Project Update – The Finish Line

New carpet and mats

‘Ole Red is looking mighty spiffy these days. For those new to my site, ‘Ole Red is a 1981 Chevy C10 Long bed truck I bought from my neighbor this past summer. Why? Because this girl, with zero knowledge of auto restoration, thought it would be kind of cool to restore it. Thus, my art went from canvas and paint to wheels, motors, and metals, and ‘Ole Red became my latest art project.

The holidays slowed me down a bit. Every thing takes a back seat to Christmas and family time. It is the one holiday we over-celebrate. This year would be no different. ‘Ole Red was going to have to wait.

I had a few items in storage (my art room) waiting for the holidays to be complete so I could finish the interior of the truck. The carpet was waiting. The custom seat cover was ready. The new black seat belts were here. All were just waiting in boxes. Waiting to be installed.

It was worth the wait. Santa (i.e. my sweet husband) bought me a new stereo, speakers and black toolbox for my truck. He even threw in my very own remote controlled R2D2. I am the happiest nerd on the planet (I have my very own droid. Eeeek!).  I am still basking in the afterglow. I’m pretty sure he can do no wrong, at least for the month of January.

Once all hints of the festive holiday was packed up and stored, I promptly rolled my truck into our garage. I needed labor and my son, a high school senior, was on Christmas break. We work well as a team. I made him an offer (ala CASH) and he accepted the challenge.

We removed the old seat, seat belts, and stereo speakers. We also removed the remnants of that pesky fire extinguisher holder that was on the floor. Once the seat was removed it took some serious scrubbing power to remove the dirt and grit hidden underneath. And, whoever ate sunflower seeds in this truck… Why? Just why? The remnants of that habit are now gone as well.

After the mini-demo was complete, I set to wire the new speakers. I mean, how hard can it be, right? You hook new speaker wire up to the existing wire and BAM music. Not so much. If you have no electrical background, much like myself, there is this polarity issue… positive right back, negative right back, positive left back, negative left back (and if you have side door or front speakers, do it all over again), and then there is this thing called the ground wire and the one you hook to power. Geesh! Every line is color coded. What? As an artist I like color. As an ammeter do-it-yourselfer auto restoration idiot, I was a bit miffed by this elaborate strategy to induce sound in order to keep me from going insane during traffic delays. Ugh! (Why do bad things happen to good people?).

After a mini temper tantrum (I was on a self-imposed deadline) I gave into the fact I was not going to meet my deadline. So I called it a day, conjured up my mad Google research skills and became educated in stereo and speaker installation via YouTube (Thank you to all who post informative videos and schmetacis. I couldn’t have done it without you).

Armed with a little knowledge and my spirit restored, the next weekend we started again. I started by re-checking the lines. The new stereo couldn’t be installed because it required a custom plate. But I was able to reconnect the old stereo (A retro Pioneer that still works like a champ). I then reconnected the speakers. I turned the ignition to accessory and held my breath. No sound on the driver’s side. Same problem as before. Grrrr! Frustrated!

My brainiac son then educated me about series and parallel circuits. We could run parallel by tying into the same positive and negative lines, especially since the radio is old and the other two lines are most likely the ground and power (if the schmetaics hold true). After a lot of words were exchanged, questions asked, problems probed, and me scratching my head a lot, I thought; “Ain’t got nothing to lose.”

We ran the two lines going to the driver’s side, again. Put the key in the ignition, slowly turned it to accessory, held my breath, a-n-d…. MUSIC! Yes, MUSIC! From BOTH speakers! (And you doubted me. you should be ashamed of yourself). I understand. I was shocked too. Holy Moly!  I’m pretty sure I felt the exact same excitement Neil Armstrong felt when he planted his first foot on the moon.

Together, my son and I, installed (and more often than not reinstalled) seat belts, carpet, and the new custom seat cover. My husband even got in on the act and bolted down my new toolbox. After the boys were done helping, I used my mad painting skills to polish off the brushed metal finishes and outline the instrument panel. As close to new without it actually being new. I topped it off by throwing down some floor mats (Don’t put your feet on my new carpet!). And I must say, the interior looks fabulous! Seriously, darling, F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!

‘Ole Red is entering the finish line. I originally wanted to change the rims to black and red accents. But, I feel some nostalgia with its current rims. It retains just a hint of that old work truck look and feel. At this point, I think the only thing I have left, to complete the truck to my liking, is a $190 pair of slender black running boards. And then my first art project of 2018 is done!

My goal was to see if I could get a nice vehicle for $10,000 or less. Let’s crunch the numbers and see how I did:

  • $2,000 – Truck (I stole it. Sorry neighbor).
  • $118 – Registration & tag
  • $200 – Hauled off and mechanically checked
  • $400 – Muffler
  • $427 – Brakes, brake lines & lights
  • $2,654 – Custom two-tone paint
  • $473 – Spray-on bed liner
  • $208 – Tinted Windows
  • $393 – Custom seat cover
  • $199 – Molded carpet
  • $265 – Seat belts
  • $100 – Speakers
  • $289 – Toolbox
  • $84 – Visors
  • $16 – Coat hanger
  • $56 – Armrests
  • $20 – Rearview mirror
  • $10 – Mirror for the visor (‘Cause I’m a girl!)
  • $18 – Windshield wiper blades
  • $20 – Floor mats
  • $20 – Auto organzier for the seat (phone & drink)

DRUM ROLL, Please…. The total to date is: $7,970.00. Boo yah to the nay-sayers! (It’s the same as saying; “I told you so”).

New paint and tinted windows. Looks sharp!

The old grill

What ‘Ole Red looked like when I bought her

The old red seat and red seat belts

Before the interior was updated

The new custom seat cover. Shout out to Rick’s Custom Upholstery

Look at that instrument panel. Wow!

New toolbox is installed and looking great!

I can’t get enough of that seat cover and those new black seat belts

He’s a trooper! Big S/O to my son. He was a tremendous help!

4 thoughts on “Project Update – The Finish Line

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