Every month, we do our best to write up features that will tell the truck owner’s story and accurately describe the modifications to their trucks. Once every blue moon, we’re provided an opportunity to sit down and hear the truck’s story directly from the person who built it. This is one of those rare occasions, and after hearing Stephen Lambert’s 10-year custom truck journey, we’re sure you’ll be able to relate to his need to constantly upgrade parts as his budget and life’s business allowed.

How did you get started in the custom truck community?

I grew up in a racing family. The first 32 years of my life were spent traveling all over the country competing on the NHRA circuit. Racing was good to me, and it will always be in my blood. With the birth of my son in 2004, I decided to hang up my helmet and settle down to start my family. After a few short months, I realized I couldn’t sit still and not be involved in some form of motorsports. I decided I wanted to build a classic cruiser the family could enjoy with me. It couldn’t just be any classic—it had to be a ’72. The year 1972 is significant to me. It was the year I was born, and it was the year my father began our family business, Highlands Auto Supply. I knew what I wanted to build and just happened to know where to find it. My father-in-law had a blue and white 1972 Chevrolet C10 that was pretty clean. I made him an offer and he accepted. He was pleased to see the truck stay in the family.

That’s awesome, but be truthful—what kind of shape was the classic Bow Tie in?

The truck was almost stock other than it had been lowered and had a set of 15-inch Weld Racing wheels. After driving it for about a year, I decided to make a few changes. I called Ride Tech and ordered a complete air-ride system. After installing the air-ride system, I was unhappy with the original chassis components. I called CPP and ordered tubular A-arms and a sway bar for the front. With the front completed, I contacted CPP again to order a dropped crossmember, tubular trailing arms, a C-notch, and a tubular transmission crossmember. I also updated the original master cylinder and calipers with Wilwood products.

We always preach that the wheel selection is one of the most important to any project. Your 20-inch Budnik Gassers sure do look good on there. What made you go with those?

I wanted something unique that would reflect my own personal style. I ordered a set of 20-inch Budnik Gassers and a matching steering wheel. I couldn’t be more pleased with this selection.

It sounds like you were off and running, but what about the paint and body?

The body was in good shape, with the exception of the passenger door. My paint and body man, Larry Pogue, replaced the door and painted it to match the rest of the truck. It still needed a little TLC, so I cut and buffed the exterior to bring her back to life.

Wow, that’s sweet. You don’t come across a truck too often that old yet very well taken care of. So, you gave it a new suspension and cleaned up the exterior, what about the drivetrain?

Before I knew it, a few changes turned into a complete build. I pulled the motor and transmission to replace the worn turbo 350 with a 700-R4. While I had the motor out, I decided to replace the camshaft with a Comp Cams thumper. I added an Edelbrock Endurashine intake and carburetor, chrome sheetmetal valve covers, and an original ’55 Olds air cleaner.

OK, so at this point you’re getting pretty close to calling the ’72 done, right? What about the interior?

Turning to the interior, the seat cover was replaced with an OE houndstooth cover from LMC. The original black-faced instrument cluster was updated with white-faced gauges by Ed Dial. My good friend, Alan Allbright, helped me install a Kenwood stereo and components. Since there are no accommodations for speakers in a ’72 C10, I custom-built a center console and kick panels to house MTX 6½-inch speakers.

We can’t help but ask about the custom surfboard mounted in the bed. You don’t see that every day cruising around Texas.

I’ve always been a California dreamer. Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to catch a wave, so I picked up a surfboard on Craigslist and headed to the beach with my son. After a few failed surfing attempts in Galveston, I decided it would look better mounted on my truck. I started sketching designs and working on paint schemes. I painted it to match the exact exterior paint and trim on my ’72. I shot the board in medium blue and linen white and had my talented friend, John Carpenter, airbrush the woodgrain and trim to match the exterior. When I stand it up at shows, spectators are amazed that it matches perfectly.

It’s refreshing to hear of a truck build that was handled entirely by the truck owner. We’re sure there are plenty of people that helped you get to this point. Here’s your opportunity.

Ten years after I started, I have a truck that I’m really proud of that truly reflects my personality. I want to thank my wife for always being supportive of my obsessions; my father, Ellard Lambert; Alan Allbright; Skully Molen; and John Carpenter for their help throughout the build.


Inside the Build
Year/Make/Model: 1972 Chevrolet C10
Owner and City/State: Stephen Lambert • Highlands, Texas
Engine
Type: 350ci V-8
Induction: Edelbrock Endurashine intake, Edelbrock 600-cfm carb
Cam: Comp Cams Thumper
Exhaust: Dynomax 2¼ mufflers
Built By: Stephen Lambert
Drivetrain
Transmission: 700-R4 with B&M shift kit
Rearend: Chevy 12-bolt with 3.73 gears
Brakes: Wilwood four-piston calipers (front), drums (rear)
Front Suspension: CPP tubular upper and lower A-arms, CPP 2-inch drop spindle, CPP sway bar, CPP Nitro shocks, Ride Tech 2600 airbags
Rear Suspension: CPP tubular trailing arms, CPP Nitro shocks, Ride Tech 2500 airbags
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 20x8½ (front), and 20x10 Budnik Gasser (rear)
Tires: 245/35ZR20 (front), and 275/35ZR20 Nitto NT-555 (rear)