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SEMA Show Young Gun Top 10 Finalist – 1973 Chevrolet C10 Buck the Truck


SEMA Show Young Gun Top 10 Finalist - 1973 Chevrolet C10 Buck the TruckGC Cooling’s Preston Folkestad placed in the top 10 of the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show Young Guns Battle of the Builders competition in Las Vegas last week. To qualify for entry into the Young Guns competition, the builder had to be 27 years or younger by November 3, 2017, the final night of the SEMA Show.

A 22-year-old Iowa State University graduate, Preston rebuilt and designed a 1973 Chevrolet C10 nicknamed “Buck” the Truck, a vehicle he inherited from his great-grandfather, Maurice “Buck” Heckart. Preston was greatly influenced by his great-grandfather as he was growing up. Buck was a World War II veteran who served in the 707 Tank division as a motorcycle messenger and medic. The C10 truck was primarily used on Buck’s farm in rural Iowa before being passed down to Preston for his own personal use. Preston drove the truck throughout high school and during his years at Iowa State. For the SEMA Show Young Guns competition, Preston named the C10 “Buck” in memory of his great-grandfather.

“When I decided to rebuild the C10 and enter into the Young Guns competition, I was hoping to make it into the top 10. The competition is very intense at the SEMA Show because it’s the largest automotive trade show in the industry, and I entered just hoping to do my best. I wanted to make my dad and my great-grandpa proud with this build. There were so many awesome vehicles entered, and I’m very proud to have placed in the top 10. I’m 22 years old and can still enter into the Young Guns until I’m 27, so who knows where the next five years will take me,” Preston said.

SEMA Show Young Gun Top 10 Finalist - 1973 Chevrolet C10 Buck the Truck“Buck” the Truck was selected by the editor of Street Trucks Magazine, Kevin Aguilar, for an exclusive feature article and was photographed following the truck’s appearance at the SEMA Show. The in-depth feature story will be released mid-2018 and will highlight the C10’s design. In addition to the exclusive feature in Street Trucks Magazine, “Buck” the Truck was covered in the October 31, 2017 SEMA Show Daily, Preston also participated in the C10 Podcast to discuss the build and he was interviewed by Velocity for a TV show with more details to come.

The 2017 SEMA Show hosted more than 160,000 attendees over the course of four days and is the largest trade show of the automotive industry. “Buck” the Truck was displayed in a prime position by the Shell Stage near the front doors of The Las Vegas Convention Center where numerous people were able to view the build.

SEMA Show Young Gun Top 10 Finalist - 1973 Chevrolet C10 Buck the TruckMore than 80 hours of the redesign were dedicated solely to correcting gaps as well as fitting the doors and fenders. When Preston drove the truck in high school, he and his dad, Bob Folkestad, owner of Creative Werks, Inc. which is the distributor of GC High Performance Cooling fans, cut the truck’s frame to transform it from a long box C10 to a short box before adding a small block engine and painting it flat black. For the competition, Preston decided to create a masterpiece out of the daily driver C10. Rust spots were fixed and rockers, cab corners and cab supports were replaced. Preston skim coated the whole truck with filler and blocked it six times. Chris Cope used paint from House of Kolors to custom paint the exterior a Kandy Orange color with an Orion Silver base. The two-toned truck has an airbrushed carbon fiber pinstriped graphic.

Preston elected to use a RideTech Sreet Grip rear suspension to lower the truck an additional two inches with a notched frame. He also used No Limit Engineering front crossmember with tubular control arms, RideTech coil over shocks, a No Limit Engineering sway bar, along with a power rack and pinion steering setup. To allow the truck to slow quickly, Preston used Wilwood six-piston brakes with 14-inch calipers on the front and four-piston brakes on the rear. Also supplied by Wilwood was the master cylinder, and the 700R4 transmission with a B&M 2600 RPM stall converter built by Ed Slivka.

SEMA Show Young Gun Top 10 Finalist - 1973 Chevrolet C10 Buck the TruckPreston chose to use custom aluminum heads from Automotive Machine Shop Services, Comp Roller Cam with 4-7 firing order swap, an All American Billet front drive with ceramic coating, a single plane intake manifold and scorpion shaft rocker arms for the engine. To further customize Buck the Truck, custom sheet metal valve covers and breather system with ceramic coating are under the hood. Naturally, Preston chose a custom FLUIDYNE radiator with GC Cooling’s High-Performance Series fans.  

Personally designed by Preston, the interior featured custom door panels, a hand-sculpted bench seat, an Alpine stereo system and other color-matched customizations. No part of the design was overlooked. For a modern touch to the 1973 classic, Preston added Vintage Air performance air conditioning and Dakota Digital Instruments.

The young builder who grew up in an automotive-centered household, Preston has the industry in his blood. His passion for anything with a motor led to his decision to enter the Young Guns competition, and his hopes and dreams for his build became a reality.

“Preston learned how to ride a motorcycle before he learned how to ride a bicycle without training wheels. I taught him to drive at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He has experienced this industry from a young age, and it makes me incredibly proud to see the success of his first build receive so much attention and recognition,” said Bob Folkestad.

SEMA Show Young Gun Top 10 Finalist - 1973 Chevrolet C10 Buck the TruckGC Cooling has plans to produce a radiator and fan combination especially for the Chevy C10 market. “Buck” the Truck is a tremendous success story for GC Cooling, and their plans to create the radiator and fan combination will further the company’s goals.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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