We caught a glimpse of Austin Stephens’ badass C10 pickup roaring down the strip at the Snowbird Nationals in Florida back in December and knew we had to track him down and find out more, but as our luck would have it, Stephens caught word of our Reader’s Rides feature and sent over a plethora of information and photos on this beast, allowing us to tell its story.
With an all-steel, stock-appearing body and a big blower motor out front — you’d have to be dead to not love this thing! Even you, Ford and Chrysler fans.
Stephens and his father, Andrew, are the proud owners of this ’68 Chevy C10, which was a 15-year side project in the Stephens’ shop that was completed just last summer. Beginning life as a daily-driven ’72 Chevy long bed, the front end was changed to a ’68 model and the long bed cut into a medium-length bed. This was done, according to Austin, in order to center the wheel wells to give it the exact wheelbase of an old Pro Stock Truck.
The exterior of the truck, as we alluded to, is entirely steel, and all told, it tips the scales at just shy of 4,000 lbs. — a lot of weight to get moving, no doubt. That job is handled by an alcohol-gulping 496 cubic inch big block Chevy with machine work from Nelson Competition that’s topped with Brodix aluminum heads, a one-off blower manifold with burst panels, and a BDS 14-71 supercharger that was actually sourced from one of Kenny Bernstein’s former Top Fuel cars. A custom exhaust setup runs through Flowmaster mufflers and dumps out through the bedsides.
“Although the truck has been done for only a year, we’ve come a long way. My father and I had never done mechanical alcohol injection before this, so it was quite a steep learning curve,” Austin states.
Power is transferred via a Turbo 400 built by C.R.T. Transmissions in Clearwater, with a carbon fiber driveshaft from PST working back to a Fab 9 rear end housing with 3:31 gears from Chris Alston’s Chassisworks and onward to the 17 x 33-inch slicks.
Under the stock-appearing exterior is a pure-bred racing machine, sporting a double-framerail 25.3 tube chassis. Interestingly. however, the Stephenses initially planned the truck to be a “badass street car,” and although that plan morphed into what you see here, it still has its factory roll-up windows and complete interior, just as a Pro Street-style machine would. The truck features a Pro Mod four-link rear suspension, with Aerospace dual-caliper brakes and Stroud launcher chutes bringing all that weight to a stop.
For street use, it’s been outfitted with a five-gallon custom alcohol tank up front, with two more five-gallon fuel cells in the bed that feed to the cell up front for the longer trips up and down the road. An aluminum radiator with dual fans remains empty at the track but is used for car shows and other non-racing events to keep the temperatures in check.
The Stephenses estimate the truck to make in the neighborhood of 1,600 horsepower based on weight and elapsed time calculations. The truck has been as quick as 5.33-seconds in the 1/8-mile thus far — which is a mighty accomplishment for such a heavy and aerodynamically-challenge vehicle — and Austin and Andrew have been competing in the 5.50 Index class at events at the Bradenton Motorsports Park near their home in Florida.
“Personally we feel pretty proud that we have gotten it to go as quick as it has weighing 3,900 lbs.,” Austin tells us. “It’s hard to get weight to go fast, especially when it’s shaped like a brick. We can only imagine what we could do if it were a thousand pounds lighter, and although it’s tempting, it would take away from the truck’s “street car” roots.”
Tempting, for sure, but we (and anyone else that’s seen it run) dig this truck just the way it is.