1951 Chevrolet C10 - radbrad51
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About my C10
I acquired my 1951 Chevrolet truck in the summer of 1996 when I was 15 from my uncle by working on his farm. I have spent the last 16 years tinkering on every aspect of the truck and combing the countryside constantly on the lookout for better parts than what I had. During my second year of college in the winter of 2000-2001 I took the body off and rebuilt the entire chassis. Then, having run out of money and know-how, I put the body back on and in this state it sat for another 10 years. Finally, during the winter of 2011-2012, I took the body off again but this time painstakingly restored every panel turning it into the truck I had spent the last 10 years dreaming about. Every inch of the truck was painted using Rust-Oleum rattle-can spray paint. My goal was to keep as many original body parts on the truck as possible as I would rather have original less than perfect parts than cheaply made new parts.
The chassis is still bone stock but this winter I plan to install a 3” drop straight axle on the front. The wheels are from a 2010 Camaro and I had wheel spacer/adapters custom made to bolt them onto the stock hubs. The original brake lines were replaced with stainless steel lines. Every inch of the frame was painted during my low budget build with black rattle can spray paint. I took a front sway bar from a 51’ Chevrolet suburban sitting in a salvage yard and installed it on the front of my truck to help with the body roll. Because the frames of the pickups and suburbans are identical it was a direct bolt on application.
The engine is the part of the truck that I focused on the most. Sticking with the original 6 cylinder 216ci. Engine, I wanted to blend vintage speed equipment with modern technology. The internals are all bone stock but the exterior is all but. I have been collecting parts for the engine since the early 2000’s and custom made many of them myself. The exhaust is completely custom fabricated from industrial SCH 10 stainless steel pipe by myself. The 6 cylinder engine rips through the glass packs and out of the 3” side pipes and is a joy to blast down the road. The original engine came out of the factory with 92hp and with my upgrades it maybe makes 105hp now or about the same amount as a Toyota Prius but power was not my goal, I wanted an engine that looks completely different than anything else on the road.
-Valve Cover – Vintage Wayne finned aluminum valve cover with modern breather.
-Intake – Vintage Edelbrock aluminum dual carb intake.
-Carburetors – Vintage Matching Zenith model 228 Carbs
-Air Cleaner – Hilborn Style finned aluminum to match valve cover.
-Exhaust Manifolds – Stainless Steel split headers from Chevs of the 40’s.
-Exhaust – 2” Stainless Steel SCH 10 industrial pipe. Fabricated by me.
-Mufflers – 2” dual glass pack
-Side pipes – 3” Stainless Steel SCH 10 industrial pipe. Fabricated and polished by me.
-Oil filter – Relocation kit to Firewall, cover is aluminum and finned to match the valve cover.
-Water pump – Stainless steel manifold fabricated by me. 12v booster pump mounted on side of engine and polished and covered to look vintage.
-Fuel Pump – Mechanical style removed and replaced with electric pump.
-Breather – Original breather replaced with intake vented hose.
-Distributor – Modern HEI ignition.
-Radiator – Replaced with aluminum radiator.
-Radiator Fan - Electric pusher radiator fan.
-Harmonic balancer – From a 98 Chev. Monte Carlo to run the serpentine belt.
-Alternator – Modern one wire run off of serpentine belt.
The rear bumper has been replaced with a roll pan. I liked the look of the original tail lights but there were no decent mount brackets on the market for them so I made my own from ¼” aluminum plate and the result was better than I expected it would be. The bed wood is Siberian Elm from my mother’s family farm in North Dakota, the same one the pickup came from. The boards were routed and finished by myself. At the back of the center bed board is the initial of my last name “K”. This was burned into the board using the original branding iron that my great grandfather used on my dad’s family farm. Every piece of the box is original sheet metal including the bed rail strips. Many other subtle touches were made to the box including filling and smoothing as well as adding the curved sheet metal caps at the ends of the bed rails. The last touch was to add a black poly fuel tank to the bed of the box to complement the grunge rod look I am after. The box is painted in red primer from rattle cans.
The cab started out life as a 1949 but I shaved the heater intake vents, left cowl vent and the wipers. The Interior is fairly stock except in the color and a few other changes. The hood was also shaved and the headlights were replaced with a modern style with the blinker integrated into them. The grille is a blend of several original chrome grills that I have collected over the years, It’s not perfect but that was not the point on this build. The inner fenders were left off to open the engine compartment and give it that hot rod feel. The firewall is covered with a sheet of ¼” black corothane plastic. The front roll pan is fiberglass and the entire cab is covered in red primer paint all shot from rattle cans…..lots of rattle cans.
To do List:
This winter I have a few finishing touches to make to the truck. On the exterior I want to drop the front 3” by installing a drop straight axle. The interior will see the most work, I plan to finish it out and clean it up a bit more than it is now. I cracked the windshield while installing it so I plan to replace that this winter also. I am going with a V-butt windshield and using a 54’ window rubber. I also plan to clean up the ends of the bed rails with some polished caps and maybe curve in the bottoms of the stake pockets to eliminate the sharp lines.