Black Widow | Dino’s ’73 Chevy Squarebody Stepside

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 own 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) because the name for 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?

FIRST STOP: SUSPENSION

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 air bag 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 on 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 increasing ride quality, Ridetech HQ Series adjustable dampening shocks were included on each corner for good measure.

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 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.

UNDER THE HOOD

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.

SUBTLE FACELIFT 

Before any cruising would be done, however, Dino had a few more things in mind to tackle first. The Squarebody needed a facelift, but nothing too crazy would be in the works as Dino envisioned something more on the subtle side of the tracks. 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 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, as well as a center hourglass shaped cutout in the center to not only offer a sneak peek to the suspension and chassis components below but also to lend credence to the Squarebody’s whole venomous spider motif.

SOPHISTICATED INTERIOR

Inside the cab, Dominic of ‘D-Bomb’ Custom Interior Fab was next to step up to the plate wielding his expert upholstery skills. 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 have all come together to create an elevated sense of sophistication inside of the C10’s cabin.

Jeff James of Connections Audio soon 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, component speakers and the amps required to create an ample amount of juice for the entire audio assemblage.

Plagued with spiders 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 just 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.

TRUCK SPECS

 Owner 

Dino Battilana 

1973 Chevy C10
Phoenix
Chevy Only

Engine

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 shape detail
LUX underglow lights

Interior & Interior 

Shop: Dominic @ ‘D-Bomb’ Custom Interior Fab, Phoenix, AZ
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 @ Connections Audio

 

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