JACK RAINBOW’S GROUND-SCRAPING C10 IS NO AVERAGE ROAD-TRIP WAGON — WITH A TWIN-TURBO SMALL BLOCK AND BAGGED ON A CUSTOM CHASSIS, IT’S A WHOLE LOT COOLER!
TWO TURBOS AND LOTS OF LOW
The last time one of Jack Rainbow’s cars was featured in NZV8, the article closed with a premonitory sentence: “With the way the Rainbows build bitchin’ street machines, it probably won’t be the last time you see a Rainbow car here.” That was no editorial gratuity, either; Jack’s bagged ’61 Impala bubbletop, powered by a tough 409ci big block, is about as cool as such a car could get — hardly surprising, given his surname; ‘cool’ is something that comes naturally to the Rainbow family. Jack’s dad, Ian, is widely known as a mechanical wizard and fabricator extraordinaire, and his passion for the art of hot rodding has rubbed off on his son. While Jack’s Impala is undeniably cool, it’s not the kind of car you can chop up in good conscience, and he soon directed his love of car customizing towards his passion for Chev pickups. Jack already had a ’77 Chev C10 in the garage, but the square-body wasn’t his first choice upon which to base a build. A trip to Muscle Car Madness with some of the Trouble Bound crew inspired him to find a ’65 Chev truck. Kiwi expat Squeak Bell managed to find exactly what Jack was after in a local trade magazine. After viewing the truck in its resting place behind a shed in Bakersfield, California, Squeak emailed Jack a few pictures and was quickly given the go-ahead. Not long after that, the long-wheelbase ’65 Chev C10 was packed into a container bound for New Zealand, scheduled to arrive early in October 2011. Jack feared for the worst after hearing news reports that a ship had run aground on the Astrolabe Reef while entering the Port of Tauranga. Fortunately, his C10 arrived safely and he parked it in the shed while he accumulated funds and researched his options for the build.
One thing was certain: it was going to be low. As Jack already had the Art Morrison front clip, AccuAir airbag suspension kit, Tremec TKO 600 gearbox, nine-inch diff, and 20x8-inch Dodge steel wheels, he had a fair idea of just how he wanted the C10 to turn out, and the first step required completely disassembly. The cab’s first stop was to Kylo Leckie for the removal of several rust patches, before it was transported to Dean Coley at Behind the Lines Kustom Pinstriping for a quick blow-over. “I had an issue with how white the truck was,” Jack says. “Everything was white, not a bit of chrome, and, being such a large truck, we nicknamed it ‘the Kelvinator’ [after] the fridge!” Alcohol provided the answer to Jack’s problem of how to break up the vast expanses of white. While sinking a few Lion Red big bots at a place on Pokeno hill, Dean and Jack spotted a green signal light for the Auckland–Hamilton railway, and Jack had a brainwave — that was the colour. Dean came through with ‘Lime Squeezer’, a metal-flake green hue inspired by Ed Roth’s iconic Rat Fink, and the top half of the cab was blasted with it. The effect is undeniably striking, reminiscent of the mildkustom style that just screams cool. The top half sorted, attention was turned to the underpinnings. To ensure that the truck would lay frame when aired out, a year’s worth of weekends, plus the odd evening after work, was spent on the areas that you don’t see. A monster C-notch was grafted into the rear chassis section, along with a four-link and the required bracketry to mount the rear airbag suspension. Up front, it’s an
Art Morrison front clip with tubular A-arms. The whole thing has been set up to sit just millimetres off the ground when the bags are fully aired out. Completion of the chassis allowed the next big step, as engine mock-up could begin. Jack runs a dual-quad 409 in his Impala, and, though it’s got bucketloads of grunt, he was after more — as long as it could be contained beneath the bonnet. Boost was the logical solution, and Jack opted for a pair of Honeywell turbos — rather than a large single turbo — to keep the engine bay symmetrical in appearance. Terry Bowden of Terry’s Chassis Shoppe provided the magic touch in fabricating a pair of headers to fit within the tight engine compartment. Mounting the turbos meant Jack could sort the alloy piping for the frontmount intercooler, as well as a full three-inch exhaust utilizing Adrenalin R mufflers. After that, it was just a case of ensuring the motor would handle the boost. The Dart small block and Brodix alloy heads have been filled with boost-friendly componentry, thanks to Taylor Automotive, while the top end utilizes (EFI) for reliable, efficient power, thanks to a substantial
chunk of the FAST catalogue. Since the motor was tuned at C&M Performance, a peak power figure of 685hp at the wheels has been achieved, although this has been dialled back a fair bit in favour of drivability and longevity. Having the mechanical package sorted meant that Jack could work on fabricating the front and rear wheel tubs. The innovative fabrication comprises rolled sheet steel for the actual tubs and sections of exhaust tubing for radiused edges to provide a clean appearance. There’s a reason the front wheel tubs take up so much engine-bay space: they have been designed to allow full steering lock at a ground-scraping ride height. Once the team at CA Levien Ltd had worked their magic on the chassis, sandblasting it bare and finishing it in black, Jack could get started on final assembly. The cab was reunited with the chassis for the final time, before the long block joined the party. The exhaust manifolds and turbo dump pipes were sent to High Performance Coatings to be ceramic coated, due to the extreme heat they’d be producing in the cramped engine bay. Wiring was sorted by Philip Dean, Jack’s brother-in-law and the new proprietor of Key West Bolt and Supply, and there’s no denying that he’s done an awesome job. “I wanted minimal wiring in the engine bay, so the battery was mounted under the tray and most of the engine management is mounted under the dash,” Jack explains. It isn’t just under the bonnet that Jack has made
THE DART SMALL BLOCK AND BRODIX ALLOY HEADS HAVE BEEN FILLED WITH BOOST-FRIENDLY COMPONENTRY
form and function coexist; the tray also had to be usable — something that is often an afterthought in vehicles like this. Despite the monster C-notch, every available inch of space has been taken advantage of to allow the tray floor to sit at its normal height. That ample space is in stark contrast to the tight packaging beneath it, with air-suspension componentry mounted behind the diff, and the battery and custom fuel tank installed ahead of each rear wheel. You may also note the eyelet rings on the tray inner sides, allowing Jack and his partner Carlene to secure any luggage safely in weatherproof plastic bins — a system that has worked well on their numerous road trips since the truck has been finished. That happy day came around after several missed deadlines caused by the myriad small delays that characterize builds this intensive. The LVVTA sent Jack an early Christmas present at the end of 2016, allowing him to meet his goal of having the truck at Rangiora, Canterbury, for Muscle Car Madness 2017. Since then, Jack’s learned that a low ride height and long rear overhang don’t do the rear bumper any favours — he’s destroyed two in the past six months. A fabricated skid plate should prevent that from happening any more, although Jack is well aware that such issues are just part of driving a vehicle like this to the extent that he does. It may be a while before Jack gets bored with his newest toy, but, when he does … well, with the way the Rainbows build bitchin’ street machines, it probably won’t be the last time you’ll see a Rainbow car here.
The truck was always supposed to be a driver, and this is evident in the interior treatment. Although it may not look too far removed from factory, the bench seat frame has been completely re-engineered by Jack and Carlene, with three inches taken out...