Dino Battilana is a certified Chevy truck specialist, which is exactly what his show, Dino’s Git Down, caters to every year in Phoenix. While he gives GM-pickup enthusiasts a place to gather every year, he also makes sure to keep his garage filled with Chevy pickups of his own, with the latest of his projects being this short, dark, and handsome ’73 squarebody that he affectionately refers to as the Black Widow.
Now, before your imagination wanders too far off, let’s get one thing cleared up. Dino isn’t some sort of evil Chevy warlock or anything like that (OK, maybe he is a little bit). The name of his truck came from it being totally infested with black widow spiders since the day he took ownership of it. In fact, Dino says one or two will still pop up every now and then, which makes it seem like the truck might actually be haunted. Either way, there haven’t been any reported cases of fatal spider bites that we’ve ever heard of, so we’ll just chalk it up to the truck having some additional character, how about that?
SWITCH IT UP
At the very beginning of his most recent squarebody project, Dino made it a point to contact Seth Mcatee at Switch Suspension in Phoenix to reserve a spot for his ’73 in the shop’s rotation.
“This was the best call I made during the build process,” Dino admits. “I’m not one to take shortcuts with anything, but having one of the best in the biz agreeing to work on my truck took a lot of worry off of my mind, ya know?”
There’s no arguing with that logic, especially seeing how much work was done to Dino’s truck during its stay at the Switch compound. Seth and his crew started the build by affixing a Choppin’ Block Extreme airbag front crossmember kit, which includes the main crossmember, motor mounts, tubular control arms, shock relocation brackets, and a whole lot more. The Choppin’ Block back half package does its job at slamming the truck onto the ground in style and comfort, due in part to its 100% bolt-on installation and triangulated 4-link for stability. These packages make it possible to get that laid-out look while sidestepping any problems that tend to arise during a major suspension alteration such as this. To further promote ride quality, Ridetech HQ Series adjustable dampening shocks were included on each corner for good measure.
WHEELS AND SPEED
To take advantage of the squarebody’s new arachnid-splattering stance, a staggered set of 20- and 22-inch American Racing Burnout wheels wrapped in Nexen rubber were added for a timeless, sporty appearance. With stopping power being high on the list of things to attend to during the truck’s rebuild, front and rear Pro Performance 14-inch big brake packages, as well as a Baer Remaster master cylinder unit, were assembled to deliver responsive and accurate braking at any speed.
“…the name of his truck came from it being totally infested with black widow spiders since the day he took ownership of it.”
To help the C10 reach those high speeds, Seth at Switch once again lent a hand, but this time, to prepare an LS3 Connect & Cruise powertrain system for installation. The 6.2L mill was treated to a Holley front drive kit, a custom 4-inch intake, and a CBR aluminum radiator to keep things cool. The coolest thing of all, though, may just be the Edelbrock E-Force supercharger, which guarantees a good time even during the most boring of days. The Connect & Cruise system was further utilized when pairing the 4L65E transmission. The calibration is made to be as simple and straightforward as possible, and in no time flat, Dino’s ’73 was well equipped to take on the streets.
SATIN BLACK AND DEADLY
Before any cruising would be done, however, Dino had a few more things in mind to tackle. The squarebody needed a face-lift, but nothing too crazy would be in the works as Dino envisioned something more on the subtle side. First off, the entire cab, bed, and exterior panels were powdercoated (not painted) in a satin black finish for the ultimate in low-key styling. The headlights and taillights were swapped out for upgraded replacements from JW Speaker and United Pacific, respectively, and a few more exterior additions came in the way of door handles from Delmo’s, custom badges from Rad Machining, a carbon fiber-wrapped hood, and Lux underglow lighting to liven up the party. Even though the truck’s exterior restyling was meant to stay relatively streamlined, Switch created a raised bed floor that features lots of bead-rolled details, Hart Fab inner fenders, and an hourglass-shaped cutout in the center to not only offer a sneak peek at the suspension and chassis components below, but also to lend credence to the squarebody’s whole venomous spider motif.
Dominic of ‘D-Bomb’ Custom Interior Fab was next to step up to the plate, wielding his expert upholstery skills inside the cab. He completely transformed the front Suburban seat and door panels with a little re-imagineering and some quality leather and cloth materials. Dakota Digital gauges, a Forever Sharp steering wheel, and lots of trick LED lighting all came together to create an elevated sense of sophistication inside the C10’s cabin. Next, Jeff James of Connections Audio stepped in to create custom kick panels and a behind-the-seat enclosure that would be stuffed with JL Audio subwoofers. In fact, the entire cab was treated to a well-rounded sound system orchestrated by other JL products, from the MediaMaster series head unit to the component speakers and the amps required to create an ample amount of juice for the entire audio assemblage.
ONE BAD JACK
Plagued with creatures or not, Dino’s ’73 is still one bad jack—that much simply cannot be disputed. While a pesky friend may still crawl onto the scene uninvited, Dino has learned to live with the eight-legged buggers; it’s not like a cluster of them have shown up all at the same time or anything. All arachnophobic jabs aside, this here squarebody is a physical representation of what Dino digs about highly modified Chevy trucks. His stepside is simply one of the coolest, cleanest around because of its smooth styling and select assortment of top-shelf upgrades that only a true aficionado could’ve put together.
“While a pesky friend may still crawl onto the scene uninvited, Dino has learned to live with the eight-legged buggers; it’s not like a cluster of them have shown up all at the same time or anything.”
1973 CHEVY C10
- Shop: Switch Suspension, Mesa, AZ
- 2018 Chevy LS3 Cruise & Connect
- Edelbrock E-Force supercharger
- Holley front drive kit
- Custom 4-inch aluminum air intake
- CBR aluminum radiator w/ fans
- Custom 2.5-inch exhaust system w/ split rear
- Borla XR-1 mufflers
- 4L65E crate transmission
- Derale Hyper-Cool transmission cooler w/fans
Chassis & Suspension
- Shop: Switch Suspension
- Stock 1973 frame
- Choppin’ Block Extreme front crossmember and rear back-half kits, front and rear splined sway bars and 20-gallon aluminum fuel tank
- Ridetech HQ Series adjustable shocks
- GM 12-bolt rearend narrowed 6 inches
- Eaton TrueTrac differential
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
- 20×8.5 and 22×10 American Racing Burnout wheels
- 255/35/20 and 295/30/22 Nexen tires
- Pro Performance 14-inch front and rear brake kits
- Baer Remaster master cylinder
Body & Paint
- Shop: Switch Suspension
- Entire cab, bed, and panels: black satin powdercoated body by Pro Strip, Mesa, AZ
- LMC truck hood wrapped in carbon fiber by Connor Bramel/Wiz Kid Ink
- OE bumpers, rear dropped and tucked
- JW Speaker headlights
- United Pacific taillights
- Hart Fab front and rear inner wheel tubs
- Delmo’s door handles
- Black Widow/Chevy Only badges by Rad Machining
- Custom bead-rolled sheetmetal bed floor w/ hourglass-shaped detail
- LUX underglow lights
- Shop: Dominic at ‘D-Bomb’ Custom Interior Fab, Phoenix
- Stock Suburban seats covered in black leather and cloth upholstery
- Dakota Digital HDX gauges
- Forever Sharp steering wheel
- Squarebody Syndicate column
- JL Audio MediaMaster 50 head unit, C5-653 component speakers, 10TW3 subs, XD1000 amp
- Custom kick panels and enclosure behind seat by Jeff James at Connections Audio