Top Reader’s Ride of the Month
This ’69 Chevrolet C-10 serves as a daily driver to John Szwarc from Utah and claims the title of a one-of-a-kind engine in a clean build. The truck came with a manual transmission, a straight-six engine and not much else. What stands today, however, is a feat of inspiration and determination. John found parts at wrecking yards and in catalogs and assembled everything himself. Originally without a motor, lights, glass, interior, hood hinges, door handles, grille, bumper and more, this Chevy has been built from the bottom up.
A major feature of this build is the Chevy big-block V-8 454 engine mounted in the bed with a turbo 350 coupled to an Ace Champion V-drive in the rear. John had the C-10 for about seven years before the idea for this mod came to life. He’d sourced a V-drive for a drag boat, which sparked the idea that manifested in this custom setup.
The motor was another wrecking yard find, and John quickly got to work rebuilding it. Chrome and aluminum were added to the engine, which features a 1973 oval port, 11:1 pistons, COMP Cams Big Mutha Thumpr cam, Holley 800 Double Pumper carburetor, Edelbrock manifold and highoutput HEI distributor with headers.
John shortened the driveshaft to 13 inches, and the rearend pinion faces toward the rear of the truck as a creative alternative to connecting the parts of this build. This upside-down differential may seem a little crazy, but vigilant upkeep with fluid levels and maintaining watch over the pinion bearing leaves this C-10 in good straits. All throttle and shift linkage has been redesigned to accommodate the unusual setup, resulting in a performance rig that stands out from the crowd. From fabricated mounts to the calculated connections that keep the Chevy alive, no piece was overlooked.
The radiator has remained in the front and dual electric fans help cool the motor. With 1-inch tubes and quarter-threaded pipe, John continues to prove this unique setup works.
Currently calling it “Utah’s only street-legal wheelie truck,” John is right to be proud of his clean custom.