Updated: Sep 8
In the world of hot rods and classic cars, few things are as satisfying as bringing an old gem back to life. The story of Thad & Jess Bowen's 1972 Chevy C10 is not just about restoring a vintage vehicle; it's about reviving cherished memories and fulfilling a promise to a lifelong friend. Thad's journey culminated in receiving the prestigious Viewer's Choice award at the 2022 Midwest Regional Hot Rod Rally, an accolade that honors not only his dedication but also the sentimental value of the project.
A Gift with a Legacy
Thad Bowen's connection to his 1972 Chevy C10 runs deep. This classic pickup was more than just a vehicle; it was a gift from the family of Jeff Vock, his father's lifelong friend. Jeff had owned the C10 for many years, and Thad grew up riding around in it. In fact, it's safe to say that this C10 played a pivotal role in Thad's transformation into a bona fide gearhead.
From a young age, Thad's fascination with the truck was evident. At the tender age of 4 or 5, he would pester Jeff to "floor it" just to hear the roar of the factory-optioned big block engine. Jeff, too, had plans to restore the truck, evident from his collection of spare parts and a couple of parts trucks. However, fate had other plans.
A Bittersweet Inheritance
In 2015, Jeff unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind his cherished C10 project. In an act of extraordinary generosity, Jeff's family decided to gift Thad the entire lot of trucks and parts, knowing how much the C10 meant to him. It was a bittersweet moment, marked by the passing of a friend and the beginning of an incredible restoration journey.
The Winter of 2021-22: A Labor of Love
The restoration of the 1972 Chevy C10 began in the winter of 2021-22. Thad took on the project with unwavering determination, determined to fulfill the dream that Jeff had started. As he worked tirelessly to bring the C10 back to its former glory, Thad was motivated by one driving goal: to finish the project just in time for his wife, Jess Bowen's return from deployment in the UAE.
The dedication and craftsmanship that Thad poured into the restoration were evident in every detail. From meticulously restoring the engine to breathing new life into the interior, every step of the process was a labor of love and a tribute to Jeff's memory. Thad's journey was closely followed by a community of enthusiasts who cheered him on, kept him motivated, and celebrated his progress every step of the way.
The Viewer's Choice Award: A Well-Deserved Honor
Thad Bowen's restoration of the 1972 Chevy C10 touched the hearts of many, and it was no surprise that he was named the recipient of the 2022 Viewer's Choice award at the Midwest Regional Hot Rod Rally. This prestigious award is not just about bragging rights for the next year but is a symbol of recognition for the passion, dedication, and sentimental value that Thad brought to the project.
Winning the Viewer's Choice award is no small feat, as it's decided by participants and spectators of the hot rod rally. Thad's C10 is now featured on the rally's logo, gracing the website, t-shirts, koozies, calendars, and flyers for this year's event. It's a fitting tribute to a project that not only brought a classic truck back to life but also honored the memory of a dear friend and the bonds of family and friendship that hot rodding often represents.
Thad Bowen's journey to restore the C10 is a testament to the power of passion and the enduring memories tied to classic vehicles. It's a story of fulfillment, dedication, and the importance of keeping promises. Winning the 2022 Viewer's Choice award at the Midwest Regional Hot Rod Rally is a fitting recognition of the significance of this restoration project, and it solidifies Thad's place in the hot rod community as a true enthusiast and a worthy recipient of this prestigious honor.
Article and Photos by: Rachel Rogers - Double R Design & Photography