The 3-second barrier for a full-size pickup truck has, at long last, fallen, and it has come not from the handful of long-time challengers to the mark competing in various segments of the sport, but from a machine three years in the making and so new the welding torch is still warm.
A former grudge racer who ran around with some of the biggest names in the game, Gainesville, Florida’s Grant Guthrie tasked Jeff and Patrick Miller with assembling the pickup that would usher in his return to the sport after nearly a decade away. For Guthrie, this truck — this transformation — was a dream come true.
“I started racing when I was 16 — I bracket-raced first, then ran in Super Gas, Super Comp, and Stock Eliminator and then went grudge racing ,” Guthrie explains. “I took a break from racing for a few years, and then came back and started building this truck. This was a lifelong dream of mine to build a 1965 C10….I’ve been wanting to do that since I was a teenager.
“When I was a kid, I used to get Super Stock magazine, and every now and then they’d feature a real fast truck,”Guthrie continues. “There was a ’64 Ford F100 with big tires on it they had in there once, and it was really fast. As a teenager, I took the pages out of there and stuck it up on the wall. But I was a Chevy guy, and I learned to drive on a ’65 C10, so I told myself one day I’d have that truck, but in a Chevy version. And it took all these years to do it.”
Call it fate, destiny, or simply luck, Guthrie’s acquisition of the weathered, Indian Red-painted C10 occurred out of happenstance, and it took a promise made to a farmer who prized the Chevrolet iron that had earned him his living for so long to get it.
“I bought from an older gentleman who was a tobacco farmer in Georgia,” Guthrie explains. “I just happened to be driving this long, clay road out near where I hunt and saw it sitting up under the edge of the barn. I immediately turned around and went back. It was just an old patina truck, and I bought it from the guy for $1,000 — he only sold it to me with the stipulation that I didn’t fix it up just to resell it. Those older guys on those farms, they don’t like to give up their trucks…they just park them and get another one. The guy is 86 years old, and I still send him pictures of the progress on it. He just can’t believe it…he shows all of his grandkids and they keep up with it, too.”
Guthrie intended to clean up the then-six cylinder-powered pickup, put new tires on it, add a small-block Chevy, and drive it around. After buying a 383 stroker for it initially, he says “one thing led to another,” resulting in the three-year build that morphed into what you see before you.
Guthrie delivered the pickup to the Millers with the intent of transforming it into a more tame race-truck, with factory steel bed-sides and front fenders and a less potent engine setup. In the end, after changing directions a number of times, it turned into the world-class hauler capable of the kind of numbers it has already put on the boards.
For the Millers, who have built a small handful of trucks in their time, this project posed its own challenges, as composite body panels and windows for such a model did not exist.
“We built a full 25.3-certified tube chassis for it, beginning with the original truck in its entirety. Grant had contracted Gordon Nelson down in Florida to make all of the carbon-fiber doors, bed-sides, and front cap. That stuff is all one-off, custom-made, and we assembled it around the factory steel cab,” Jeff says.
Guthrie now owns the molds for the nose and bed-sides, and says he “doesn’t even want to think about” what the final cost of that undertaking was. The juice was worth the squeeze, however, as he shares the factory steel bed-sides weighed in at 67-pounds apiece, and the carbon-fiber replicas a mere 6.5-pounds. The front end, fully equipped, is 14.5-pounds. All told, the pickup tips the scales at about 2,900-pounds.
In addition to sourcing custom molds for the bodywork, without any drop-in windows for the ’65 on the market, Miller was forced to shape a custom 3/16-inch lexan windshield after the factory OEM glass shattered on its first full run.
There is no shortage of horsepower on tap, as the truck features a BAE Brad5 Hemi paired with twin Precision 106mm turbos. A Hogan’s intake sits atop the mill, with Billet Atomizer 700 lb/hr injectors feeding it fuel from directions provided by a Holley EFI ECU. The spark is provided by individual Holley Smart Coils. The power is backed up by a two-speed M&M Turbo 400 transmission with a ProTorque converter.
Strange Engineering struts up front and QA1 shocks in the rear plant the power. While Jeff says the pickup was built with grudge racing and particularly, the Pro 275 class, in mind, it was sitting on 315 Pro Drag Radials for its barrier-breaking performance on Saturday at the Carolina Dragway.
With Jeff, a veteran of the no-time, Radial versus The World, and Pro 275 ranks at the controls over the weekend, Guthrie’s daily-turned-devilish pickup recorded a best 60-foot of 1.03 and while the 1/8-mile numbers are being withheld for the time being, it did clock a run under 4-seconds to the 1/8-mile, on just its fifth full pass. With that, history was made.
“It was unbelievable, but it didn’t sink in until Monday morning and I woke up and my phone had over 1,200 friend requests, 405 private messages, and the video was all over the internet,” Guthrie says. “People like Andy Mack, my biggest competitor, called and congratulated me. I walked into the local speed shop, there were six guys in there, and they all lined up and started clapping. It’s quite a feat — a lot of people have been working with these trucks for a long time, and have never been in the threes. That was the fifth run, and Patrick doesn’t even have the screws turned up.”
“We’ve got some fish to fry, though,” Guthrie proclaims when asked about the elapsed time. “I’m still a grudge racer, and we’ve got a couple fish to fry, and we just don’t want to tell how deep into the threes it went yet. But we’ll show it real soon.”
“When we get it a little deeper into the threes, he’s going to have to post the full ticket. He wasn’t going to post it when he left the track, because that was the first time he had come up to see it in testing, and he got to see its first 3-second pass. When was heading home, he couldn’t stand it, because there always been this little rivalry between all the truck guys — Chris Cadotto, Bobby Dodrill, Andy Mack, and Ray Morton — on who could go threes first with a full-size truck. And when we did it, he just couldn’t stand not posting it.”
In addition to honoring the wishes of the tobacco farmer that sold him the ’65, Guthrie, a Creek Indian native, is also honoring his tribal roots throughout the project.
“Originally, it was going to be teal green and white, but so many old Chevrolets do that color in a patina paint-job,” Miller shares. “He sent me a picture of this thing when he pulled it out of the barn, and we told him it needs to look just like that. The color is actually called Indian Red, and Grant being Native American, it’s a perfect fit. I saw that photo, and I called him and said, ‘start over, that’s exactly how you need to wrap that truck.’ And it will all flow together — we even shaped the wing side-plates like stop signs so that when it’s wrapped, we can make it look like it was made from old stop signs.”
“I call it an ‘old Indian truck,’ and I don’t think a lot of people know the term behind that,” Guthrie explains. “You see these old trucks on the reservation, they’re all mid-60’s Chevy trucks, and they just call them ‘Indian trucks’…it’s very common. They even make a bumper sticker that says ‘my old Indian truck,’ and it’ll definitely have one of those when we get it wrapped. It’ll have some tribal signs on the sides of the wings and things like that. We’re also going to do the nose extension in rawhide with paintings on it, so it’ll have some cool Indian accents to it.”
Guthrie officially coined the truck Warpath, a name inspired by offshore boats known as Team Warpath that were built by apache Powerboats in the 1080s. Guthrie received approval to use the name, and even gained access to the official font that the painter used on the original boats.
The competition number, 1909, has been Guthrie’s race number since the very beginning, and is an ode to the year that Geronimo, the iconic Apache Indiana native, died.
Guthrie intends to get behind the wheel to get his feet wet in what is by the far the quickest race vehicle he’s ever owned, at some point this season — in the interim, Jeff will continue driving, while Patrick mans the laptop in his attempt to make a brick go fast.
“I had all my stuff with me Saturday night to drive it, but after the six-hour drive up, I made the decision that let’s go for the three with Jeff driving, and so I never did get in it,” explains Guthrie, who has been 4.50s in previous race vehicles, but has no apprehensions about piloting this machine that most certainly exceeds 200 mph in 660-feet.
Grant Guthrie's Barrier-Breaking New 3-Second '65 C10 pickup
Grudge racer Grant Guthrie has teamed with Jeff and Patrick Miller to assemble and tune this insane new '65 C10 pickup that, on its just its fifth full run, became the first full-size pickup into the 3-second zone.Posted by Dragzine.com on Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Which begs the question: can something so aerodynamically-challenged be competitive in a cut-throat class like Pro 275?
“I think it can. Amazingly enough, even though the aerodynamics are horrible, it runs the back-half very quick.”
Win, lose, or draw, though, this farm truck turned 3-second thoroughbred came out precisely as Guthrie envisioned it, and its all the more sweet after waiting 40 years to see it through to reality.
You’ve never seen something like this truck. When it pulls up to the line, other teams that are working on their cars stop to watch it run. I couldn’t be happier with it…it’s exactly what I was looking to do.”