Building a Quarantine Machine!
While the world recoiled from the disastrous effects of COVID-19, many chose a cautionary approach to life, adopting a form of self-quarantine. The theory was that with minimal outside exposure, the odds against being infected would be improved. Not so good, of course, was the isolation associated with quarantine. Fortunately, Marc Patterson found the ideal way to put the shutdown to good use.
Marc is an HVAC contractor in Winter Garden, Florida, and a lifelong automotive enthusiast. Growing up around trucks and farm machinery, mechanical skills came naturally to him. His childhood was also the time when trucks like Bigfoot were performing on the monster truck circuit. As a result, he has owned and built lots of 4x4s and mud trucks as well as a collection of lowered and lifted trucks. His latest, this 1986 Chevy K10 became the perfect project vehicle and easily the best thing to come out of the pandemic.
Marc is a serious enthusiast with 5 acres of land and an air-conditioned 2,500-square-foot shop for his projects. He’s fortunate to have the approval and support of his wife Amy along with help from his sons Hendrix (18), Huck (12), and “Flashlight Holder” daughter Emma (11). As a result, the 18-month K10 build became a family bonding experience.
Getting started was a challenge because he wanted a particular truck that had been on his radar for almost 10 years. The Chevrolet squarebody was a local truck that bounced around between Georgia and Florida. When it finally came up for sale locally, he snapped it up and began the rebuild process. The goal was to create a lifted truck, but not one so extreme that it would be difficult to enter, exit, and drive. The body was in good shape but personalizing the truck meant a complete redo of the suspension, motor, and transmission.
Determining a workable ride height was the first concern. When he graduated high school in 1994, one of his goals was to replicate what was popular back then, when towering rides like Bigfoot were making headlines. A more conservative approach, however, was planned for this truck.
“In those days, ride height would have been quite high,” Marc told us. “But I’m not getting any younger, so a 9-inch lift was certainly more manageable. Also, I didn’t want to overbuild it to the point where it was no longer fun to drive.”
Marc’s years of experience allowed him to assemble a collection of components that would work together to achieve the goal. Once the plan was complete, the first step was to disassemble the truck completely. Since the high-performance engine on the schedule would dictate many of the options, Marc chose a pair of 1-ton axles, Detroit Lockers, heavy duty leaf springs, and new brakes. He also knew that the geometry of straight-axle GM trucks could sometimes cause steering issues, so he incorporated an ORD Crossover steering and sway bar with the AGR Rock Ram Steering System. The hydraulically assisted setup stabilized the steering as well as providing lock-to-lock wheel clearance. The set of 16-inch Real Racing Wheels and 35-inch Mickey Thompson MTZ rubber was the perfect finishing touch to get the chassis rolling. After mocking up all the components, everything was disassembled, and the frame painted.
Punch Up The Power
Power was next, and the LS V-8 under the hood came from a 2006 Chevrolet pickup. Marc chose the team at Central Florida Machine and Speed in Winter Garden, Florida, to rebuild the engine to his specs. The long list of state-of-the-art additions includes a rotating assembly composed of an Eagle crank and connecting rods along with JE forged pistons. A Comp Cams cam activates valves in the OEM Cathedral Port heads, sucking fuel in through a 102-mm Holley throttle body. Spark comes from the Holley Terminator Max EFI and MSD coils while Holley Performance exhaust manifolds and Borla Pro XS Stainless race mufflers handle the exhaust. Holley Performance mid-mount pulleys hold the alternator and A/C compressor in place. The final touch was a Holley 4-row aluminum radiator, a pair of 14-inch SPAL fans, and a B&M trans cooler, all working together to ensure temps stay in the green. The completed package creates a stout 523 lb-ft of torque and 370 hp. Marc bolted on a 4L80E 4-speed electronic trans with lock up and 2,800 stall speed to transmit the power to a 14-bolt, full floater Corporate rear axle fitted with 4.56 gears. If anyone has a stump that need pulling, this rig can do it.
One of the advantages of buying a previously customized truck is benefiting from previously installed upgrades. Amazingly, the House of Kolor Blood Red paint on the body is probably around 14 years old and is still looking good. Specific refinements to the exterior include Hella LED headlights, a functional Dee Zee Crossover toolbox, and Rhino spray liner in the bed. Moving inside, the original gauges on the dash were replaced with a Holley EFI 12.3-inch Pro Dash panel, thoroughly customizable and featuring indicator screens that can be programmed to display specific parameters of the Holley EFI system. A 14-inch Sharper Image billet wheel directs the Off-Road Design’s crossover steering while a Transgo shifter on the floor engages the four-wheel drive. Red vinyl on the bench seat, plush carpet, and elaborate stereo completed the changes to the cab.
What does Marc think now that his new “quarantine machine” is on the road?
“The truck gets driven on the weekends and is the perfect date night ride,” he says. “It was also a great learning experience for my kids, and we spent lots of time together while the world was shut down. It was the only good thing to come out of the pandemic. My future plans might call for a new TMI interior and a custom two-tone red and silver paint job.”
There’s one more benefit from the family bonding experience: Marc’s son Huck now wants to build his first truck, naturally, another squarebody Chevy!
In addition to the family, Marc would like to acknowledge the help from good friends like Gene Kerr, Carl and CJ Bates, Dewayne Nobles, Brandon Waldrop, Mike Kent, and Rick Sholenburger. Robert Lizzy at Central Florida Machine and Speed sourced all the hard-to-get parts due to the COVID shutdown.
Winter Garden, Florida
1986 Chevy K10
Balanced 2006 LS V-8
Off Road Designs HD engine cradle and LS motor mounts
OEM Cathedral Port heads
3-Angle valve job and blended bowls
Holley Performance tall LS valve covers
Eagle crank and connecting rods
JE forged pistons
Comp Cams cam 650 LIFT
102 MM Holley throttle body
Holley Mid Rise Tunnel Ram EFI
Holley Performance 60# injectors
Holley Terminator Max EFI and Controller
K&N Air Cleaner
Holley Performance exhaust manifolds
Borla Pro XS Stainless race mufflers.
JW Performance ‘Wheel’ Flywheel
Melling oil pump
Holley 4-row aluminum radiator
B&M transmission cooler
Two 14-inch SPAL fans
4L80E 4-speed electronic trans with lock-up
2800 stall speed
14-bolt, full floater Corporate rear axle
GM NP208 transfer case with ORD case adapter
523 lb-ft of torque and 370 hp
Builder: Central Florida Machine and Speed in Winter Garden, Florida
1/2 Ton Chevy chassis
DANA 60’s with 35-spline Spicer axles
Auburn limited slip difs front and rear
FORD Crossover steering and sway bar
PSC box with hydraulic assist with AGR Rock Ram
Corporate 14-bolt full floater rear
4.56 gears by Carl and CJ Bates at EC Worx, Winter Garden FL
8-inch Skyjacker springs
Wide Open Design 54-inch 7075 ladder bars with ballistic Poly joints
Off Road Designs antiroll bar
Skyjacker Softride front/rear spring
Fox Racing front/rear shocks
Front brakes: factory original
Rear brakes: Off-Road Designs disc brake conversion
Holley Performance Sniper Tank and fuel pump
Chassis work by the owner
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
Front/rear rims: Real Racing Wheels 3-piece modular 16X15 8 ON 6.5
Front/rear tires: Mickey Thompson MTZ 35X15.50X16
House of Kolor Blood Red paint
Hella LED headlights
Dee Zee Crossover toolbox
Rhino liner in the bed
Red vinyl bench seat
Plush red carpet
Bluetooth Stereo with component sets in the doors and kick panels
Sub enclosure behind the seat
Holley EFI 12.3-inch Pro Dash panel
Sharper Image billet wheel
Transgo shift kit with OEM floor shifter