One of the Great Figures in Chevy Truck History
THE YEAR 1985 marked a special time in pop culture history, including music, movies, political events and design. Ronald Reagan, our 40th President, was publicly sworn in for a second term, the median household income hovered below $24,000, and the internet’s newly created Domain Name System sparked a worldwide movement. Also, if you can remember, the movie “Amadeus” was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and considered one of the best films of all time. It’s known as one of the greatest examples in American cinema—and what better way to segue over to one of the greatest examples of truck designs that Chevrolet has ever released?
During this year, GM added some new exciting features to this highly sought-after pickup. The company introduced hydraulic clutches as well as a new front grille and the most expensive radio available at the time, an AM/FM stereo seek/scan head unit with cassette tape valued at $594. How many of you guys still have one of those radios laying around in the junk pile?
These trucks were amazing workhorses at the time, and they definitely were not known for their design cues and trendy body lines, but that mindset changed the first time someone slammed their Chevy to the ground. The sight of one inspired a handful of others to follow the path to pristine, and that snowball has kept growing ever since.
Fast forward to 2020, and guys like Joshua Parker from Wilburton, Oklahoma, needed only one example of how cool these trucks are to get his blood pumping. Once Josh was able to get his hands on this 1985 shortbed C10, he knew their relationship was just getting started.
First on his wish list of wants was to install a simple lowering kit. Slam it, throw some wheels on it and drive it. That’s good enough right? Well, I think we all know the answer to that. Seeing your truck look cool for the first time is a pleasure most guys crave but few ever witness. Although for the guys that do, it’s just a step in a direction of desire that we never expected to follow. In Josh’s case, the direction he went was a path to owning one of the coolest squarebody trucks in the country.
After spending some time cruising in a static dropped squarebody, Josh decided to take it up a level on all aspects of his build. Starting with the suspension, the lowering kit was removed and replaced with a full GSI Machine front and rear air bag kit complete with Accuair air management, CPP modular spindles, GSI frame stiffener and a rack-and-pinion steering system straight out of a Mustang. A new suspension setup calls for new rollers, so Josh ordered up a set of 24-inch Intro Vista wheels and wrapped them in 405-25-24 Pirelli tires. Also, between the frame rails now sits a new Boyd Welding fuel cell that evens the weight distribution and just looks super cool! Looks, however, were not the only thing Josh focused on. He knew if it looked mean, it had to be mean, and swapping the engine was the next step in the process.
This project helped Josh learn his level of skillset and his ability to be patient. “Don’t have a deadline” is his recommendation for all the younger builders out there, and we couldn’t agree more.
The factory block was swiftly removed and replaced with a 327 ci Chevrolet LS engine from an unknown 2003 donor vehicle. Mounting the engine was simple thanks to the GSI Machine engine mounts and a PSI conversion wiring harness. Additional power adders included Texas Speed and Performance connecting rods and camshaft, ported and polished heads, a high-ram Holley Performance intake manifold, 92mm Holley Performance fuel injectors, Porterbuilt headers and a 3-inch stainless Black Widow exhaust system that dumps under the bed before the axle. To finish off the engine styling, Josh had Billet Specialties Tru Trac drive pulleys installed along with the company’s trick SBC valve covers. All the engine work was completed by Sweetens Performance out of Pocola, Oklahoma.
Transferring the power to the 19-inch narrowed, 12-bolt rear axle is a 2003 GM 4L60E transmission that has been upgraded with a 3200 rpm stall speed Circle D torque converter and a custom two-piece driveshaft. A 3:73 gear ratio gives Josh the perfect rpm while driving long distances as well as plenty of power when cruising around town. Wilwood brakes at all four corners gave him the confidence he needed to drive hard and enjoy the ride.
Finally, with a focus on interior comfort, Josh ordered up a black leather Snowden Customs bench seat with double diamond stitching. A new seat along with Dakota Digital VHX gauges, a Forever Sharp billet steering wheel and an Alpine audio system gave helped the inside look and feel and custom as the outside.
This truck has been to many events around the country including Slamily Reunion, Relics and Rods, C10s in the Park and Dino’s Git Down, so be sure to take your own pics next time you see it. This project helped Josh learn his level of skillset and his ability to be patient. “Don’t have a deadline” is his recommendation for all the younger builders out there, and we couldn’t agree more.