Photos and Story by: Laura Mae Bagwell
Modernized automobiles came into existence in the late 19th century, and everything from their parts to their presentations have changed over the course of the last century. Foreign and domestic vehicles are celebrated by fellow enthusiasts, who are typically members of local, national or international clubs.
Which manufacturer might get the spotlight in this story, you ask? Chevrolet is our homegrown honoree. Chevrolet is a division of GM (General Motors) that was founded on November 3, 1911 by Arthur Chevrolet, Louis Chevrolet, and William C. Durant; it was later merged to GM in 1917.
Chevrolet vehicles but namely trucks (at least in this story) know how to pack the miles and the memories, which is why four men in California decided to establish the C10 club in 1999. The main mission: to recognize the ‘value’ of a ride.
A Passion and A Pastime
George “Alex” Lopez has been a firefighter and paramedic in El Paso for twenty-three years. He is a West Texas and Southern New Mexico representative of the national C-10 truck club. “I’d always really liked the truck atmosphere,” stated Alex.
He recalled growing up alongside his uncles as they worked on vehicles in the back of his grandparents’ house. “One of the first vehicles that I learned to drive in when I was about nine or ten was a ’49 Chevy. It was a 3-speed on the column, and the clutch was so hard [that] I’d have to grab the bottom of the steering wheel and really push down on the clutch,” said Alex.
Those moments instilled a passion that would have a profound impact on his life, but it would not come full throttle until a night out with his friend Jerry.
“We used to go to a cruise at Hudson’s Grill when they used to have Friday night car cruises like once a month. One night he showed up in a ’66 Chevy short bed, fleetside and I thought, ‘Man, that is cool.’ He backed up into the parking spot, and he hit the switches so it started lowering…Man, right then and there I was in love all over again with trucks,” exclaimed Alex.
That moment took him down memory lane and stirred some sentiment. “[I call that] particular truck ‘The One.’ It’s the one that really wanted to get me back into the truck [scene], into doing trucks, into getting trucks out [to cruises]. What we have right now as far as the club goes originates back to that one truck,” explained Alex.
A Custom Classic
Alex is known for his red shop-style ’64 Chevy C10. The sides read “S.A.L.’S Chevrolet Parts Sales Service.”
Alex acquired the square-body in 2016 after a friend sent him a posting. At the time, Alex came into possession of a pristine ’64 El Camino but desired a Chevrolet truck. He contacted the owner of the truck and offered an even trade – the ’64 El Camino for the ’64 Chevy C10 Truck.
The vehicles were shipped, and Alex was now the proud owner of the square-body, which would become a tribute to his son. The acronym, S.A.L., is his son’s initials, but the truck contains “little innuendos” that represent his son.
“There is a 13 on the tailgate. When we put [our son] onto his first soccer team, they were able to choose their own numbers. He was four or five years old, and he went right away and picked the number 13. Well when he picked the number 13, he didn’t know that’s my favorite number and my lucky number.”
While the truck platform is ‘classic’, the truck has been customized. It represents the club in a nutshell; the club is open to anyone who owns a 1918-1998 Chevy truck, and there are no rules as to what the truck looks like.
“I wanted to concentrate on making this club inviting to people so that people would like to be a part of it, a part of what we do, a part of giving back to the community, and a part of feeling like they are doing something positive not only for themselves but for the people around them,” stated Alex.
“It’s the way I tell the guys. It’s from like a $500 daily driver to a $100,000 build,” remarked Alex.
Memories, Not Money
“I don’t care what [the truck] looks like, I don’t care what you have in it, I don’t care how much chrome you have in it or how much horsepower there is in it. All I care about is how you feel with either yourself or with your family driving your truck and creating the memories that you do in that truck,” explained Alex.
The public is encouraged to attend annual club events such as the Kickoff Meet-N-Greet Cruise, Easter Basket Fundraiser, Cruise to Hatch, NM, Cruise to the Pines, The Night Cruise Before Christmas Truck or Treat and Toy Drive, and El Chuco C10 Club Picnic among others.
“Don’t be afraid to be a part of something that gives back to community cause it’s really rewarding. The friends you make, the things that you experience, and the memories that you make, they’ll last a lifetime,” beamed Alex.
Alex concluded with a phrase from his friend Ronnie that encapsulates the true meaning of the club: “The trucks are cool, but the people are cooler.”
For more information about upcoming events, please visit Alex’s Instagram page at @c10club_elchucotx2