A drive-any­where, money-green, neck-break­ing street ma­chine


TRUCKS. They’ve been Amer­ica’s work­horse for decades be­ing put through the ringer to get the job done. From haul­ing gear to a job site and pulling wa­ter­craft to the lake on the week­ends to serv­ing as the ve­hi­cle for a lit­tle tail­gate-down star gaz­ing, Amer­ica loves their pickup trucks.

A brand leader in trucks since 1918, Chevro­let has hit the cen­tury mark with of­fer­ing cus­tomers a truck for ev­ery oc­ca­sion. Af­ter 100 years of en­gi­neer­ing, body style changes, driv­e­train changes and re­fine­ment, Chevro­let has main­tained one con­sis­tent thread: sim­plic­ity. Chevro­let Trucks are sim­ple, func­tional and, for the cus­tom truck guy, easy to mod­ify.

In­tro­duced in ’73 with a pro­duc­tion run through ’87, the “square body” Chevy and GMC pick­ups have dom­i­nated the cus­tom truck scene over the last decade. It seems ev­ery time we turn around some­one is build­ing a square body and putting their own twist on the clas­sic chis­eled square lines.

Brian Vow­ell of Mesa, Ari­zona, wanted to get in on the square body ac­tion. His cus­tom or­ange

and white ’72 C10 short bed was get­ting a bit lonely in the garage, so it was time for a room­mate. Brian had al­ways wanted to put to­gether a nice square body C10, and Tino Garza of Max Built Cus­toms in In­dio had the per­fect truck, so they struck a deal and the project was put into frame-lay­ing and rim-stuff­ing mo­tion. The other goal for the project was to tap into the fab skills of Jeremy Rice at Tre5 Cus­toms in Peoria, Ari­zona, to put it all to­gether.

The stock 350/350 combo was yanked out to clear a path for a Porter­built Ex­treme drop mem­ber with Slam Spe­cial­ties SS7 airbags and KYB shocks. Clas­sic Per­for­mance Prod­ucts

2-inch drop spin­dles ac­cept steer­ing com­mands from a Mus­tang II Rack and Pin­ion. A Porter­built Ex­treme rear drop mem­ber kit teamed with Slam Spe­cial­ties airbags gets the haul­ing plat­form in the weeds. For juice and oxy­gen sup­ply, Jeremy built a cus­tom air tank and bat­tery mount fea­tur­ing Vi­air com­pres­sors bolted to the fully pow­der­coated chas­sis. Ac­cuair e-level En­dovt air man­age­ment han­dles sus­pen­sion ad­just­ment to air up slightly for cruis­ing and lay out for show­ing off. For proper steer­ing clear­ance and sus­pen­sion move­ment Tre5 in­stalled a pair of Slosh Tubz front wheel tubs while the stock rear wheel tubs were widened for ex­tra clear­ance. An AZ Pro Per­for­mance disc brake kit with a CPP mas­ter cylin­der and booster plumbed with all stain­less brake lines by Tre5 slows the roll of the 20x8.5-inch front and 20x10-inch rear Delmo Spe­cials mounted on Toyo Proxes ST II P255/40VR20 front and P295/40VR20 rear rub­ber.

For the driv­e­train, Brian wasn’t about to slap the wheezy stock 350 and the worn out three-speed slush box back in. With the sus­pen­sion and chas­sis re­ceiv­ing ex­tra spe­cial at­ten­tion, it was time to put some mod­ern fuel-in­jected power un­der the 41-year-old hood.

A 2003 Chevro­let 5.3-liter LS cou­pled to a 4L65-E was mated up and the whole combo stabbed into a Flat Black engine bay sprayed by Frank Rech­lin at Ikandy Paint Works in Peoria. The engine block was painted Chevy or­ange for a clas­sic look. San­der­son ceramic coated mid-length head­ers with 1 5/8-inch pri­maries kick the oc­tane cock­tails out the door through a cus­tom 3-inch stain­less man­drel bent ex­haust sys­tem built by Tre5 Cus­toms with Magna Flow muf­flers shout­ing out the LS’ me­chan­i­cal mu­sic. Dirty Dingo Mo­tor Mounts kept the mill firmly in its po­si­tion

of power, while Dirty Dingo ac­ces­sory drive kept ev­ery­thing spin­ning freely. A Mod­ern Vin­tage Sys­tems stand-alone wiring har­ness han­dled fuel and spark com­mands to the engine, while a Pain­less Per­for­mance wiring har­ness con­nected the elec­tri­cal dots through­out the rest of the truck. An F Body oil pan en­sured proper clear­ance with the Porter­built gear, while a Grif­fin alu­minum ra­di­a­tor and dual elec­tric fans kept cruis­ing temps in check. Mark Clark at Speed Sports in Chan­dler, Ari­zona, tuned the LS for max­i­mum per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity. A&S Trans­mis­sion in Phoenix fresh­ened up the 4L65E and tossed in a 2000

RPM stall con­verter for good mea­sure. A Sum­mit Rac­ing trans­mis­sion cooler kept the slush box com­fort­able while a cus­tom-built drive­shaft by Kenny at The Gear Shop in Phoenix hooked to the re­built Chevy 12-bolt. For the ul­ti­mate in both tire fryin’ and high­way cruis­ing, the fac­tory 12-bolt was stuffed with an Auburn lim­ited slip and 3.73:1 gears. A cus­tom fuel tank by Boyd Weld­ing ware­housed the cruis­ing juice.

Since Brian al­ways planned for this truck to be a fun driver, he skipped the paint and body and left the fac­tory paint, patina and char­ac­ter in­tact. This way all of the sus­pen­sion and per­for­mance good­ies could be en­joyed with­out the fear of rock chips and road rash.

A cus­tom yet some­what fac­tory-look­ing in­te­rior was on the build docket, so Brian or­dered up a brown and tan two-tone ul­tra-leather cov­ered split bench from TMI Prod­ucts to re­place the tired orig­i­nal cruis­ing plat­form. El­e­vated De­sign in Phoenix up­hol­stered the dash, door pan­els, head­liner and A-pil­lars. Dakota Dig­i­tal “Syn­di­cate Series” gauges re­ported engine vi­tals while a

Retro Sound stereo pro­vides cruis­ing mu­sic. A

CTP Con­cepts Elevel con­troller was mounted in the fac­tory ash tray for quick ad­just­ments and eye sight pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing.

“Ben­jamin” was a fast-paced build go­ing from stocker to shocker in just four short months. Jeremy Rice at Tre5 Cus­toms hit it out of the park with the stance, style and driv­e­train swap. Since the truck’s com­ple­tion, Brian has en­joyed driv­ing it to shows like Dino’s Git Down, Square Body Syn­di­cate Run to the Broth­ers show and var­i­ous trips to the Pomona swamp meet.

“It’s a fun truck to drive that you can take any­where and have a ball with all the time,”

Brian says.

“Ben­jamin” em­bod­ies what the cus­tom truck scene is all about-en­joy­ing cus­tom trucks on the open road with good friends.



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