Don’t mess with Texas
1965 Chevrolet C-10
We have seen trends come and go in the custom truck scene throughout the years. A recent trend that’s been catching on in the custom truck world is taking an older truck, modifying the frame, slammin’ the stance with a ‘bagged suspension and tucking tall wheels and tires deep inside the wheel wells. It’s also becoming common to drop a crate engine between the frame rails, or some customizers remove the engine and disassemble it then have it cleaned, measured and machined. Some will assemble it themselves, others have it assembled with all new internal and external performance components. Then they bolt up a later generation transmission, automatic or manual. The body receives no cosmetic pampering, all of the dents and imperfections are scars from its past and are proudly worn for all to see. The original naturally patinaed paint is left alone or scuffed and sprayed with a couple of coats of primer then finished with a flat or satin finish. The “left alone” interior receives only mild vinyl or leather, no-frill gauges and rattle-can paint. Audio is very basic, maybe a cassette or CD head unit—no Bluetooth—and a couple 6 x 9s. It’s all about projecting a bad-ass attitude.
JR Garcia, who calls Irving, Texas, home, works as a diesel mechanic. He can be seen prowling the roads and boulevards in his ’65 Chevy C-10 long bed. While in high school, JR’s means of transportation was a ‘65 C-10 that he street raced for extra cash.
He’s always felt nostalgic about his high school days, so he decided to build another ’65 C-10. He picked up his latest ride for five Franklins, $500 bucks. He always wanted to build a truck with an intimidating attitude, and his efforts are a prime example of this current trend.
The truck was delivered to Art Busche Designs in Irving where the bed, front fenders, grille and bumper were removed to make the frame and suspension more accessible. The rear frame rails were step notched to allow the GM 12-bolt rearend that was narrowed 2 inches then stuffed with 3:73 gears and Moser 31-splined axles. After rebuilding, reshoeing and painting the factory drum brakes, they were pressed back into service. The rearend was anchored with a 4-link with a Watts link added later. A pair of Dominator 2600 airbags gives the rear suspension its deep squatting ability. The front frame rails were cut just in front of the firewall, raising the frame rails 2 inches, allowing the truck to lay frame. The factory upper control arms were rebuilt with new bushings, while the factory lower control arms received airbag pockets. A pair of 2-inch drop spindles was sandwiched between the control arms. Dominator 2600 airbags were installed between the control arms and contribute to the front suspension’s lay-low attitude. The airbagged system inhales and exhales with dual Viair 444 compressors and SMC manifold and valves. The air was linked to the four airbags through 3/8-inch-diameter hard lines. JR’s green machine rolls on a set of GM 15 x 8-inch steel wheels consumed in G78/-15 Coker, Century Cushion Ride wide white tires.
The 350-ci engine was pulled out of a ’78 El Camino. As a diesel mechanic JR knows his way around a machine shop, so he was able to disassemble the entire engine himself. He decided to stroke the 350 ci to make it a 383-ci mouse motor. To that he bored the factory 4.000-inch cylinders 4.030 inches, ordered up an Eagle 4340 forged steel 400 crankshaft fit with Clevite bearings and Eagle 6-inch H-beam connecting rods with JE forged aluminum pistons and Speed-Pro rings. To achieve an intimidating rhythm JR installed an Isky camshaft, and a Moroso electric water pump to keep things cool. The original cast iron cylinder heads’ valve ports were opened up, the intake ports were bored to 2.02 inches, and the exhaust ports to 1.94. Comp Cams push rods, roller rockers, valve springs and valve keepers were also installed. Chromed tall valve covers with breathers create a hot rod look. The engine’s attitude and intimidating sound come from a pair of long-tube Hooker headers that were mummified with header wrap and collect into a 2 ½-inch-diameter exhaust before flowing into a pair of Flowmaster 40 mufflers. Mounted between the cylinder heads is a Weiand aluminum intake manifold capped with a Holley 650-cfm carburetor. To make sure no impurities are inhaled, JR mounted a small K&N air filter atop the 6-inch velocity stack. A GM HEI distributor and ignition system were linked with MSD 8.8mm ignition wires. A 1994 GM 700R4 was rebuilt, along with an Art Carr shift kit and a 3,000-rpm stall torque converter. A custom driveshaft links the 400-plus hp to the rearend.
JR’s idea was to leave the C-10’s body scars and imperfections alone in order to show off the truck’s true character. He scuffed the original paint then laid down a couple of coats of primer before spraying PPG Acetylene Green. JR wanted to match the green color of his buddy’s acetylene bottles, ECO drab green. Raising the front frame rails at the firewall created a clearance issue with the radiator and hood, preventing it from closing. Rolling hoodless does lend itself to the bad-boy attitude JR was going for with his C-10.
Opening the doors reveals the handy stitch work of Carlos and his crew at Carlos’s Upholstery in Irving. After removing the broken-down factory bench seat, Carlos replaced with it with a 1994 Chevy Silverado rebuilt bench seat covered with peanut butter-colored leather. JR removed the factory black face gauge panel and painted it white for a unique, clean look. A Viair pneumatic gauge allows JR to check the airbag system’s air pressure. For a better look and feel, a Lokar gas pedal assembly was installed, along with a Lokar swan neck shifter. JR’s brother Alex installed the JVC head unit that is powered by an 800-watt JVC amp with two 6 x 9 JVC speakers that Alex mounted out of sight under the seat.
JR drives his ’65 Chevy daily. Its longest trip has been a 40-mile run to Ft. Worth and back, making it 80 miles round trip. It’s definitely a low mileage ride that takes JR back to his high school days. Citizens of Texas are allowed to carry guns in the open, so JR has mounted his two rifles in the rear window of the C-10. He’s hoping to letter the doors with the words “Border Patrol.” His buddy, who is a border patrol officer, is checking into the legality of branding his doors.
Text by Bob Ryder
Photos by Jason Mulligan