California Clean: Slammed, Spotless ’68 Chevy C10 Shortbed
Sometimes we’re introduced to new terms and vernacular we had no idea were a thing. “Cali Clean” is one of them, but the sentiment of keeping things looking sharp and streamlined here on the West Coast is a familiar sight to see. The low, luxurious look never gets old and won’t be going out or style any time soon (if ever), which is why this particular take on automotive styling has become prevalent in regions worldwide. But although its reach spans the globe wherever customs of all types are being built, the place where the tidy trend was born and bred is still the leading hot spot for fresh, clean street machines being unleashed onto the boulevards.
This particular ’68 C10 started life up on the western coast of Canada (Victoria, British Columbia to be exact). It had been customized out there and shortly sold when it was done to a resident of Northern California. After some time there, the truck went up for sale again, and was shortly picked up by Ruben Pina of Anaheim Hills—a Southern California city where it has been since. Ruben is no stranger to the West Coast truck style, since he grew up in the SoCal mini truck scene. “I used to own a Mazda B2000 on air shocks back in the day,” he says. “I’ve been into trucks for 30 years now, and in that time I’ve really narrowed down the look and style of custom pickups that really catch my eye.”
Experience Level Up
With so much experience building trucks over the years, Ruben learned some valuable lessons along the way that he was quick to apply to his new C10. “I’ve built all sorts of vehicles, and having to wait on shops only to have to go to wait on other shops, totally sucks”, he said with distaste. “I wanted a truck that already had a solid foundation that I could enjoy cruising while adding my own touches on my own time.” Now, that’s a plan we can get behind, and even with the Chevy being in as good of custom condition as anyone could expect, it still needed some small things here and there to get it to meet Ruben’s standards. “Everything that the truck required was easily fixed or replaced to get it dialed in.”
Ruben’s C10 was tweaked to cruising perfection, and he’s had a chance to network with a ton of likeminded C10 fanatics, which as really been the best part for him. “The people in the C10 scene I’ve met since I’ve had the truck, and those at local ‘cars ‘n coffee’ type get-togethers as well as larger car shows have all been great when stopping by to ask about the project”, he says. “I can honestly say that I have come away from this experience with new friends and talented contacts in the industry that actually make the parts that make the restoration/customization of these classic Chevy trucks possible.”
While it may sound like this story might be coming to an abrupt ending, Ruben’s work is far from finished. He has taken a break from the cruising and is currently in the middle of an exciting rebuild phase. But for now, this truck has PorterBuilt lowering components, Air Lift ‘bags, RideTech shocks, Accuair e-Level air management, a Baer brake package and a set of 20/22-inch US Mags Bonneville wheels with 245/35ZR20 and 295/30ZR22 Nitto NT555 G2 tires. With a setup like that, Ruben’s truck will sit lower, perform better, and attract way more attention than ever before. And with the high-quality, ultra-high performance Nitto NT555 G2 tires, he can rest assured that this truck has stability while cruising on straight roads, traction when he gets on it, and can tackle corners with confidence.
The suspension system isn’t the only portion of the truck that received an overhaul. Ruben selected a 2004 LS to plant underneath the hood, complete with a few add-ons including Brian Tooley Racing pushrods and springs, custom K&N air intake system, Holley Block Hugger headers and a Flowmaster exhaust setup. SoCo Auto in Costa Mesa helped him achieve a more reliable, more powerful engine to take advantage of when the regular cruising mode is reactivated.
Creature comforts inside the cab were also made in the form of a Kenwood head unit, Rockford Fosgate amps, Memphis Audio speakers and two 10-inch Pioneer subwoofers. Ruben plans on spending as much time behind the wheel as possible, and nothing beats the sound of a well-balanced audio system while cruising around town.
While he is mostly doing all the work on his own, Ruben admits that although it is more work involved this way, there is less wasted time since he works at his own pace. “This has been the most challenging part of owning this truck, but also the most rewarding. I am honestly just learning as I get to new stages that I haven’t been hands-on with in the past, and I wouldn’t choose to do it any other way.”