Survivor

October 18th, 2011

Text and Photos by Kevin Aguilar

Mark Whiteskunk; Skunkwerx Paint and Body; 1968 Chevy C-10; Sayre, OK

Both Man and Machine Were Saved From Meeting Their Ends

Building a quality truck is not easy for anyone, but just imagine doing it while having a life threatening disease. Yeah, that’s right, owner Mark Whiteskunk of Skunkwerx Paint and Body in Sayre, Oklahoma, was diagnosed with colon cancer while in the middle of this truck’s build. When confronted about it, the doctor gave Mark a 50/50 chance of survival. After going through an extensive surgery, Mark came out clean. Though it was tough to battle this horrible disease, the thought of completing his ’68 Chevy C-10 got him through it all.

The foundation for the build is a 1972 C-10 long bed frame, you can see in some of the photos that it has been smoothed clean and powder coated, but there is more to it than that. The rear was step notched for vertical travel of the axle and a custom-made bridge attaches the shocks and Firestone 2,900-pound airbags. Holding the axle to the frame is a triangulated 4-link that has been chromed for extra shine. Up front, the factory upper control arms were ditched for a pair from Performance Online and a set of Early Classic drop spindles was bolted in between. The coils were also eighty-sized and a pair of Firestone 2,600-pound airbags was mounted with custom brackets and plates. The frame was Z’d 2 ½ inched up front, a custom transmission cross member was added and the cab mounts were lowered an inch. This was all done in the name of getting the C-10’s body flat on the pavement over a set of Centerline Smoothies in 20s and 22s.

Powering this beast is a ’95 Chevy LT1 salvaged from a totaled ’95 Caprice. It was bolted to the dropped mounts that make better clearance in the engine compartment. The LT1 has a Street and Performance air cleaner in the front and Borla ceramic-coated headers and stainless exhaust on the back end. Pumping out some extra spark for firepower is an MSD ignition distributor with blue wires. The rotating force is transferred through a 4L60E transmission on down to the single-piece driveshaft. Also, the fuel tank from the same Caprice was mounted to the rear of the frame and plumbed to feed the beast.

The funny thing about older projects like this is that you sometimes don’t start out with a whole truck. Instead you piece them together from other donor vehicles. Mark started with the 1968 cab, bolted on a pair of doors from a ’72, and ordered reproduction sheet metal from LMC Truck for the front clip and bedsides. Up front you can see that the grille was shaved of the Bow Tie and it was also molded to the fenders. The wipe cowl resides behind the cowl hood that has been completely shaved clean. For the rest of the cab, the firewall, drip rails, fuel cap and cab seams were shaved off. The doors were relieved of their handles and mirrors, while the openings were cleaned up with a One Piece Products side glass kit.

The backend also received some extra attention as the outside of the bed was completely shaved of all unnecessary items. In lieu of tracking down a tailgate, Mark welded on and body worked a handmade combo skin. It also holds the license plate and two 18-inch LED brake lights. On the inside of the bed, Mark made custom wheel tubs and a trick raised floor. The center of the custom floor was made to open so that Mark could show off the framework and gain access to anything if need be.

On the inside of the cab, Mark decided to change things up while keeping it simple. He cleaned the dash of all unnecessary objects and fit a Dakota Digital gauge cluster for a ’55 Chevy truck. The only distractions there are the Clarion head unit and the steering column that showcases the Billet Specialties steering wheel. The interior is the only part of this truck that Mark outsourced. This includes the door panels and an ’88 Chevy bench seat that was upholstered in leather by M&R Upholstery of Altus, Oklahoma.

The final touch was to cover all paintable surfaces in a single hue. Mark couldn’t decide which color to cover it in. After several months, he finally chose to go with Daytona Blue Pearl because it best matches the cancer survivor’s ribbon. For Mark, this truck was more than something that could win trophies; it was something to keep his mind going. This C-10 was part of what sparked his will to live and was a reason to get out of bed everyday. It was not easy, especially since he decided to go through chemotherapy to make sure his body was free of cancer. We can only imagine how difficult it must have been, so we commend Mark for sticking to it and creating such an impressive ride.

Mark would like to thank his wife Nichole, kids Maya and Mason, brother-in-laws Kurt and Charles Hurley and friend Kyle Davis.

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