LOW LIFE

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!

NZV8 - - CONTENTS - WORDS: CON­NAL GRACE PHO­TOS: ADAM CROY

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 of the base and back, al­low­ing it to be po­si­tioned as far back as pos­si­ble for max­i­mum leg room. The floor and fire­wall have been cov­ered in Dy­na­mat to min­i­mize heat trans­fer from the tur­bos and keep road noise to a min­i­mum. Mexi-plush

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