President Avent’s passion project a tribute to his dad

Celebrating Father’s Day

Jun 15, 2024
Dr. Randy Avent and his father's restored 1983 Chevrolet C10 pick-up truck

Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Polytechnic University, has poured years of love and sweat into restoring his dad’s 1983 Chevrolet C10 pick-up truck.

Dr. Randy K. Avent is giving himself a gift that would make his father proud.

For the last three years, the Florida Polytechnic University president has spent many of his weekends outside his Lakeland, Florida, home carefully restoring his dad’s 1983 Chevrolet C10 pick-up truck to its original condition. It was the first new vehicle his dad ever owned.

Avent’s father, Bill Avent Jr., excitedly bought the pristine two-tone blue and silver truck after driving a used Ford Galaxie 500 from the time Randy Avent was in second grade through his time at the University of North Carolina. 

“It was such a nice truck and really his pride and joy,” Randy Avent said. “During the winter we would load the truck up with tools, go out into the woods and cut down trees for firewood. We had a lot of good times in that truck.

“It’s been an integral part of the family.”

The old Chevy made its way through the Avent family over the years, eventually finding a home with Randy Avent’s brother, Bill, who used it for many years to get his boat in and out of the water at his house in Beaufort, North Carolina, on the Intracoastal Waterway. 

Avent’s father died in 2015 and the truck was rather worse for the wear when it finally made its way to Randy Avent’s home in Lakeland a few years ago.

“With it being at the beach for so many years, it had deteriorated to kind of a scrap of rust, and I knew it was going to just be a headache, so when my brother asked me if I wanted it, I said no,” Avent said. “But my oldest son, Austin, vetoed me and said, ‘That’s the one thing I really remember about Papa is riding around in that truck.’

“He always loved that truck.”

After getting the truck running, it finally arrived in Florida and, together with his son, Avent’s labor of love began.

“I have worked on and restored dirt bikes – and I have the two in my office, one of which I restored from scratch – but I’ve never done cars and have certainly never done any body work,” Avent said. 

Undaunted, he got to work, stripping the truck to its bones and replacing many of its parts. 

“You could see through a lot of the cab, it was rusted so bad,” he said. “I spent a good bit of time cutting, fabricating new pieces, welding, and sanding and repeating until I got most of the rust cut out.”

Once the body was in shape, work began on the engine with Avent replacing many of its parts, relying on a little help from his friends.

“One of my big advantages is having so many people who wanted to help me out along the way,” he said. “I had the good fortune of having Terry Parker, who I relied on for engine issues, Jim Abels for body work and painting, and Tom Monaco for just about everything.”

Now looking every bit as sharp as it did 41 years ago, Avent has finished returning his father’s treasured truck back to its 1983 off-the-lot condition.

“I still remember my dad calling me at school the day he bought it; he was so excited,” Avent said. “He called to tell me he had bought a truck. It was something he was really proud of.

“I think he’d be proud of that truck again now.” 


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications