One For The Ages: Double C Chevy 1971 C10 Pickup

 

Chris Chandler’s custom 1971 Chevy C10, super clean, LS-swapped, and ready for auto-cross

Just because you want to build the perfect high-performance pickup doesn’t mean it is going to happen the first time around. For one particular C10 guy, it took five tries to get it right. Yes, you heard correctly. This is the 5th 1971 Chevrolet C10 to be owned by one man. A man who set out with the goal of building a show quality truck that could auto-cross with the best of them, and who ultimately succeeded in completing his quest.

Former European sports car engineering manager, Chris Chandler, tells us that his hyper-focus from day one was balancing function and form. “I wanted to design and construct something that would handle very well, brake very well, and have a linear powerband that would be responsive and easy to drive fast,” Chandler tells us. “A vehicle that would not only feel good, and inspire confidence, but might surprise most exotic car owners, have modern comforts, and [still] be a reliable daily driver.”

So in September of 2017, Chris purchased a No Limit C10 chassis, kicking-off an intense 18 month build. At the time, the truck was still being driven regularly, so it was not until January of 2018 that the pickup was stripped down for what many consider to be a flawless overhaul.

Over the course of the next 18 months, chassis and drivetrain parts were purchased, built, and/or installed. This stint in the shop also saw sheet-metal work, including firewall, cab floor, and bed floor fabrication. Emerging from its cocoon for the first time in July of 2019, Chris’ freshly minted C10 pickup immediately began to garner attention, both in person and via social media, and for damn good reason.

An acute attention to detail and flawless execution points can be found from bumper-to-bumper on this Chevy C10. It’s the sort of build that makes you realize that the more you look, the more you see, giving further support to Chris’ claim that “Very little was designed or fabricated before being thought through.”

There’s a reason behind Chris’ uncanny attention to detail and ability to turn what many consider to be mundane components into conversation pieces. Over the course of the past 30 years, Chris Chandler has built numerous custom automobiles, both for work, and for himself. While GM vehicles have always remained in heavy rotation, all of those years of working for a BMW tuning company as an engineering manager had given Chris a unique perspective.

All of those decades of race track experience, both as a driver and as an instructor, have given Chris and his latest Chevy C10 one hell of a solid backbone. Meanwhile, the knowledge gained from serving as a race team crew chief and automotive prototype fabricator has gifted this pickup with levels of perfectionism that go well beyond obsessive.

Build pretty much complete, Chris tells us that he plans to prep the truck for auto-cross action in 2020, starting with a final round of engine calibrations in order to optimize peak power and drivability. He also plans on sorting out the rest of the chassis in the hopes of achieving an even greater balance between power and handling and braking. Down the line, you can also expect to see things like front end weight reduction measures for improved distribution, and some front-end aerodynamic goodies for additional grip.

One portion of this C10 build that caught our eye was the use of products by Ultimate Headers, which have long been a go-to for people conducting LS and LT swaps. When asked about his take on these products, Chris Chandler had this to say:

“When I contacted Ultimate Headers, I found out the owner was an old friend from a previous company that had made headers for many European vehicles, including BMW’s of which I had previously purchased,” Chris explains. “After talking with the owner of Ultimate Headers and understanding the build quality (321 Stainless Steel, cast upper tube with less than a 1 diameter bend radius, 360-degree sealing clamps at collector, etc.) I knew this would be the perfect performing header for my build.”

From finding the perfect performing header setup for his super clean, track-oriented ’71 Chevy C10, to having the gumption to drive the finished product on the street regularly, Chris Chandler’s LS3-powered pickup gets high marks for all the right reasons. Still not sure why we like this Chevy C10 so much? Check out the build sheet below, as it will tell you everything you need to know.

No Limit Pro-Tech 1971 Chevy C10 Chassis

Drivetrain

Engine: LS3 w/ modified internals for 7300 RPM and 575hp
Cylinder Heads: Stock
Fuel Injector: Stock
Intake Manifold: Stock
Camshaft: LSM Custom Grind
Valve Covers: Holley, Tall
Air Cleaner: Custom Fabricated
Ignition: Stock
ECU: GM 525hp w/ custom calibration
Radiator: C&R Radiator w/ integrated Oil and Power Steering Cooler
Fan: SPAL Dual electric
Headers: Ultimate Long Tube w/ Ceramic Black Coating
Exhaust: 3-inch custom stainless steel
Mufflers: Flowmaster, then modified to fit 3” tubing
Gas Tank: No Limit 19-gallon fuel tank
Transmission: T56 Magnum (close ratio)
Clutch: Ram Dual Disc
Shifter: Bowler Transmission
Rearend / Ratio: Ford 9” / 4.10:1

Suspension

Front Suspension: No Limit Pro-Tech chassis w/ Ride Tech dampers, Speedway Swaybars
Rear Suspension: No Limit Pro-Tech chassis w/ Ride Tech dampers, Speedway Swaybars
BRAKESFront Brakes: C6 Z06 w/ Individual Jamar Master Cylinder
Rear Brakes: C6 Z06 w/ Individual Jamar Master Cylinder

Wheels And Tires

Front Wheels: Forgeline GA3 19”x10”
Rear Wheels: Forgeline GA3 19”x12”
Front Tires: Michelin Super Sport 295/35ZR19
Rear Tires: Michelin Super Sport 345/30ZR19
Steering: Rack and Pinion

Exterior

Style: 1971 Chevy C10 Short Wide
Modifications: Custom firewall, filled – antenna holes, bed stakes, fuel filler, marker lights and removed trim/emblems
Fenders: Stock – marker lights filled, trim and emblems removed
Hood: Stock
Headlights / Taillights: Truck Lite LED’s / Dakota Digital LED’s with Fesler Billet Lens and Bezels
Windows: Stock
Grille: Stock
Bumpers: Smoothed Chrome Front and Rear
Paint: Black w/ White roof
Bed: Partially Raised stock floor, widened Wheel tubs and coated w/ Line X

Interior

Dashboard: Stock
Gauges: Classic Instruments
Steering Wheel: Momo
Steering Column: Ididit w/ Tilt
Pedals: Square One Vintage w/ integrated balance bar for master cylinders
Seats: Stock Buckets w/ stock center console
Upholstery Material / Color: Black and White Houndstooth
Upholsterer: Wardell Interiors and Tops
Seatbelts: Morris Classic Concepts, 3 point
Carpet / Color: Custom German Loop / Black
Air Conditioning: Vintage Air
Sound System: Retro Sound Head Unit, with Custom Sub-Woofer with Amp and Hertz component Speakers
Wiring: Custom Built for Truck Complete

About the author

Micah Wright

Raised on LEGOs by grandfathers who insisted on fixing everything themselves, Micah has been a petrolhead in training since age four. His favorite past times include craft beer, strong cigars, fast cars, and culinary creativity in all of its forms.
Read My Articles

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