Barrier Breaking C10

When it comes to the automotive hobby, few areas have evolved more in recent years than the classic-truck scene. For decades, vintage American trucks were either seen primarily as workhorses or perhaps a shined-up show piece that would be driven down to the local cruise night or weekend car show. But in the last 5 or 10 years, that has started to change.

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Thanks to a rapidly expanding aftermarket and builders who are more adventurous than ever, vintage trucks have become blank canvases for some truly incredible projects. Whether it’s a Pro Touring build or a full-on track machine, no longer will you get laughed at when you say you want to make an old pickup drive like a sports car—and look the part.

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The annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas is ground zero for this movement, and each year the truck projects get more and more impressive. That brings us to this ’60 Chevrolet C10 pickup that wowed many at the 2017 edition of the SEMA Show.

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Built by Justin Nichols and the crew at Nichols Paint and Fab in Watseka, Illinois, this bright-green Chevy is one of the most radical performance truck builds we've seen yet. To prove it is head and shoulders above other “performance” C10 builds, Nichols will take the truck to compete in the demanding Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. It takes a lot to stand up to those no-barrier hairpin turns and staggering elevation changes; it’s a good thing this truck is made for it.

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Nichols Paint and Fab has been around for 11 years, and the company has lent its talents to everything from custom choppers and hot rods to award-winning show trucks. But Justin says he's always been especially inspired by race cars that have the function to back up their looks.

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Justin had the idea of building a vehicle for Pikes Peak floating around in his head for a while. Once he realized the ’60 Chevy Fleetside truck he had sitting in storage would be a super-cool platform, things progressed quickly. Amazingly, the build was completed in just four months before it debuted in the Matrix Automotive Paints booth at the SEMA Show.

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Thanks to advances in the aftermarket, building an old truck that goes fast and handles great isn't nearly the challenge it used to be. But given that the goal was to run at Pikes Peak, putting this particular truck together was a far more daunting task.

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Not only would the truck need to be reliable and perform on a very high level but it would also need to adhere to all of the rules necessary to run Pikes Peak. Safety would be paramount, and as the truck came together, the massive Pikes Peak rulebook was consulted time and time again.

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Building the beast

The ’60 C10 pickup body sits on a completely custom 2x3 steel chassis with coilover independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering up front. Out back is a custom Watts Link setup with the chassis tubing surrounding a Currie Performance differential with 4.10 gears.

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Tilt up the front end and you'll find a 6.0L LS V8 topped by a Magnuson supercharger, tuned by the legendary Nickey Performance. It's dialed in to make a cool 1,000hp, plenty to get the C10 up the mountain. The transmission is a TKO five-speed manual from American Powertrain.

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Inside, the truck’s interior is all function—as you’d expect a Pikes Peak machine to be. The seating is from Glide Engineering, Dakota Digital gauges keep an eye on the truck's vitals and Vos Upholstery provided the finishing touches.

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As for the body itself, it's all metal and features some unique tricks. The aforementioned tilt front end is all one piece and includes a custom front grille with integrated air intakes. Other functional additions include heat extractors, a steel rear spoiler and a big front splitter.

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Even though the truck has been built from the ground up to be beaten on at Pikes Peak, it also has the ultra-clean appearance of a show truck. There's a strong attention to detail throughout, and everything is accented by a custom paint job that uses a blazing-green custom hue from Matrix Automotive Paints.

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Last but not least, the truck was fitted with one-off Billet Specialties wheels measuring 18x10 inches up front and 18x12 inches in the rear with Nitto NT555 rubber all around. As with the rest of the build, the overall wheel and tire combo is the perfect mix of form and function.

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After the big SEMA debut, the truck returned to Illinois, where Justin has been working on fine-tuning it and getting everything dialed in for Pikes Peak in June. He says there are still a few more minor adjustments it needs before heading to Colorado, but it's just about ready to go. We can't help but be impressed with Justin and all the crew at Nichols Paint and Fab for pushing the boundaries of what a pickup truck can be.

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More importantly, we’re looking forward to seeing this thing in action!

SPECS: ’60 Chevrolet C10 Fleetside Pickup

OWNER Nichols Paint and Fab
HOMETOWN Watseka, Illinois
ENGINE ’02 GM 6.0L V8 prepared by Nickey Performance, including Nickey Stage 2 package and tune; Magnuson supercharger kit with Heartbeat TVS 2300 over driven pulley; Nickey Performance fuel-injection upgrade; Camaro ignition system; Flowmaster 2.5-inch exhaust with Super 10 mufflers, 1,000hp at 6,900 rpm
DRIVETRAIN American Powertrain TKO five-speed manual transmission, QA1 carbon-fiber driveshaft, Currie rear end with 4.10 gears
EXTERIOR Handbuilt one-piece tilt front end; hand-fabricated rollcage to Pikes Peak spec, heat-extracting and cooling vents throughout; handbuilt front splitter and steel rear spoiler; tailgate art by Metal Megan; custom green paint job by Nichols Paint and Fab using Matrix Automotive Paint
INTERIOR Custom dash setup, Glide Engineering seats, custom upholstery by Vos Upholstery, Dakota Digital color-matched race gauges with American Autowire wiring, MOMO steering wheel
SUSPENSION & CHASSIS Custom-built 2x3 steel chassis, independent front suspension with coilover springs, rack-and-pinion steering conversion; Watts link rear suspension; Vari-Shock shocks; Performance Online sway bars; Wilwood brakes and master cylinder
WHEELS Billet Specialties one-off wheels 18x10-inch (front) and 18x12-inch (rear)
TIRES Nitto NT555
SPONSORS Matrix Automotive Paint, Nickey Performance, Magnuson Superchargers, QA1 Driveshafts, Billet Specialties, Wizards Products, Flowmaster, Wilwood, Glass Guy Chicago, MOMO, Performance Online, Dynamat, Currie Enterprises, Dakota Digital, American Powertrain, Vos Upholstery, Jaz Products, Precision Replacement Parts, A&M Mobile DustlessBlasting, Bosman Tools, American Auto Wire, Skullyz Pinstriping, Chassis Works, Glide Engineering

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