A Labor of Love
Venicio Caballero knows exactly what he wants.
He may only be 11 years old, but his passion for classic trucks runs deep. So, when he asked his dad, Hugo, if the two of them could find and restore a truck together this summer, it’s no surprise he already had a make and model in mind. And so the search began for the perfect 1967 Chevrolet C-10 shortbed fleetside pickup.
“We looked everywhere for months. We tried Craigslist. We tried OfferUp. We tried eBay. We were all over the place,” says Hugo. “We knew we wanted to make the right call, but this specific truck was so difficult to find because so many times in the past, people have bought these models, and they try to update them and it just gets to be too much work and they move on,” he says.
As a self-described “naturalist,” Venicio was looking for a truck that had retained as much of its original form as possible. “I loved all of the different paint colors and the look of it,” Venicio says. “We picked it because it had a story.”
After finding “the one” in Northern California, the two immediately got to work and found some surprises along the way, including a toy truck from the 80’s lodged inside the back bumper and a nest of black widow spiders under the hood. “Mom made sure we parked the truck outside the garage until we power-washed it after that,” says Venicio.
As the pair got started on the DIY restoration, they wasted no time jumping in fixing what they could find tutorials for online. “This was our first time [renovating a car]. I’ll say this—YouTube has been very kind to us,” laughs Hugo.
Through their trouble-shooting, the duo was able to navigate quite a few fixes on their own but through a serendipitous turn of events, the project soon became a community effort.
“The greatest thing about this truck was that it wasn’t just us making it happen. Our neighbors who had experience lent a hand,” says Hugo. “Even my boss has helped out, and Sun Devil Auto has been amazing.”
As a long-time customer of sister shop Wilhelm Automotive, Hugo reached out to parent company GB Automotive Service for help and the team behind Sun Devil Auto, now also part of the GB family, responded immediately, eager to help young Venicio fulfill his dream. The Sun Devil team installed rear springs, drop shocks, drop springs, a new track bar and alignment, fixed brakes and even checked out a potential cooling system issue and more, all pro bono.
With the help of neighbors, friends and the support of Sun Devil, the truck has truly become a community project. “At a point in time when everyone is encountering a lot of human hardships, to have so many people offer to go above and beyond to help a young boy out has just been amazing,” says Hugo. “It’s not just about a truck anymore. It’s brought us all closer in a time where we’ve all been more isolated than ever. This experience has been just actually, truly priceless.”
Now that the truck—officially deemed a member of the family and formally named “Relic”—is up and running in driving condition (“Sun Devil really helped us get up and rocking and rolling,” says Hugo), the pair are able to go for drives and “jam,” Venicio says. The truck will also be on display at this weekend’s Oasis Car Show in Glendale, Ariz. where Venicio and Hugo can connect with a much larger community.
And up next? Venicio’s little brother Luciano has already set his sights on restoring a pink Lexus and Venicio’s picked a 1963 Chevy C-10 stepside pickup truck for his dad to restore.
“It’s amazing just to have something ongoing and that you look forward to working on in a time like this,” says Hugo. “When everything can be stressful and chaotic, to have a project that brings you together and connects you with your community on this common goal—and all of the hours and sweat invested—it’s been a much more rewarding experience than we were expecting.”