dylan said, his eyes twinkling at the thought. “You can’t not love the sound and power of a V-8 with a lumpy cam running through a turbo and then flowing through a fender-exit exhaust.”
Dylan was unable to find a cost-effective kit to mount a turbo on a modern LS-based engine in a classic C10. He joined forces with Mike to fabricate the piping and manifold setup from scratch. “That was a bit of a hurdle,” Dylan reminisced. “We were able to bend 2.5-inch crossover piping and flip the stock Silverado exhaust manifolds for a functional solution. We had some help from our awesome local automotive friends and the Sloppy Mechanic community. Thanks to all involved, it only set us back less than a couple hundred dollars.”
Once they jumped that hurdle, Dylan welded a 60mm waste gate directly to the turbo housing’s hot side to control the boost. A stock truck intake manifold feeds boost into the engine. The turbo exhales through a 3.5-inch straight pipe that dumps out of the passenger fender.
The base of Dylan’s LS is a well-used 150,000-mile 4.8 iron-block. He installed a Sloppy Stage 2 camshaft from Elginand upgraded the heads with PAC Racing Valve Springs. A Single AEM 400lph high-flow inline fuel pump and a set of de-capped stock truck injectors (flow-tested at 75-lbs) supply the 93-octane fuel. The stock C10 rear axle puts power to the tires through a 4L80E transmission, which is equipped with a Transgo HD2 kit for tire-blazing shifts.
Kenny Dangler of Northern Performance tuned the factory ECU, much like Mike’s pickup. Instead of strapping the truck to the Dyno, Kenny street-tuned it. Dylan can turn up the boost with the help of a TurboSmart Manual boost controller when he is feeling frisky.
Whoever Said Money Can’t Buy Happiness Never Owned a Truck
Both trucks bring Mike and Dylan joy. For Mike, working on the trucks was the perfect excuse to spend more time with Dylan. Now that the build is complete, he takes his wife and twin daughters for drives around the twisting scenic backroads. Dylan often tags along in his Chevy. “Hitting boost and breaking the tires loose from a roll always puts a smile on my face,” Dylan grinned at the mere thought. “But I get the most happiness cruising in something that I built from a pile of parts with my dad and close friends.”
When we asked whether Dylan or Mike wanted to change anything on their trucks. Mike mulled over the possibility of a Shockwave front suspension upgrade. He also wants to find time to install a new headliner because, after all, a project is never truly finished. Dylan thoughtfully replied, “I wish the tires would last longer. I‘ll have to look into that. Oh, and it needs more power.”