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Hot Rod Dually

Hot rods come in all shapes and forms, from the fenderless roadsters of old to just about any four-wheeled vehicle one decides to hop up these days. For Jason Bowman, his hot rod obsession takes the shape of Chevrolet pickups. Building vehicles for others at his shop, Big10Garage, Bowman’s own garage houses a single-turbo, six-speed C10 and this Cummins-powered ’77 C30 dually.

1977 Chevy C30 dually

Growing up, it was Jason’s dad who instigated his gearhead leanings, as well as his passion for C10s. “My dad’s always been a ’72 Cheyenne guy,” Jason says. “I’ve always loved the square front ends of ’69-’72s, but the more I look at them I love ’69-’91s and everything in between. I’m just a Chevy guy.”

Front of 1977 Chevy C30

In a search for Chevy parts on another build, Jason landed in the parts yard of Christian Zeetler. There he found this long-abandoned ’77 C30 that stole his heart. “There was no title, it was filled with wasps, there was no information whatsoever,” he recounts. “I fell in love with the color combination, that rusted metallic is such a weird hue that they just don’t do anything with these days. I had to have it.”

grille of 1977 Chevy C30 dually

Returning home and posting one of his trucks for sale, Bowman was soon scouring Craigslist for a proper powerplant and bringing home the C30. While Chevrolets may be his platform of choice, when it comes to engines, diesel is his jam. Finding a ’97 12-valve 5.9L 6BT Cummins that fit the bill for this build, he had no other choice than to haul it in his bagged C10 short bed turbo truck. Carrying about 1800 lbs extra, since the engine was still on its Dodge subframe, and with bags filled to their limit, Jason and his turbo truck persevered the 20 miles back to his shop at a ride height about 2 inches from the ground. 

big10garage hot rod dually

While you may be shaking your head, we’ve all been there—demanding our hot rods do something they were never intended for. At the end of the day, part of why we love customizing cars is that nobody needs to like it but us. For Jason and his slammed C-series pickups, his opinion is the bottom line. “My daily is a 4WD but I like my hot rods low. It’s always what I go back to,” he explains.

Getting the engine back to his shop, Jason had just four months to get this C30 project built, in addition to “normal” shop work, before he planned to drive it from Phoenix, Arizona to Austin, Texas for the Lone Star Throwdown. Tearing into the 6BT, one of the first things Jason noticed was a JB-welded fix of a killer dowel pin, a common point of havoc for 12-valves. Properly correcting the issue, Jason proceeded to strengthen the drivetrain further with 60 lb valve springs, 4000 rpm governor springs, an AFC housing, fuel plate modification and Fass lift pump.

Cummins 5.9L in 1977 Chevy C30

Transferring power to the wheels is a stout NV4500 transmission with a South Bend clutch. Jason’s fix to the 4500’s known 5th-gear failure was to weld the gear itself to the surface of the nut that so often gets stripped off. A no-cost modification, it’s held well so far over the 20,000 miles he’s logged on this setup. With the help of an HE351 turbo, this slammed C30 makes a conservative but fun 300hp and 750 lb-ft of torque.

5.9L Cummins swap in Chevy C30 dually

Since its original dual-tone russet metallic and beige color combo is what Jason first fell in love with, the C30’s exterior was a no-hassle part of the build. To get that dropped stance, however, some work needed to be done. Switch Suspension provided the front 2.5-inch drop spindles, rear flip kit and c-notch. Riding on Bilstein shocks all around, both the front and rear mounts received some custom modifications. The front stock BBC coils have had one coil cut, while the back remains on OE leaf springs.

lowered 1977 Chevy C30

While custom touches grace this truck at multiple points, one of the most noticeable is the custom 22-inch wheels milled at Arclight Fabrication. It’s not often that an individual has the opportunity to custom make their own wheels, but the situation Jason found himself in at Arclight was a bit spectacular.

Arclight fabrication custom wheels

Meeting Aaron Kaufman during a C10 run to Lone Star Throwdown in 2016, the two hit it off and stayed in touch. Leaving Gas Monkey Garage for his own venture and show, Arclight Fabrication and Shifting Gears, respectively, Aaron called up Jason to see if he’d be interested in joining the adventure.

Moving to Texas and joining Aaron’s team, no two days looked alike. One week they’d be building a Semi for racing at Pikes Peak Speedway and the next they’d be prepping a Scout into an unlimited 4400 car to compete in King of the Hammers. “It was a lot of work and a crapload of hours,” recounts Jason, “but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

1977 Chevrolet C30 Dually on Nitto NT420V tires

Of all the other out-there things they built throughout the course of filming, Jason’s wheels happened to be one of the experiments they did in their spare time. With a shop full of tools and an amazing Haas mill to work with, when the team’s go-to designer, Joel, began eyeing the C30 and taking measurements, it wasn’t long before a few designs had been drafted and sample wheel had been cut. “Typically, this size wheel has to be rotated when it’s cut, but since Aaron’s machine was larger, we were able to do an entire wheel in just one shot.” Sure, the finished product may be a pain to clean, but it sure does fit the look of the truck.

Arclight Fabrication Wheels in Nitto NT420V tires

One of the drawbacks of putting a 22-inch wheel on a slammed dually that regularly tows is finding a low-profile tire with the proper load carrying capacity needed. With the recently released Nitto NT420V, Jason had finally found the rubber that fits the bill. “You can just tell that the design and construction of the tire is worlds beyond what else is available,” he explains. “With 55 psi in them, the NT420Vs are straight up-and-down and can carry the load of the truck. Plus, I love the tread pattern.”

NT420V tires on 1977 Chevy Dually

While Jason’s next build plan may go far off into Time Attack racing territory, the well-loved C30 dually enables him to load in the family, hitch up what he’s towing and hit the road. “There’s nothing like the look of a square body with big wheels cruising down the road,” says Jason. “The head turns and thumbs up are good too. I love seeing other people enjoying what I’ve built.”

HARD FACTS

Vehicle: 1977 Chevrolet C30 dually
Owner/Builder: Jason Bowman (@Big10Garage)
Engine: 1997 5.9L 6BT Cummins with a HE351 turbo
Drivetrain: NV4500 transmission, South Bend clutch, Fass lift pump, Magnaflow exhaust, 14-bolt differential, G80 Gov-Lock, 3.21:1 gears, custom 2-piece driveshaft with 1450 u-joints
Suspension: Switch Suspension 2.5-inch drop spindles (front), flip kit and notch (rear); Bilstein shocks (front and rear), custom upper mounts (front), custom Arclight shock brackets (rear)
Body: Original russet metallic and beige factory paint
Wheels: Alcoa 22.5 custom cut to 22-inch, milled by Arclight Fabrication team
Tires: 265/40R22 Nitto NT420V

Click here to see the Arclight "Improbable Scout" and read how Jason Bowman helped on the project.

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