Allen Austin’s Turbo LS-Swapped Classic Chevrolet C10

Typically, when you think of a classic, a perfectly restored car comes to mind…or a tastefully modified American muscle car. However, trucks are gaining popularity, too. The Chevrolet C10 pick-up has been sought after for years now, and they are getting increasingly harder to find. Allen Austin’s 1969 C10 is more than just a classic truck, though. If the classic body lines and killer stance don’t grab your attention, the beautiful Avery Diamond Blue paint will. 

Allen has a sweet spot for C10s; when he and his wife first met, he was driving this exact model truck. Allen was on the lookout for a shop truck for his business, Mean City Cycles. A friend pointed him in the direction of this one, which at the time was all original, down to the factory light blue paint back, in 2014. At first, Allen was pleased with his purchase and had planned to do a few things to make it shop truck-worthy and call it a day, but we all know how that goes. The C10 had some rust bubbling up on the rockers even though it looked suitable for its age. But the rust was only going to get worse, and so Allen decided to perform a full tear down — and that’s when the truth came out. 

Unfortunately Allen’s beloved C10 was covered in body filler, and everything except the cab had to be replaced. A call to Munssey Speed was made, and a carbon-fiber hood, front fenders, and bedsides were ordered. With the body of the C10 back in solid condition, Allen was happy for the time being. The problem was that he grew up around hotrods and drag racing with his father, so naturally, he started toying with the idea of adding some go-fast goodies –and that’s where this extraordinary build starts.

Allen lives in the small town of Maiden, North Carolina. In Maiden, like many other communities across the U.S., gearheads are naturally drawn to one another. Ultimately this is what led Allen to meet Nigel Alexander, the owner of Brutal Speed and Tuning. At first, the C10 remained fairly stock on the outside, but needed a new powerplant. Nigel and his right-hand man, Jon Hedrick, picked up a 5.3-liter LS and a 4l60 out of a 2005 Silverado for a swap. Once cleaned up, the guys added some gaskets and a small camshaft. Allen took it to the drag strip, and immediately knew he wanted more. 

After five years of modifications, we now arrive at the truck’s current state, which is far more than Allen first imagined. But we all know how these “simple builds” can get out of hand in a hurry.

Allen had his sights set on making his C10 fast, street-legal, and of course, it needed to look good. The guys at Brutal Speed and Tuning were happy to help make Allen’s vision a reality. The little 5.3 was retained, but this time it was torn down to ready the mill for boost. The bores in the stock block were machined to 3.800-inches, which would bring the factory cubic inches from 323 to 328. The mains where line-bored and the block was decked for a fresh set of heads. The block was then stuffed with boost-ready goodies from some of the top manufacturers. 

The guys at Brutal Speed started with a crank from Callies, a set of K-1 Technologies rods, and Wiseco 10.0:1 compression ratio boost pistons for the rotating assembly. A call to Brian Tooley Racing (BTR) was made for one of its Stage 3 turbo cams. A set of Trick Flow LSX aluminum 220 heads top off the engine, ensuring the boosted combination can move adequate air. The engine still utilizes the factory 1:7 ratio rockers with the addition of a BTR trunion kit. A GM LSX hotrod oil pan was used along with a Melling oil pump to make sure the engine has plenty of lubrication while making passes down the strip. To fuel Allen’s thirsty boosted LS engine, a set of Fuel Injector Clinic (FIC) 2150cc injectors where used in conjunction with a Magnafuel 750 gpm fuel pump. A Holley Hi-Ram intake along with a Warr Time Racing 102mm throttle body top off the mill. A Forced Inductions S488 turbo was selected to provide boost, while a Tial 50mm blow-off valve and two Tial 38mm wastegates expel pressure. Brutal Speed built the entire turbo system, including the headers, as well as the hot and cold side of the piping. The engine is controlled by a Fueltech FT600, along with all of its trick sensors. On relatively low boost, Allen’s 5.3 pumps out an estimated 1,000 horsepower at the wheels and 800 lb-ft of torque.

Backing the boosted beauty is stage 5 FTI Performance TH400, along with an Ultimate Converter Concepts torque converter. After the power makes it through the robust transmission, it goes through a GM 12-bolt rear end. Of course, the factory axles wouldn’t survive, so a set of Moser Engineering 35-spline axles and spool were used with a 4.10 gear set.

To our surprise, the chassis of the C10 isn’t a cut-up race truck — the factory frame rails are intact. Sky View Racecars supplied a K-member with A-arms for the front, while Brutal Speed took care of the rear with the installation of a panhard bar and an AFCO sway bar. 2JMFab supplied the shocks to help keep the truck planted and give it a solid ride while cruising.

Allen wanted his C10 to look good at the track but also perform well. A call was made to Weld Racing for a set of its 15-inch front runners and bead locked rear V-series wheels. Hoosier rubber went out front while a set of Mickey Thompson 275 drag radials give traction to the rear. Once seated inside the cab, you’ll find gauges used in the factory dash for monitoring the beast, accompanied by black tweed, a 10-point roll cage for safety, and Kirkey Racing Seats.

As you can imagine, Allen loves competing in his truck for many reasons. His favorite is that the C10 stands out in the sea of Fox-body’s, Camaros, G-body’s, and other cars. He races at events like the Carolina No Time Productions series, the 704 Outlaws race, and East Coast Truck Wars. So you might be asking what a full-size truck of this caliber runs? How about a 4.99 at 138 mph in the 1/8-mile, with an incredible 1.19 60-foot time. While this time is fast for nearly any street car, it’s insane to think a full-size street truck is capable of these numbers with a small cubic-inch LS.

There are many people Allen would like to thank, among them Nigel and Jon of Brutal Speed and Tuning, Mussey Speed, and Ultimate Converter Concepts for all of the help and advice along the way.

 

 

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