El Jefe: Transformation of a ’65 Chevy C10

The Force is Strong with This One

Inspiration for truck builds can come from the strangest places. For Eric Larosa, inspiration came from the sleek appearance of Stormtroopers from Star Wars. The stark contrast of black and white is certainly drastic, yet the colors also somehow complement each other perfectly. We actually think building your truck like a Stormtrooper is a brilliant way of making sure your truck won’t get in an accident—after all, Stormtroopers never hit anything! 

Eric’s C10 before work began was a blank canvas with a fresh 350 engine under the hood.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. In order for Eric to build the truck, he first had to buy the truck. And in order to buy the truck, he had to move clear across the country.

“I’m originally from California, and moved to central Arkansas in 2018,” he says. “I wanted to mesh a little California style with some Southern style. I knew that out here in Arkansas, my style of truck build wasn’t really a thing. I think a lot of the praise it has gotten is exactly [because of] that.”

Some of the bodywork had already been done, and the truck even had a fresh 350 engine and a Turbo 350 transmission…  

BUILDER WANTED

Once Eric had a couple of years to settle into his new surroundings, he started thinking about finally taking on a project as a stress reliever, likely due to the lack of In-N-Outs in Arkansas. His sights locked onto finding a ’64-’66 GM truck, he scoured the Internet far and wide, finally hitting paydirt with a ’65 Chevy C10.

“I purchased the truck in 2020 from a Facebook Marketplace ad,” Eric says. “I was the second person to respond to the ad, and it turned out that I lived right down the road from the seller. I went over that night and made a deal. Since then, the seller and I have become great friends. Not only did I score a truck out of the deal, but the friendship is a huge plus!”

Luckily, the truck already had some things going for it to help motivate Eric to keep pushing forward, even if he eventually took things a whole lot further in the end. Some of the bodywork had already been done, and the truck even had a fresh 350 engine and a Turbo 350 transmission, but finding someone to help achieve his vision was turning out to be quite the challenge.

“I owned this truck for approximately two years before finding someone I meshed with to build it,” he says. “Dozens of phone calls were placed to find a shop to help build it, and I was put on several waiting lists, but the reality was that no one wanted a new project to work on at the time.”

The Air Lift air management system tucks nicely below the bed floor.

ONE AND DONE

It was looking like Eric’s project was going to be on an indefinite hold, but he kept himself busy and continued going to shows, hoping that one day he’d be able to drive his own truck to an event. Last year, though, things finally took a positive turn.

“In April of 2022, I visited the GreenBrier Car Show here in Greenbrier, Arkansas,” Eric says. “Walking around, I came across this heavily fabricated 1948 Desoto. Jerrod Nyland was the builder and the owner of Viking Fabrication in Beebe, Arkansas. After looking at all the custom pieces on his car, I asked him if he could take on another project. Two weeks later, it was on a trailer headed to Beebe. Six trips to Beebe was all it took (along with tons of text messages), and 12 months later El Jefe was revealed at the 13th Annual Cabot High School Car Show in Cabot, Arkansas.”

Yup, things really did happen that quickly! Before he knew it, Eric was rockin’ his ’65 with its fresh air-ride suspension, 20-inch US Mags wheels, Holley Sniper fuel injection, a new leather interior (with super trick magnetic headliner, accents, and door panels), and Nissan Super White paint.

Eric says that his C10 turned out exactly the way he wanted and wouldn’t change a thing, although he’s thinking about picking up another project since this one turned out so well. Will he attempt another Star Wars themed build? You know what we say: Do or do not—there is no try. OK, we stole that.


TRUCK SPECS

Owner 

  • Eric Larosa
  • Greenbrier, AR
  • 1965 Chevy C10

Chassis & Suspension

  • Work by Jerrod Nyland, Viking Fabrication
  • 9-inch step notch
  • CPP drop spindles
  • Air Lift airbags front and rear
  • Belltech shocks front and rear
  • Air Lift 3H/3P air-management system
  • Chevy Monte Carlo rear disc brake conversion
  • Speedway power brake conversion
  • Boyds EFI fuel tank
  • Aeromotive Stealth 340 fuel pump

Wheels & Tires

  • 20×9.5 US Mags Rambler wheels
  • 255/35ZR20 Hercules Raptis R-T5 tires

Engine & Drivetrain

  • 1980 Chevy 350 V-8, built by Cody Ussery
  • Lunati Voodoo camshaft
  • AFR cylinder heads
  • Edelbrock Performer AirGap intake manifold
  • Holley Sniper Stealth EFI system
  • Hedman ceramic-coated headers
  • Black Widow Race Venom 3-inch mufflers
  • Turbo 350 transmission
  • B&M 3,200-rpm stall torque converter

Body & Paint

  • Work by Jerrod Nyland, Viking Fabrication
  • Harley Davidson style LED headlights
  • LED taillights
  • Delmo’s Speed front fenderwells
  • Custom firewall
  • Custom rear wheel tubs
  • Shaved fuel filler, relocated behind taillight
  • Raised bed floor
  • Shaved bed chain brackets
  • Painted Nissan Super White

Interior & Stereo

  • Work by Foster’s Upholstery
  • Snowden bench seat, brown and black leather
  • Magnetic headliner, door panels, and accents
  • Vintage Air SureFit A/C system
  • ididit column shift steering column
  • Forever Sharp steering wheel
  • Dakota Digital VHX gauges
  • Two Brothers stereo head unit
  • Custom speaker box behind seat

 

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