GC Cooling’s Preston Folkestad Aiming for Battle of the Builders Top 10

By SEMA Editors

“Buck the Truck,” Preston Folkestad’s ’73 Chevrolet C10.

Preston Folkestad, 22, of GC Cooling is entering the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition as a Young Gun.

The son of Bob Folkestad, a well-known engineer and sales professional in the aftermarket industry and owner of Creative Werks Inc., the distributor of GC Cooling, Preston was raised around insider knowledge of the industry. He has experience in design, engineering, fabrication, assembly, machining, welding and painting.

In June 2017, Folkestad embarked on rebuilding the ’73 Chevrolet C10 he inherited from his great-grandfather Maurice “Buck” Heckart. The C10, named “Buck the Truck” in memory of Folkestad’s great-grandfather, was purchased new by Heckart in 1973. A World War II veteran who served in the 707 Tank division and was a motorcycle messenger and medic, Heckart was a major influence in Folkestad’s life. The C10 truck was used primarily on Heckart’s farm in rural Iowa. Folkestad drove it as his personal-use vehicle throughout high school and during his years at Iowa State.

When driving the truck in high school, Folkestad and his father cut the truck’s frame to transform it from a long-box C10 to a short box. The pair added a small-block engine and painted it flat black. For the SEMA Show, however, Folkestad knew he needed to create a masterpiece with the C10 in order to enter the truck into the Young Gun competition while honoring his great-grandfather’s memory. To do this, Preston decided to rebuild the truck as a street-ready, track-day-capable vehicle.

Folkestad spent more than 80 hours of the redesign correcting gaps and fitting the doors and fenders. Rust spots were fixed and rockers, cab corners and cab supports were replaced. The whole truck was skim coated with filler and blocked six times. The exterior was completed with a custom paint job by Chris Cope, using paint from House of Kolors. The C10 has a Kandy Orange color over an Orion Silver base. It is two-toned and has an airbrushed carbon-fiber pinstriped graphic.

The modified short-bed C10 was designed to be aggressive and race-ready. To lower the C10 an additional 2 in. with a notched frame, Folkestad elected to use a RideTech Sreet Grip rear suspension, a No Limit Engineering front crossmember with tubular control arms, RideTech coil-over shocks, a No Limit Engineering sway bar, and a power rack-and-pinion steering setup. He used Wilwood six-piston brakes with 14-in. calipers on the front, while four-piston brakes are used on the rear. Wilwood also supplied the master cylinder. The transmission is a 700R4 with a B&M 2600 RPM stall converter built by Ed Slivka.

For the engine, Folkestad chose to use custom aluminum heads from Automotive Machine Shop Services, a COMP Roller Cam with 4-7 firing order swap, an All American Billet front drive with ceramic coating, a single-plane intake manifold and scorpion shaft rocker arms. To further customize Buck the Truck, custom sheet-metal valve covers and a breather system with ceramic coating are under the hood. He opted for a custom FLUIDYNE radiator with GC Cooling’s High-Performance Series fans. 

Folkestad took the time to personally design the interior of the truck. From custom door panels, a hand-sculpted bench seat, an Alpine stereo system and more customizations, no part of the truck was overlooked. Vintage Air performance air conditioning and Dakota Digital Instruments were also added to the interior for a modern touch.
“Being able to design something from start to finish and work through every step of the build allowed me the opportunity to take my time and have a no-compromise attitude toward building Buck. We spent numerous hours trying to perfect everything from the stance to the overall design. My dad taught me everything I know, but this truck is a tribute to my great-grandfather, and I wanted to build this truck knowing he would be proud of it,” Folkestad said.