OUR RIDES: Kacy Smith’s 1972 Chevrolet C10

The last time we chatted with Kacy Smith five years ago, she was eagerly anticipating the day when her 1972 Chevy C10 restoration project would finally be finished. That day arrived last summer. The completion of Kacy’s beautiful pickup, which she has nicknamed “Eugene,” is a celebration of sorts—the culmination of years spent working on cars and trucks instead of what she admits are more “common” female pursuits.

“From a very young age, I was extremely interested in cars and have always had a passion for anything mechanical. My dad wasn’t an expert mechanic, but he loved to tinker in the garage, and I often found myself at his side. Cars have always been inspiring to me—their design, their engineering, and their effect on society.”

Kacy’s fascination with automobiles led to a Bachelor’s degree in Automotive Restoration from McPherson (Kan.) College, and she joined Hagerty shortly after graduating in 2009.

Name: Kacy Smith

Position at Hagerty: Appraisal Specialist

Years at Hagerty: 8

Vehicle: 1972 Chevrolet C10

Why did you choose a C10? Trucks have always been special to me. Growing up in the Midwest, trucks were everywhere. I find that they’re more than a piece of equipment; in some instances they’re part of the family. It’s what a truck stands for that draws me to them; their stability, their power/capability, and their stories. Everyone seems to have a truck story and I’ve just started mine.

Repairs and Modifications: Eugene has had quite a bit of work done. Besides taking the complete body off of the chassis, I’ve gotten help from a buddy and some friends to coat the frame, freshen the brakes and suspension, rebuild and clean up the engine, repair rust on the rocker panels and cab corners, and repaint the exterior. Unfortunately, all the exterior trim is brand new, and after pricing the double body trim we decided that it didn’t really need it, so we filled the holes and smoothed it. After almost nine years of restoration work, I’m more than pleased with the result.

Hobby activities: Although I’m not a member of any local car clubs, I’ve been associated with the National Cherry Festival Car Show (held in Traverse City, Mich., each July) for many years. I believe that being a car guy/gal is more about the old car experience than being part of a club. It’s seeing the excitement and joy on a person’s face or having a conversation with a complete stranger at a gas station. These interactions are what makes the old car community great.

Since this will be the first full summer with Eugene, I’ll probably be out as much as I can. I’m not going to commit to any specific shows but will try to enjoy as much beautiful Michigan summer weather as I can. I’ll also continue to be a regular at Hagerty’s Cars & Caffeine gatherings on Friday mornings.

Interesting Car Stories: One of my earliest experiences involving Eugene was during my senior year at McPherson. I enrolled in a second metal fabrication class, hoping the instructor would let me bring the truck in for some rust repairs. He finally agreed after some very heavy convincing, and we agreed that I could work on the rocker panels and cab corners. To make a long story short, a couple of friends and I were able to not only replace the rocker panels and cab corners but also a rear cab support rail and part of the passenger floor pan. It took two weeks longer than planned due to some major delays for parts and the need of major assistance to remove the cab from the chassis. I guess you could say that this process is what started the body-off restoration. My college instructor was very understanding and we still joke about it today.

Favorite Drive: My favorite drive is any drive where I’m behind the wheel. Any time that I get a thumbs up or smile from a passerby makes it even sweeter. Although I do miss the straight, quiet Kansas (where I grew up) backroads, there is something magical about just driving and enjoying the vehicle without distraction… just you and the truck (or car).

Best and Worst Moments: One of the best moments I’ve had with this truck was the excitement I felt when it was delivered to northern Michigan after the restoration was complete. I can’t count all the times that I dreamed of that day. It was like being a kid on Christmas all over again. The worst moments were all the setbacks during the restoration. We’d get to a place that looked promising only to end up taking three steps back. This restoration has truly been a learning experience, especially in patience and organization. You can’t truly understand the commitment and dedication of a quality restoration until it’s completed. But the end result is/will be totally worth it.

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