How One C10 Brought A Young Enthusiasts Into The Automotive Hobby

We all like to hear a feel-good story about project cars getting completed. It’s nice to see people accomplish their goals. But when that feel-good article involves a father and son completing a project, it conveys a special feeling of “passing the torch.”

To that end, here’s a heartwarming story about an 11-year-old boy who earned enough money to purchase a 1967 Chevrolet C10, and with help from his dad and a local shop called Sun Devil Auto, he has returned the vehicle to prime working condition.

Eleven-year-old Surprise, Arizona resident, Venicio Caballero is like many young men who want to build a car. He spent his free time cutting grass and doing odd jobs around town in order to save enough money to buy something he could build. He had his mind set on building a classic C10, so after his stash of cash was able to support his purchase, he convinced his dad, Hugo Caballero, a locally stationed U.S. Air Force Airman, if he would help locate and purchase the perfect classic truck. After an extensive online search, Hugo and Venicio eventually set their sights on this 1967 Chevrolet C10 short bed pickup.

As is the case with most project vehicles, the interior needed some help. This was a great place for Venicio and his father to spend some quality time together in tight quarters while learning a few things.

“First, my brother, Alex, helped educate us on the most desired versions of C10s,” says Hugo. “Then came the weeks of searching on Offerup, Let Go, Craigslist, and other websites. The patina on this one immediately got our attention. Venicio loves trucks.”

Arriving from Clearlake Oaks, California, in June 2020, the previously neglected vehicle was in immediate need of some serious attention under the hood, throughout the interior, and basically, from bumper-to-bumper. Because Hugo is often gone due to various deployments, he knew that getting the truck running would be a daunting and drawn-out affair. Luckily, a local shop heard about the truck and its young owner and decided to lend a hand.

Sun Devil Auto is a small shop in Surprise, Arizona, which has been servicing the needs of the area for many years. “We quickly noticed the passion that Venicio has and understood how important this father-son project was going to be. Helping them in every possible way was an easy decision for us,” says Mike Arana, Sun Devil’s store manager. “It’s essential that we support young enthusiasts who share our passion for restoring vehicles to their original beauty.”

C10

Under the hood is a 327ci engine that was just given some maintenance repairs with the help of Sun Devil mechanic, Edgar Mendez. As Edgar was making repairs, he was working with Venicio to make sure he understood.

“As a father, it made me so happy to see my boy so excited and engaged,” says Hugo. “Not only did the folks at Sun Devil Auto spend days with us to get the C10 in working order, but they also helped Venicio gain valuable knowledge and experience. Special thanks to our mechanic, Edgar Mendez, who took the time to explain everything he had repaired and installed. We are so grateful because they genuinely care about customers, which is not easy to find these days.”

As previously mentioned, when a young enthusiast has the drive and passion to make his dreams happen, one has to take notice and recognize those efforts. When making that dream a reality involves a father and son, that just makes it all the better. In this case, we even have to give a huge shout out to the local shop that realized how special this situation is and stepped up by helping and explaining how the repairs are made to give this young man the knowledge to keep his dream in tip-top shape. What’s more, they performed the labor at no charge to Hugo or Venicio.

C10

The Caballero duo hit the nail on the head with tire size and selection. The front wheels are15X8 with 255/60/15 tires and the rears are 15X10 with 275/60/15s.

So far, Venicio and his new friends have attacked the following: converted the front drums to disc brakes with 2 1/2-inch drop spindles, rebuilt rear brakes, installed a master brake cylinder with a brake booster, rebuilt the suspension, recovered the bench seat, installed new weatherstripping, carpet, dash pad, and added a retro-style Bluetooth radio.

C10

Left to right: Hugo, Venicio, Edgar, and Mike Arana

What’s next for this patina’d hauler? For Venicio, plans call for his new prized possession to be displayed at the Oasis Classic Car Show on October 24. He’ll have plenty of support, not only from his proud parents, but also from friends like veteran-owned A & R Designs LLC from Surprise, Arizona. The folks there are printing customized t-shirts and making signs informing car show guests about the story behind this unique father-son rebuild.

“It’s really cool that my friends are going to do this,” Venicio says.  “The best part has been the time my dad and I have spent learning about and working on trucks.”

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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