James Otto is not a complicated man. He says what he thinks and means what he says and that’s probably what makes him a great songwriter. James has had a stellar career in country music and takes none of it for granted, but everyone needs an escape from the reality of daily life (no matter how glamorous it might seem). For James Otto, it’s classic automotive iron in almost any form as his escape. James has enjoyed many classic vehicles in his time, especially growing up around local drag strips watching his father race from a young age. Everything from Chevelles, hyper-finned Cadillacs, even Harley Davidsons have graced his garage, but his most recent automotive accomplishment is this beautiful 1966 C-10 named “Pete’s Sake” after his late grandfather Pete Lee.
James has fond memories with this truck and his grandfather, learning how to drive the “three on the tree” standard shift, and has always loved the unique styling of the 60-66 C-10. The performance of the stock pickup, however, was not to James’ liking and a plan was hatched to retain the classic styling, clean up the lines and details, and add blistering horsepower and handling to “spruce up” the 50-year-old technology quite a bit. James has succeeded with this truck, much as he does in most things he tackles, and has created what he considers to be a perfect blend of nostalgic style and modern performance. As sanitary as this truck build is, it will NOT sit on a trailer and get towed to car shows, and it WILL have cone-prints on the fenders as plans are already days away to dial it in under fire at an autocross event that’s a three-hour drive away.
This truck is built to drive, and James will do just that! Don’t let the level of detail fool you either, it’s all performance engineered from the Le Mans inspired heat extractors on the hood to the 14.5-inch rotors and triple adjustable remote reservoir shocks. The best thing about this truck is that he can drive to those events with climate control and an awesome Alpine touch screen media station with GPS to guide him. This truck is a hit song in the form of an internal combustion powered Hot Rod, and a true success story with family history coming together for the best reasons. James has done it all, for Pete’s sake.
Let’s Get Personal
James Otto stands 6ft. 5-inches tall. The trucks lowered stance and crisp styling make it seem like a 3/4 scale version of a full-size C-10 next to him. James is not a particularly flamboyant character on or off stage, so the Spartan approach to this truck make perfect sense once you get to know James a little. The stance is a product of the Ridetech Stage III chassis kit, Ridetech triple adjustable remote reservoir shocks, and PorterBuilt frame stiffener. Pete’s Sake began life as a LWB version, but James opted for the better handling and aesthetic improvement of a short bed conversion.
The bodywork is a mix of restoration and custom styling that’s bathed in an exotic color from an Italian supercar. The Lamborgini “Balloon White” is a three-stage paint system, topped off with PPG Global Eggshell clearcoat. The grey accents are an Eastwood’ Meteor Grey metallic basecoat, covered in the same eggshell clear. The insert color is “Hot Hues” baby blue. James hand-picked all three colors and used photoshop to test colors on a digital mockup before the truck even got close to the booth. The bedsides come straight from the LMC TRUCK catalog, but they’ve been seamed, stake pockets filled, and modified slightly by Tri Works Hotrods to accommodate the giant 12-inch-wide rear wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Tires. LMC was the source for the front panel, tailgate, and inner wheelhouses as well. The LeMans style heat extractor ducts are functional and cool. Brent Buttrey is responsible for the metal work on the hood, and used simple fabrication techniques, skill, and time to accomplish this mod. The closer you look, the better the detail, and the woven stainless grills look timeless in the ducts, and the stainless fasteners are simple but perfect.
LMC Truck supplied the LED Taillights which increase visibility and cool factor simultaneously. The original bezels are painted Meteor grey with flat clear, like the bumpers and grille. LMC Hidden tailgate latches are a sanitary solution to the jangling tailgate chains that were stock on this truck and eliminate the notorious rattles that used to emanate from the sloppy medieval tailgate latch system. The fuel system has been relocated behind the axle, and the filler neck is a low-profile keyed screw top filler cap in stainless steel that offers a little more security without affecting hauling or cargo area in the bed. The touching tribute laser etched into the bedwoodandparts.com floor kit.
LMC LED Headlights and turn signals bring modern lighting to the front of “Pete”, and the Meteor Grey accents and custom stainless woven grille insert add to the cleanliness of the design. The reproduction cab moldings were brushed one direction with 180 grit sandpaper, the accent stripes and script painted black, then coated in the same PPG eggshell clear as the exterior. It’s not a wide-angle lens showing you the inside of the bed. New reproduction LMC wheelhouses were widened four inches to provide the needed clearance for the narrowed 9-inch rear axle and super wide Forgeline wheels.
Forgeline Motorsports is one of the leading custom wheel manufacturers in the automotive aftermarket. Custom 19-inch three-piece forged wheels were spec’d out by James, who signed off on the RBC3 style inners, combined with the brushed and clear coated outer hoops, and grey inner hoops. These modular wheels are lightweight and true racecar technology. Fronts are 19×10-inch, rears are and extra wide 19×13-inch. The front rubber measures in at 295/35/19s and rears are 345/30/19s. Brakes are Brembo 14.5-inch rotors with 6-piston calipers on all four corners and bring this truck to a halt in short order.
The body side moldings are brushed with 180 grit, then clearcoated. The door handles have been changed to “Kindigit Customs” spoon style door handles that ae flush to the body, but still give the nostalgic feel of door handles without the funky electronic solenoids usually associated with saved doorhandles.
Jumping Right In
TMI Products provided the low-back seats and trick door trim panels. The seats are set back several inches, and the floor has been stretched 6 inches to accommodate James’ frame and give good driver seating position and visibility. The low back seats don’t restrict rear vision, and are color-matched to the exterior colors with blue inserts under the grommets in the seats and door panels. Ridetech supplied the 4-point racing harnesses with cam-lock latches for safe travels at speed. The steering column is a brushed stainless tilt unit from IDIDIT.
TriWorks Hot Rods took over the truck from metal and primer work and brought it to the finish line putting in thousands of hours on all of the fine details in just a few months’ time. Brian Finch of Brian Finch Hot Rods bent the bolt-in safety hoop that doubles as a seat belt bar, cleanly crossing over just below the rear glass without sacrificing any visibility. The road-race style door bars are Finch-build, using Ridetech Tiger cage stainless steel clamps for toe board mounts and rear hoop mounts. This is brushed metal with clearcoat for a cool industrial look. The steering wheel is an off the shelf Budnik 14-inch wheel that was almost an exact color match to the grey accents all over this truck.