CUMMINS 4BT POWERED ’68 C/10 RESTORATION
WADE FLANNERY’S CUMMINS POWERED 1968 CHEVROLET C/10
Classic Chevrolet C/10 pickup trucks have always been cool rigs (we even have a sister magazine, C/10builder’s guide that is focused solely on C/10 trucks), but so many of the trucks feature a small block or Ls-swap of some kind under the hood along with frame-dragging suspension and 20+ inch billet wheels that cost more than the truck’s original selling price. When Wade Flannery, a 32-year old engineer from Georgetown, Kentucky, set out to build his C/10, he simply wanted a stock-appearing, period-correct truck that looked like the 4BT Cummins belonged in it. As you can see here, he was wildly successful in his build.
Flannery and his friend Clayton Angle attended the 4X4 Jamboree in Indianapolis where he was first exposed to a Cummins 4Bt-powered rig, and just knew he had to build a project with one. Not long after that he found a step van in Terre Haute, Indiana, that served as a potato chip delivery truck and made the trip up to pick it up with Angle. After picking it up they took the delivery truck to Angle’s shop Fusion Metal Fab in Covington, Ohio, where they stripped the body off the chassis with a torch and forklift to reveal the coveted 4BT. Before the amazing paint and bodywork was completed, Flannery’s C/10 project started as a basket case of a truck and progressed along to a satin-black beauty over a period of about nine months. Working from a big pile of various parts and pieces, he built his dream truck. But rather than simply put all the pieces together and make something work, he opted to clean, detail and restore or replace everything on the truck, starting from the frame and working his way up to the body. The prepped and painted chassis received new shocks and additional replacement components through mail order sources, including LMC Truck and Summit Racing, to restore it back to better-than-new condition. In the rear, the factory leaf springs are used to locate the original 1968 12-bolt rear axle. The axle assembly is stuffed with an Eaton differential and 3.08 gear set to put the power to the ground while also giving good economy when driving on the highway. Up front, Flannery upgraded the suspension components to those from a 1971 GM truck with factory coil springs and LMC shocks to control the ride, along with disk brakes for better stopping power. To keep things clean and simple he chose to run white-painted 15-inch steel wheels, with classic Chevy Bowtie dog-dish hubcaps, and wrapped in 265/70R15 Toyo H/T Open-country tires on all four corners.
With the chassis settled, it was time for Flannery to address the drivetrain and place his Cummins into the C/10. With some fabrication he was able to drop the 3.9L Cummins into the frame rails as though it was meant to be there from the factory. The 1995 Cummins engine is mostly stock, but Flannery did make some fuel system upgrades by going to a set of Dynomite Diesel Products +50 HP injectors and BD Diesel fuel pin and governor spring kit in the injection pump, which is fed a steady stream of clean diesel fuel through an Airdog fuel filter and pump system. The Airdog pump draws fuel from a custom aluminum fuel tank that Flannery and Angle fabricated to fit in the rear of the chassis between the frame rails.
The factory turbocharger is retained, but it channels the intake charge through an intercool-
er mounted behind the grille from a 2000 Dodge Ram, while it inhales clean air through a Spectre Performance air filter fitted to the original air intake , which in turn was painted black and treated to hot rod style red pinstriping. On the exhaust side, he used heat wrap on the manifold as well as the MBRP downpipe that feeds the spent gasses along to a 4-inch MBRP exhaust system and through a Dynatech race muffler to tone down the diesel roar in the classic C/10.
Power from the 4BT is channeled through a 47RH Dodge transmission out of a 1995 Dodge truck that hands the power off to the 12-bolt rear axle through a custom driveshaft. The team at Nobles Performance Diesel in Degraff, Ohio, rebuilt the transmission to handle the grunt of the little Cummins, even while towing other trucks, without leaving Flannery stranded on the side of the highway. A Derale transmission cooler is used to keep transmission temperature in check in all situations. The compact but potent drivetrain put 221 hp and 464.4 lb-ft of torque to the wheels on the Thoroughbred Diesel chassis dyno, making the C/10 a potent show, tow and cruise rig if not a tire-burning powerhouse like some of the 5.9L Cummins trucks you are used to seeing.
When the body was reunited with the truck, Flannery turned his attention to the interior and worked with Shane Gamble to reupholster the bench seat in black and red vinyl. He also installed a new factory-style carpet kit, as well as a refinished dash pad and door panels that were both treated to bright red vinyl. To make it easier to get in and out of the standard cab truck he installed an ididit tilt steering column with
integrated shifter for the 47RH and capped it off with a cool Lecarra Mark 4 Supreme 15-inch billet aluminum steering wheel. He installed a selection of Autometer and Isspro gauges in the factory dash cluster to keep an eye on the truck and engine performance including speed, rpm, engine and transmission temperature, boost, EGT and fuel level. The factory radio location in the dash was filled with a Retro Sound classic style radio to allow him to have tunes while cruising down the road. Switches to control transmission overdrive shifting as well as torque converter lockup are installed in a panel under the radio.
The glossy, well-massaged sheet metal of the truck you see here is actually the second incarnation of Flannery’s C/10. He originally painted it a satin black tractor paint that he purchased from Tractor Supply and was enjoying the truck as intended—a low-budget driver with the 4BT making it perfect for cruising around or towing when needed. Then one day, coming home from a truck show with a mini truck in tow, the truck was changed forever in a moment. As Flannery describes it: “A Kamikaze deer jumped off a mountain top and into the truck.” The impact smashed the passenger door and bedside, setting up a lot of repair work for Flannery and the C/10.
To make sure the work was done correctly, he removed the body and sent it out for media blasting to give it a fresh start. Then, after all of
the metal work was finished, Flannery began the seemingly endless process of block-sanding the truck. After getting carried away and taking the metal straightness to a level rarely seen by home builders and hobbyists, he realized he would be doing his hard work an injustice by repainting it in a satin finish. So, Flannery and his fatherin-law Gene Moberly rigged up a makeshift paint booth in Moberly’s pole barn and proceeded to lay on several layers of black and white Axalta paint with flawless precision. After the paint and clear coat were cured he buffed the truck to the deep finish seen here.
Obviously, Flannery built a cool Cummins diesel Chevy C/10 that he can really be proud of, he has won several awards at major events and he is able to enjoy it often. On the road he sees nearly 30 mpg, and around 15 mpg when towing 6,000 pounds. His truck may not be as flashy as some of the trucks we see, but it is a fun driver that looks and drives great, which allows him to take it out on the road any time and place he chooses while proving that sometimes less is more. If you get a chance to check out his C/10 in person we’re sure you will agree—but for now you can learn about it here in print. UDBG
Wade Flannery’s Classic 1968 Chevrolet C/10 is a simply gorgeous machine, with impeccable restoration and paint work to make the truck nearly flawless. The fact that there’s an 8-valve Cummins 4BT lurking under the hood makes this classic ride as close to perfection as we can get.
Lifting the cowl-induction hood reveals a super-clean engine bay that looks like it was factory-equipped with the 3.9L Cummins—only better, with gloss paint and a few custom touches. When he strapped the C/10 down to the dyno at the Thoroughbred Diesel dyno day, the little 3.9L Cummins put down 221 hp and 464.4 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Lurking behind the grille shell is an intercooler plucked from a 2000 Dodge truck to keep the intake charge cool. Note the small motorcycle-style turn signal indicators installed in each side of the lower grille opening, providing a slicker look that the large stock running lights.
The C/10 sits lower than stock, but still at a comfortable height to be driven without worry of scraping. The beautiful black and white paint work was handled by Flannery and his father-in-law in a makeshift paint booth, with stunning results. Flannery relies on an electric fan from Summit Racing to keep the Cummins cool. Also note the polished aluminum tubing used for the upper radiator hose as well as the boost tube. You can also see the tank for the Snow water/meth system mounted in the front corner of the engine bay. It is very hard to get classic sheet metal straight enough to look this good when it’s slathered in black paint. While he was massaging the body, Flannery also removed and filled the cab-mounted fuel filler neck since he was not planning on using the in-cab tank for the build. Looking closer at the engine you can see that Flannery wrapped the exhaust manifold and downpipe in heat wrap to keep underhood temperature down and keep the gloss paint looking great. The Cummins is fed air by the factory turbo, giving plenty of oomph to this classic truck. One of those custom touches is the pinstriped factory air intake from a donor step van, and with a Spectre Performance air filter to deliver clean air and cool looks to the 4-cylinder Cummins.
The two-tone, red-and-black vinyl interior looks like new and really sets the truck off. Clean stitching and installation on the contrasting blackand-red vinyl seat cover and interior components gives this C/10 a great look and comfort at the same time. While maintaining the classic look and lines of the steel dash, Flannery upgraded it with modern gauges from Autometer and Isspro gauges to keep an eye on the Cummins power plant. The Lecarra steering wheel and ididit tilt/shift steering column make it easy to get in and out of the truck, shift the transmission and keep it pointed in the right direction. He also installed a Retro Sound classic-style head unit for tunes while he’s cruising down the road. From below you can see that the Cummins engine fits perfectly within the confines of the Chevy C/10 chassis. The truck has a good ride and improved braking thanks to the front IFS components from a 1971 GM truck, complete with disc brakes. The C/10 rolls on Toyo H/T Open-country 265/70R15 tires wrapped around classic Chevy 15-inch steel wheels with dog-dish Bowtie hubcaps. Notice how the steel cowl-induction hood gives the truck an added dimension to the profile without screaming “hot rod”!
Toyo H/T Open-country tires are wrapped around a set of 15-inch “steelies” in the rear to match the front, right down to the dog-dish hubcap. Lowering the tailgate reveals the clean bed complete with Line-x spray-in bedliner to protect the sheet metal. The aluminum access door in the rear of the bed is to access the fuel filler neck for the rear-mounted fuel tank beneath the bed. Flannery did a great job on the tailgate too, with smooth body work and a great twotone, back-and-white finish to match the cab. As you peek under the rear of the truck you can see the 4-inch MBRP exhaust system, along with the polished stainless steel 5-inch diameter tip and the custom-fabricated aluminum fuel tank nestled between the frame rails. Also note the Class IV hitch mount that Flannery puts to use towing other rigs to and from shows and events from time to time. Flannery mounted a battery on each side of the truck in stainless steel drop-down mounts, as seen here on the driver’s side where you can also see the Airdog fuel pump and filter system mounted on the inside of the frame rail near the leaf spring mount. This beauty looks just as good from the rear as it does from any other angle. The clean lines, slick paint and slight rake combine to make a driver than anyone would be happy to cruise down the boulevard. Even after the deer strike Flannery isn’t afraid to drive and enjoy his beautiful creation.