Things have certainly changed for custom trucks. It used to be that in order to call your truck custom, you had to take it to the extreme limit, including wild body mods and painted graphics. Though there are people who still go all out like that, it’s not for everyone. For instance, although C-10s have emerged as one of the hottest segments in the truck scene, not everyone is driven to change their looks dramatically.
The trend with C-10s is to improve upon them rather than change their original form. Though it’s a must to modify the suspension and drivetrain, it’s not mandatory within the scene to change a C-10’s physical appearance. These days, even finding a truck with a straight body and tons of patina is acceptable, but for those that want to do it right, restoring the exterior is a must.
“He knew he wanted to give the truck a restomod look,make some improvements but keep the original look of the truck intact.”
What Tino Garza had in mind when he started on this ’65 C-10 was to make it look as if it was all original but with a twist. Since Tino has a lot of family members who were into lowriders, he developed an appreciation for classic vehicles as a kid. From there, he got into trucks like the rest of us. Since then, he’s been working on a ’94 Silverado in his own garage.
While he was working on the Silverado, his good friend, Eddie Franco, found a ’65 C-10 near lake Arrowhead, California, and decided to build it himself. Things didn’t pan out for Eddie, so Tino scooped up the C-10. He knew he wanted to give the truck a restomod look, making some improvements but keeping the original look of the truck intact. One shop famous for creating wicked-low trucks with modern power is Delmo’s. Del Uschenko and his talented crew are very familiar with C-10s and have a reputation for creating a distinctive style.
1965 Chevrolet C-10
Bermuda Dunes, CA
- Shop: Mullenix Racing Engines/Delmo’s Speed & Kustom
- 408-ci LS3 engine
- Magnuson Heatbeat supercharger
- Holley Terminator MPFI EFI system with 102mm throttle body
- Classic Chevy small-block script valve cover with Delmo’s adapters
- Drive Junky low-mount AC serpentine kit
- Custom intake tube with K&N filter
- Custom 3-inch exhaust with Magnaflow mufflers
- Be Cool four-row radiator and dual electric fans
- Rebuilt 4L80E transmission
- 1-ton driveshaft
- Currie 9-inch rearend
- 4.10:1 gears
- Classic Performance Products aluminum gas tank
- Shop: Delmo’s Speed & Kustom
- Swapped to short-bed frame
- Porterbuilt Fab Level 3 front cross member with control arms
- Classic Performance Products drop spindles
- Front AirLift Dominator airbags
- Porterbuilt Fab Level 3 rear Drop member with 2-link and Watts link
- Rear Firestone sleeve ’bags
- Bilstein shocks
- Baer Brakes master cylinder
- 14-inch Baer disc brakes with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers in the rear
- AccuAir e-level air management system
Wheels & Tires
- 22×8.5 and 24×15 Delmo Specials
- 255/30R22 and 405/25R24 Pirelli tires
Body & Paint
- Shop: Lewis Millinich Body Shop/Delmo’s Speed & Kustom
- Original chrome bumpers and trim
- Porterbuilt hood hinges
- Delmo’s front inner fenders
- Shaved gas filler and tailgate latches
- Replacement short bedsides
- Raises stained oak wood bed floor
- Original rear wheel tubs widened by Empire Fabrication
- Custom paint based off 1963 Corvette
Interior & Stereo
- Shop: Delmo’s Speed & Kustom/Fat Lucky’s
- Factory seat reupholstered in vinyl with insert from ‘60s Impala
- Custom tan carpet
- Late-model GM throttle pedal
- Dakota Digital VHX gauges
- Vintage Air AC
- Custom Impala AC knobs
- Classic Performance Products steering column with original wheel
Tino’s ultimate goal was to have the truck ready for the annual SEMA Show since he’d never had a vehicle displayed there before. Building a truck for the show is a major feat, and Tino knew he could trust Del because he has plenty of these types of builds under his belt. Tino dropped off the truck at the shop when it was based out of Burbank, California, and Del talked him into cutting the truck’s long bed.
The first course of action was to start with the foundation, and for a truck this is the chassis. A short-bed frame was acquired to save the time required to cut down the original version. From there, a Porterbuilt Fab Level 3 front cross member was attached with a matching set of control arms, CPP drop spindles and a pair of AirLift Dominator airbags to get the ’65 down low. In the back sits a narrow Currie 9-inch rearend held in place with a Porterbuilt Fab Level 3 Dropmember with 2-link, Watts link and a pair of Firestone sleeve ’bags. These components were chosen specifically to fit the 22×8.5 front and 24×15-inch rear Delmo Specials on one side and Kompression KCV-556 on the other, both equipped with Pirelli rubber. Making sure these oversized rollers come to a halt is a set of Baer 14-inch brakes with front six-piston caliper and rear four-piston calipers. This is where the truck got the name “LaFawnda,” because it has a wide rear like a good-looking curvy woman.
“Once the truck was done, it was loaded up and taken to the SEMA show where it was a complete hit. Tino got plenty of reactions on everything from the supercharged LS3 to the different set of wheels it had on either side.”
To power this sexy beast, Tino knew he wanted a high horsepower engine to leave others in his trail of rubber. He ordered up a 408-ci LS3 with Magnuson Heatbeat supercharger from Mullenix Racing Engines. The LS3 was painted Chevy Orange and a set of classic small-block script valve covers are held in place with Delmo’s adapters. The front end was dressed up with a Drive Junky serpentine kit with low-mount AC compressor. A custom intake tube with K&N filter escorts air inside. On the other end, a set of Hooker headers moves gases out of a custom 3-inch exhaust with Magnaflow mufflers. One of the biggest mistakes people make is choosing a transmission that won’t hold up to the demands of a high-powered engine. To combat this, Tino implemented a rebuilt GM 4L80E transmission to achieve 700 hp at the wheels.
“It’s because of its simplicity that there has been so much buzz around the truck. Even though it isn’t super wild, Tino’s C-10 has the right balance of mods to make it a hit.”
Other than the aforementioned changes, the truck was kept as stock as possible. Up front, a set of Porterbuilt Fab hood hinges and Delmo’s inner fenders make room for the large billet wheels. On the back end, a new set of short bedsides was ordered to match the length of the frame. Then the stained oak wood bed floor was raised 12 inches, and Empire Fabrication widened the original wheel tubs. Next, the truck was sent off to Lewis Millinich Body Shop in Hanford, California, for proper bodywork and custom-mixed paint based off of a 1963 Corvette Saddle Tan. Finally, all of the original trim was added to pull off a factory-fresh look.
The interior is kept simple like rest of the truck. For better functionality, a CPP steering column was installed along with a Dakota Digital VHX gauge panel. The Vintage Air AC unit is controlled by a set of Impala switches and blows through the original vents. Fat Lucky’s stepped in to lay down new carpet, reupholster the original seat in matching vinyl and add an insert from a ’60s Impala.
Once the truck was done, it was loaded up and taken to the SEMA Show where it was a complete hit. Tino got plenty of reactions on everything from the supercharged LS3 to the different set of wheels it had on either side. Talking to friends afterwards, he decided to stick with the Delmo Specials on all four corners. With the look complete, this truck takes on the persona of an original vehicle that came with a special package if Chevrolet had offered such a thing back in 1965. It’s because of its simplicity that there has been so much buzz around the truck. Even though it isn’t super wild, Tino’s C-10 has the right balance of mods to make it a hit. ST
Special thanks from the owner: “I would like to thank Delmo and his talented crew for building a masterpiece; Eddie Franco for putting up with all my questions as the build progressed and my family for their support.”
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the September 2016 print issue of Street Trucks.