Reviving Vintage Wheels: A Cool High School Restoration Story

Charles Spencer is an 18-year-old senior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona. He bought a 1969 Chevy C20 from his father at age 14 and has restored it over the course of his early high-school career. 

We found Spencer when he sent us photos of his completed build and chose to do a spotlight on him and his incredible accomplishments. Aside from the focus and commitment it takes to transform a classic pickup into a show truck, Spencer has logged over 250 community service hours, earned his Eagle Scout distinction, is a part of the National Honors Society and competes on his high school track and cross country teams. 

After purchasing the 1969 Chevrolet C20 from his dad, Spencer tore the truck down and identified what parts he needed to transform the old truck into a showstopper. He began the restoration process by addressing some rust spots before bolting a Vintage Air Gen IV SureFit Kit for 1967-72 Chevrolet trucks to its bracket while his father welded it in place. He fitted Ridetech suspension and centered the cab and bolted it down. 

His family pitched in and helped to properly align some of the bigger panels, bed and hood. Spencer would come home from school and get straight to work in the garage, sanding down his truck to prep it for bodywork and paint. 

His passion for cars is multi-generational, as his father and grandfather pitched in to help him restore the ‘69 C20. Spencer’s father had a hand in several steps of the restoration process, including welding and panel mounting, while his grandfather helped him rebuild the 350 small block that became the beating heart of his show truck. The small block used to be the powerplant for his grandfather’s hot rod before it was given to Spencer. 

After Spencer’s father prepped all the panels for paint, he helped him spray them Axalta Indigo Blue before wet sanding and buffing them out. They had the frame powder coated and then got to wiring. 

“My dad and I worked on wiring every day after I got home from school until we got all the wires run,” said Spencer.

They made the power steering lines, installed the steering column, ran fuel and brake lines, radiator hoses and two layers of sound deadening. 

A friend helped with upholstery, and finally, Spencer got to install the last of his interior panels, seats and visors. He did a few checks before the truck’s first start-up. After the frame-off restoration of his ‘69 C20, Spencer shows his beautiful Axalta Indigo Blue truck at meets and is immensely proud of his work. 

Spencer plans to pursue a career in the automotive industry and potentially continue his athletic pursuits. We’re proud to be a part of a young hot rodder’s build and hope that there are many more budding car enthusiasts like him!