Meet "HeeHaw", Chris Nunn's 1970 Chevrolet CST/10 Barn Find Build

Author: Shawn Brereton | 06/09/2021 < Back to Motor Life Home

If you are going to name a vehicle, it’s good to make sure the name fits. Chris Nunn from Munford, Tennessee, hit the nail on the head with his 1970 Chevrolet CST/10 affectionately called “HeeHaw.” If it reminds you of something pulled out of a barn, well, it should . . . and you’re almost right. It was pulled from a shed!

It wasn’t your typical “barn-find” vehicle where you open a door and discover something no one knew existed. Instead, Chris knew the whereabouts of this C10 for quite a while. A coworker, Tracy Smith, introduced him to the pickup around 2010. It was his daughter’s friend’s grandfather’s truck, which was stored away by her mother after his passing. The girl’s mother had no plans for the truck, but she just couldn’t let it go for sentimental reasons.

Chris made several attempts to buy the orange and white C10 over a five-year span with no luck. That is until one fateful day when he made a last-ditch effort to convince her that her father would want to see the truck driven instead of rotting away in a shed. A deal was struck, and the C10 saw the light of day for the first time in 22 years.

The Early Plan

The brakes were locked, it was covered in dirt, and wasn’t running, but Chris managed to get it onto a trailer for the ride back home. He found out the C10 had a repaint in the original orange and white motif sometime in the ’80s, so it wasn’t all bad. However, it didn’t stop his wife Angie from commenting, “that looks like something from HeeHaw.” Obviously, the name stuck.

At the time, the family had a really cool ‘63 Suburban, so his initial plan was to get the truck running and make it into a “low budget” weekend cruiser. You know how this story goes . . . the first part went to plan — he got it running. However, it only took about two weeks for the low-budget part of the story to go out the window.

Chris quickly realized from people’s reactions to HeeHaw that he had to build it. It couldn’t be just another truck; it had too much character. When the new plan was hatched, he decided two things must be preserved just the way they were: the interior and the paint. The truck still had the seat it was born with from the factory, and the paint had just the right amount of patina to tell the story of its life.

The first step was to lower the stance then get the truck running and stopping reliably. Once that was complete, Chris could think about modifications. He found Classic Performance Products (CPP) had a static lowering kit with front disc brakes, so he purchased it and killed two birds with one stone. With braking taken care of, it was time to address making it run reliably. He quickly found out this was easier said than done with the original 350ci engine.

Time For A New Plan

Things had been cobbled together over the years on the fickle small block. It didn’t like to start when cold or hot, and it just didn’t run as consistently as Chris wanted. It was time for an engine where he could just jump in, turn the key, hit the road, and not worry — it was time for an LS!

As things often do in hot rodding, the want for an LS caused a snowball effect that led to further upgrades. Because Chris knew he wanted to bag the truck eventually and would have to fabricate new engine mounts anyway, it was time to call in the big guns. He contacted Jason Bullock of Bullock’s Bodywerk’s in Whitehouse, Tennessee, to do the build. This was before aftermarket companies started offering fully completed chassis, so Bullock determined a Porterbuilt front and rear clip kit would achieve the look Chris wanted.

As Bullock started on the chassis modifications, Chris sourced a 2010 6.0-liter LS from a low-mileage street sweeper that met its demise when it fell off a trailer. Bullock painted the block orange and dropped in a new COMP Cam for a little more lope. Shorty headers and a Billet Specialties Tru Trac serpentine front-drive assembly with Vintage Air adorn the outside. He also replaced the factory intake with a Holley EFI mid-rise intake and fuel rails. Next, Bullock smoothed the firewall and freshly painted the engine bay. To keep things looking clean, he relocated the factory coils to the firewall behind the engine and added 283 valve covers, mimicking the original small block.

Before they rolled the frame back under the truck, it was powdercoated black. Bullock employed an AccuAir E-Level kit with Firestone bags and KYB Shocks to achieve the in-the-weeds stance. A pair of Slosh Tubs allow the truck to lay out completely, and a 2.5-inch exhaust is tucked up tightly, so it doesn’t hit. In the back, Bullock raised the bed floor and used Chub Tubs wheel wells. A Boyd’s Welding gas tank was fitted between the bed framerails. To perfect the look Chris wanted, he found a set of 22x9-inch GM Transport wheels and powdercoated them white to match the white accents of the body.

As we said previously, Chris didn’t want to change the seat or steering wheel — they are original only once — so he kept them. However, he did have Bullock install a carpet and replace the worn-out gauges with a Classic Instruments cluster before sending the truck to Greg Mitchell at Auto Specialist in Memphis to give it some tunes. Mitchell replaced the original with a Retro Sound head unit and added four Massive Audio 6.5-inch speakers in custom kick panels. Next, he built a custom box to house two 12-inch Skar VD12 subwoofers behind the seat. After everything was complete, Rick Harris expertly pinstriped the truck on the outside, inside, and in the engine bay.

The Plan Changes Again

Chris drove the truck that way for a while, but, as we all know, hot rods are never done. Chris likes power (he’s been known to do a burnout or two), but HeeHaw only had a peg-leg rearend. After frying a transmission with a race challenge looming in the future, it was time for a few more upgrades.

He sent the engine down to his friend, Wesley Scott, in Tupelo, Mississippi, for a complete internal rebuild. Wesley built it with Chris’s wish of a power-adder in the future. He dropped in a healthier COMP Cam and ported the heads to make it breathe easier. Wesley relocated the coils inside the passenger-side fender well for easier access and installed Holley’s Terminator X system to control tuning. While they had the engine out, Chris decided there was too much orange in the engine bay, so they painted the block and valve covers black with orange accents, which contrasts perfectly.

Chris sent off the Turbo 400 to David Karpinski in Brighton, Tennessee, who rebuilt it with high-performance clutches and a shift kit. He mated a Hughes Performance 3200-rpm-stall torque converter to it and added a TCI transmission cooler for durability.

Wesley attached a Drive Shop two-piece driveshaft to the freshened Turbo 400 before addressing the rear axle. The factory 12-bolt got a complete rebuild. It was narrowed, upgraded with Moser axles, and an Eaton Tru-Trac unit with 3.73 gears installed. With more acreage available at the rear, Chris sent the Transports off to be flipped and rewelded, so they have a deeper lip and only 3-inches backspace. Once it was put back together, Tiffany Dodson fixed up some of the pinstriping that had been damaged through use, and Chris buffed the paint to make it pop a little more.

HeeHaw C10 beauty front

Chris couldn’t be happier with the way the truck turned out. It has a killer patina look and sits right on the pavement — just the way he likes it.

Future Plans

Now, HeeHaw doesn’t just look cool; it is a performance machine underneath too. Chris still plans to add a supercharger or turbos in the future, but for now, he is just happy driving it and going to shows. He was privileged to have his truck featured on the flyer and t-shirts for the 2017 Southeastern C10 Truck Nationals. If you are at a big show in the South, chances are you’ll see HeeHaw sitting in the weeds with a big crowd around it. Chris would like to give a special shout-out to his car club, Relaxed Atmosphere, and friends Joe and Matt Kossen for all their help along the way.

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