With a 502ci big block, this Chev truck doesn’t just haul parts, it hauls arse.
No matter what profession you are in, no matter how terrible your job, there is usually some form of perk, some kind of a hook-up that gets you through. Sure, cinema attendant might be a terrible occupation, but just think of all that free popcorn. Garbage collector? Start your own second-hand emporium. Even we lowly automotive journalists manage a few sneaky drives in cool cars and receive the best seats at events to make it all worth it.
As one of the directors of V8 performance parts specialist DC Trading, Carl Nixon is in a fairly good position when it comes to perks. Recent years have seen various V8-powered machines roll through his garage, but his latest, a 502 big-block-powered 1966 Chevrolet C10, is one of the best yet.
In The Know
“A friend of ours in Arizona had been building the truck for quite a few years,” Carl explains. “We had been watching the build as it progressed, but eventually, after eight years, the original owner had had enough and decided to sell. At the time it was about 80 per cent completed, I took a good look at the car and decided to buy it ” it was a very high quality build, and all the parts were top of the range. So I picked it up, and got it sent back over to New Zealand where we would finish it with the intention of using it as a work truck for the business.”
Indeed, the Chev is now finished, but as for the idea of putting it to work for the business, well, that never quite came to fruition. “Once it was finished, we just couldn’t bear to use it as a parts hauler, it was just too nice,” Carl admits. “Everything on the car is top quality in terms of both build and parts, I didn’t even want to park it outside, let alone throw engines in the tray.”
Viewing the C10 in person, it’s easy to see why Carl couldn’t bring himself to put the truck to work. The flawless body is coated in a deep metallic blue, greatly improved by the immaculate chrome work, deleted rear bumper and custom rear roll-pan. This Chev is a definite show-quality head turner, not a parts hauler.
502ci Of Quality
Although the truck does look great from the outside, NZV8 is also fairly partial to the vista under the hood. Five hundred and two cubic inches of GM Performance crate motor sits in the chassis rails in the completely de-loomed engine bay, growling away flawlessly as the big Holley race carb sucks air into the high-flowing GM Performance intake manifold and heads.
Inside the big block, GM Performance rods, pistons, crank and aggressive cam all make for an indestructible powerplant that produces upwards of 550 horse. Aeromotive supplies the fuel, while a full MSD 6AL ignition system with Pro Billet distributor, leads and coils provides the spark. Waste gases are extracted through a set of Hooker Super Comp headers and a Magnaflow exhaust, while the entire system is kept cool by a large Be-Cool radiator setup.
Five-fifty is not exactly a weak number when it comes to horsepower, and in order to get each and every one to the wheels, the Chev needs a fairly serious driveline. Backing up the motor is a very slick TH-400 transmission, built by Hughes Performance in the States. The quick-shifting trans runs a Hughes Performance 2500rpm stall converter and a tough limited slip diff at the rear end, all while being kept nice and cool with a remote trans cooler system.
Big Is Good
The C10 is what many would consider overpowered with this power train ” especially considering so little weight hangs over the rear wheels. “It is definitely a very interesting car to drive,” Carl admits. “You really need to be very careful if you want to drive it fast.”
With most of the weight up the front, Carl has tried to alleviate the problem by fitting big 20×10-inch Budnik Teardrop X rims, wrapped in grippy 285/50R20 Goodyear Eagle II rubber. This doesn’t entirely solve the issue, but it looks damn cool regardless.
The big rims hug the fully restored deep blue body thanks to some simple suspension work ” new coils and shocks in the front, and a new lowered trailing-arm system in the rear, complete with an adjustable panhard arm.
Because the truck is not overly heavy, it was decided that huge Wilwood brakes or similar would not be necessary, so new GM discs for the front and drums for the rear were ordered and fitted.
Although there isn’t a whole lot of real estate inside the Chev, the interior was given no less attention than the rest of the car, receiving late-model 2004 Silverado electric bucket seats, a cool Budnik steering wheel on an adjustable ididit steering column and the necessary gauges from Auto Meter. A simple stereo system from Sony was also installed should the 502 somehow not provide enough entertainment.
Since getting the truck completed, VINned, registered, warranted and certified, Carl has only managed 480km in his C10, but those 480km have been some of the best he has driven. “It’s just a lot of fun to drive, and this era of C10 has always appealed to me, so it has been a good experience,” he says. “You tend to see a few earlier Apache trucks around and later ’70s trucks, but very few mid-’60s examples.”
Considering it is simply too nice for a work vehicle, Carl has reluctantly put the Chev up for sale. “I love the truck, but I just don’t use it enough to justify owning it, plus with our other project cars on the go, we really need the workshop space.”
Other projects? We guess some jobs have more perks than others.
1966 Chevrolet C10 SWB pick-up – Specifications
Engine: 502ci (8.2-litre) big block GM Performance Parts crate motor, GM Performance pistons, GM Performance rods, GM Performance crank, GM Performance heads, GM Performance comp cam, GM Performance valve springs, GM Performance roller rockers, Holley 950cfm double pumper race carb, GM Performance intake manifold, Aeromotive fuel pump, Holley fuel regulator, MSD 6AL ignition, MSD Pro Billet distributor, MSD coil, MSD leads, Hooker Super Comp headers, Magnaflow three-inch mufflers, Be Cool radiator, de-loomed engine bay
Driveline: Hughes Performance TH-400 R4 transmission, Hughes Performance 2500 stall converter, remote trans cooler, limited slip differential
Brakes: GM front discs, GM rear drums
Suspension: Standard front coil setup with KYB shocks and heavy-duty springs, lowered trailing arm rear suspension, heavy-duty rear coils, adjustable panhard arm
Wheels/ tyres: 20×10-inch Budnik Teardrop X rims, 285/50R20 Goodyear Eagle II tyres
Exterior: Rear roll pan, deleted rear bumper, PPG metallic blue paint
Interior: 2003 Chev Silverado electric bucket seats, Budnik steering wheel, Auto Meter gauges, ididit steering column/shifter
ICE: Kenwood MP3 player, Sony speakers
Performance: 500hp (373kW)
Carl Nixon – Owner Profile
Occupation: Director at DC Trading
Previously owned cars: ’69 Camaro, ’67 Camaro, Torana SS, LJ Toranas, GTR XU1 Torana, SS Commodores, Chev trucks
Dream car: New Camaro
Owned: One year
Carl thanks: Dave at DC Trading, Rob Unkovich, Mark Stokes, Jason Adams
Words: Peter Kelly Photos: Adam Croy