I learned about Marc Mullin's project "shadow" via Instagram. To be honest, it looked like another high end build that only a select few in this country can truly pull off. The attention to detail was second to non, the team he had assembled were some of the best in the industry plus its a 1963 Chevy C10 shortbed, so what’s not to love? I figured I would follow along, watch the build and see if it sparked any new ideas in my head, New parts I could design, Or maybe find new ways to install parts.
On a late evening working in the office I received a phone call from Marc. He asked if there was any way we could help out with the build. I get quite a few of these calls on a monthly basis but I knew right away this one was a little different. I try and help as many people as I can here at Fred's Truck Parts, but being a very small shop we just don't have the ability to give out free parts. Something in Marcs voice struck a nerve with me. As he told me the story behind the truck, the name and the people involved I was overcome with emotion as was he. This is a very personal project for him and his family and although we can’t give them everything they need for the truck we will help in any way we possibly can. Below is the story in Marc’s own words. Take a minute and give it a read. Then go follow him on Instagram. To me it’s an inspiring story and shows that life is short. Spend time with the ones you love and do what makes you happy. This story has inspired me to take a road trip with my Dad next July. The plan is to head back to Columbus OH and be there for the debut show of “shadow”. Now, to convince my old man that it’s a good idea.
“All of my life I have lived, breathed, and dreamed of cars. Growing up in my Dad and his partner Bob's shop it was constantly around me. This build has a profound meaning in my life. It has consumed my thoughts, my heart, and every last ounce of energy I have had over the last 7 months.
I originally bought the truck about 2 years ago, a 1963 C10 big back window shortbed fleetside. In my mind, the best looking C10 ever made. The truck came from Iowa since trying to find something even somewhat clean in Pittsburgh, PA where I am from is nearly impossible...or at least impossible to afford. The truck was my daily driver for the next month or so before I was asked to be a part of a build for the S.E.M.A show and needless to say couldn't say no to such an amazing opportunity.
After the build was over and I caught up on sleep, it was time to tear into my truck. My better 3/4's, also known as my beautiful girlfriend Megan and I went to the shop and I started taking the bed off, then the front end, and so on and so forth. The truck started to come apart very quickly. The plan was wheels, slam it, pump up the small block in it, and a paint job done by my best friend, Jeremy Seanor of Luckystrike Designs.
During this time, and for the past 10-15 years my father was quite ill. He battled a mix of ailments that would have taken out your average person, but not him. He was the epitome of "old school." He lived by a few simple rules, you treat people right, take care of the women in your life, and make sure you are honest. It was that simple to him. I was very fortunate to have him pass these traits along to me. After the S.E.M.A build he started getting much worse and during the holiday season was in and out of the hospital numerous times with chronic pneumonia.
On January 17th of 2014 while staying late at the shop to keep the business going along with a close friend and one of the Technicians who worked for him I received the absolute worst phone call in my entire life, a life changing 5 seconds...my brother calling me to tell me we lost our father. I sat at the desk and cried. I just lost my best friend, the biggest influence in my life, what do I do now?
I did exactly what he would want me to do, I made sure my mother and everyone was alright. I was the rock of our family taking care of all the things that needed done in that situation. Needless to say the truck was put on the back burner. I had my Mother, and a business to take care of. Over the course of the next year I spent almost every day at the shop. Whether it be repairing cars, cleaning, organizing, or updating the building. Within the first year and a half of running the shop, I have the business up 30% and have a dream team working WITH me, not under me. Next on the list was my parent's house, redoing what my mother always wanted and what my father wasn't able to do. We got her a brand new car, made her home the way she wanted it, and still to this day to whatever it takes to put a smile on her face.
Things at this point were somewhat settled and I felt it was time to work on the truck again for me...someone I haven't done anything for in the past year. I remember picking my Dad up from the hospital to take him home and we were talking about the truck and he said, "You really need to bag that thing and put an LS in it!" Remembering this conversation opened up Pandora's Box, my wallet, a whole new world of the Automotive Industry, and most importantly the truck now being a tribute to my Dad.
Fast forward to S.E.M.A 2014. I was walking around the show when all of the sudden someone grabs my arm (which I have a portrait of what I want the truck be done by Whitney Seanor). There stood Del and Dino, two big names in the custom car world let alone the C10 world. I was speechless, and that doesn't happen too often. We sat and talked a bit about one another and about my truck and why I was building it. Del (Delmo's Speed& Kustom) wanted to help, he gave me his number and told me anything I needed to call him. I can honestly say Del is by far one of the most genuine guys I have ever met. I am proud now to call him a friend. He also plays an important role in the build, which is soon to follow.
I started working on the truck more and more. Had the body and frame media blasted, painted the frame, put in the air ride, a 4.8L Vortec engine, and started getting ready to do more. I then found myself looking online at different forums seeing where my truck would sit with the air ride and I wasn't satisfied. I made the decision to take out a line of credit and purchase a Porterbuilt front drop member with the intentions on making my own rear notch with the help of some friends.
I am a Teacher by day. I teach at a local Technical College and have the pleasure of sharing the knowledge my father instilled in to the future of the Automotive Industry. While on my lunch break, I decided to look on eBay for the chance of finding something from Porterbuilt on there which never happens. Well, I was wrong. I found a man in Lancaster, CA named Erik selling a full front and rear set-up that was already powder coated but he did not want to separate anything. I wrote him an e-mail stating if he did decide to do so please let me know as I would be extremely interested. Unfortunately at that point in time, I did not hear anything back. Not until a few weeks later I look on eBay and there is his listing, again. This was the night before the year anniversary of my Dad's passing.
I wanted to buy everything he had. I spoke with him on the phone and we agreed on a price and the sale was finalized. At this point in time my line of credit was not fully available and I didn’t have enough cash in my savings account, but luckily Jeremy wouldn't let me pass this up and lent me the money to send to Erik the next day, reason #712 why he is my best friend. I was excited, I was nervous...I wondered how in the hell I was getting all of these parts back to Pittsburgh. This is where Del comes into the picture and honestly, opened a door for me to build a truck that I never thought was possible. Erik took the truck to Del's shop in Burbank and over the next few weeks Del removed everything from the frame, crated it up and put it on a truck. This is a true example of the kind of person he is. Who am I? But yet he didn't hesitate for one second to help me.
Walking into the shop that day seeing this gigantic crate was one of the best moments of my life. I tore into it like it was my birthday. I laid tarps on the floor of the shop and proceeded to place all of the parts alongside the truck in their respected place. Prior to getting the parts, I completely stripped the frame for what was once supposed to be your standard air ride set up, but that was no more. I stood there staring at two frame rails and a pile of parts that needed to go together. I was excited, nervous, I may or may not have peed a little, but overall could not wait to start my now Dad's truck.
I am lucky to have some amazing friends. Jeremy Seanor, Josh Hart, Brian Winter, Mike Johns, Jon Stein, and even a few of my past students have helped with the build. The frame went together flawlessly. The Porterbuilt parts are no joke. The quality is second to none. Then came the CPP Big Brake Kit and other miscellaneous parts. I received a lead from a fellow Instructor about a guy he knew with a low mileage LQ4 6.0 engine and well, I bought it. Sold the other engine and transmission and used that money for more parts.
I wanted a set of nice wheels. To me, this was one of the hardest decisions to make about the build. If I ever have kids, I think picking a name would be easier, just saying. This is where a good friend and owner of Innovative Autoworks, T.J Gefert came into the picture. He was able to help me out with a custom built set of U.S Mags, and a killer deal on an Accuair E-Level set up and a few compressors. Without a lot of his connections and outlets for parts, I wouldn't be as far along in the build as I am.
I started posting the build on Instagram under the name @bloodsweatandbeard and could not believe the amount of exposure the truck was getting. It was and is being featured on various pages to the point I have gotten over 1000 followers in just the past 3 or 4 months. To me that's crazy, yet also extremely appreciated. With this positive growth on Social Media, I made contact with Will Singleton of Moosehead Radiator and we discussed a radiator set up for the 63-66 trucks. He was on board, and blew me away by full sponsoring a radiator/fan/shroud set up for me. I was lucky enough to be able to thank him, and I won't lie...hug him in person at the PPG Grand Nationals GoodGuy's show in Columbus this past summer. He is now building a gas tank and I am very happy to say we have both benefited greatly from our new found relationship.
Sitting on our couch one night talking about names for the truck, my girlfriend and I and many other people were tossing around names but nothing fit. Until one night, I thought about how all of my Dad's friends called me his "shadow" since I was always with him, and was and am in all reality a carbon copy of him. It was set, the truck was known from that point on as, "Shadow."
At this point in time the truck is mocked up and getting some custom metal work done by the incredibly talented Josh Hart. He sent me a picture the other night and needless to say I'm happy I was sitting down. I have also had the privilege of working side by side with him throughout some of this process so far learning what I can along the way. The plan for the truck is also a custom interior from a good friend, and ridiculously talented Scott Zielinski, owner of Sew It Seams, a set of one off bumpers from the evil genius himself, Henry Richards owner of Steadfast Manufacturing, and a custom paint job from my brother from another mother, the one and only Jeremy Seanor owner of Luckystrike Designs.
I have been very privileged meeting the people I have. Kyle from Fred's Truck Parts has been awesome, and there are so many others that have helped along the way and I cannot thank you all enough. Most importantly, thank you to my girlfriend Megan for dealing with me living at the shop and never once complaining about it. So stay tuned, and get ready for some burn outs the summer of 2016 at the GoodGuys show in Columbus for Shadow's release. Hope to see everyone there.” Marc Mullin