Trevor Evans’ 416 CI LS-Swapped 1985 C10 Is A Burnout Machine

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When most people see an old truck sitting out in a field, their immediate thought is probably something along the lines of, “look at that old, worthless truck cluttering up that piece of land.” But when gear heads see something in a field, they see vast amounts of potential for reasons that may seem— at the least— eccentric to those outside the hobby. Trevor Evans, however, just so happens to be one of those gear heads that saw a 1985 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe C10 pickup truck sitting in a field and thought to himself, “that thing could be awesome.”

Trevor tracked down the previous owner’s daughter and made her an offer. She was hesitant to sell the truck as it had previously been her father’s, who passed away several years previously. Trevor told her to let him know if she ever decided to part ways with it. The next day, he received a call.

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“She called me and told me that she was willing to sell the truck for $1,000,” Trevor said. “When I got there, she signed the title over and then handed me $200 back and told me, ‘take good care of it.’”

Trevor, now the proud owner of a 305-powered ’85 Chevy C10, set to work to get the old girl firing on all eight. Luckily, all Trevor had to do was swap in a new battery and it sputtered to life after sitting in a field for more than four years.

He brought it home and cleaned it up. Amazingly, there was almost no rust on the truck; even the factory undercoating was still intact and Trevor tells us that all he had to do was wipe it down and it was as shiny as the day it rolled of the line— amazing considering the truck served ranch duties for serval decades before being put out to pasture— literally. The truck’s body, to this very day, is untouched from how he found it in that field.

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Trevor drove the truck for a couple of weeks before getting the itch to lower it. At first, he tried the old school tricks of cutting the springs, but decided that lowering springs and spindles were the better way to go and installed a kit from Belltech.

After he lowered it, though, he decided it also needed more power. The 305 was removed in favor of a hopped up 383 he had laying around the shop after it was removed from another project car. Trevor’s dad was, and still is, a prolific drag racer and together they run their own shop called Hot Rod Hollow.

The stock 700r4 transmission gave up the ghost almost as soon as the motor was bolted to the bellhousing. It was pulled out and replaced as well.

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“The built 700 lasted a while,” Trevor said. “It grenaded— it literally blew the transmission pan off the bottom of the trans— about six months later behind that 383.”

After the transmission was rebuilt for the second time, Trevor decided to upgrade the rear end. He found a Curry 9-inch rear end, originally built for a similar ’87 pickup, for $800— ironically the same price he paid for the entire truck. After the drivetrain was taken care of, Trevor drove it for a while and took it to car shows. The 383 that was in the truck was noticed by one of the spectators who offered him a substantial amount of money for it. Trevor decided right there to part ways with the motor and build an LS— they pulled out the gen-I small-block that same night.

Trevor, now on the hunt for an LS drivetrain, turned to Retro LSX. Luckily, they had an LY6 backed by a 4L80E out of an 2009 Express van with 80,000 miles on it laying around. $3,500 later, Trevor was on his way home with the entire drivetrain.

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The first thing he did once the drivetrain was back home was dial up Texas Speed and Performance for a lumpier bumpstick. They recommended their Stage 2 LS3 cam that features 229/236 degrees of duration and .629/.615-inch lift on the intake and exhaust respectively. In preparation for the new cam, the motor was stripped down and the old cam was removed— almost. As they tried to slide the new cam out, two of the cam bearings came with it and blocked the camshaft from being removed. The mill was taken to Johnny Thomas at Thomas Racing Engines, out of Cumming, Georgia, where the cam had to be cut in two in order to remove it.

Two of the lifters were stuck in their bores as well and the cylinder walls were deeply scored. Since the block already need a lot of machine work, the decision to make it a 408 was made. A Callies forged crank was selected and spins Eagle 4340 forged steel H-beam rods. They called up Mahle for pistons but found they were back ordered in the 4.030-inch size needed for several months. Since Trevor hoped to have the truck ready for the Hot Rod Power Tour, the decision was made to go with a bigger, 4.070-inch slug—making the engine a 416.

The stock LS3-style 823 casting heads were rebuilt using the TSP dual valve springs supplied with the cam kit. An LS3 intake manifold handles induction duties and is fed by a stock 90 mm throttle body. Matt Hucks handled all the paint work under the hood, including smoothing the firewall.

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An LS swap kit from BRP Hot Rods was used to attach the LY6 to the ‘85s cross members and 1 7/8-inch primary Hooker headers were used to remove spent exhaust gases. They feed into a custom built three-inch dual exhaust and the truck’s snarl is tamed by dual Magnaflow mufflers which can be bypassed by electric cutouts.

A PSI-sourced wiring harness and computer handle the signaling duties on the truck and a Dakota Digital dash ensures that all vital signs are properly monitored. The mill is backed by the original 4L80, rebuilt by John Tessier who built it to handle the 416’s substantial grunt. A Circle D billet triple disc 3,600 rpm stall converter helps get the truck off the line.

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All computer tuning duties were handled by Lance Disharoon’s LSX Performance.

So far the truck has gone as fast as 12.20 on a 20-inch Nitto 555R drag radial out back, but Trevor thinks the truck has 11s in it for sure. It has also since completed two Power Tours.

“I drive it everywhere, I’ve probably put 15,000 miles on it,” Trevor said. “It’s the first thing I crawl in after I get home from work.”

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
Read My Articles

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