Custom 1968 Chevrolet C-10 Classic Truck - Lemon Drop
The Next Generation
What is it that separates the custom truck show-stoppers from the show-floppers? It's the builder's commitment to a creative concept, design, quality craftsmanship, and attention to detail. Custom truck enthusiasts are continuously raising the bar to the next level of perfection and this '68 Chevy is another great example of that execution.
Lee Milinich, a fourth-generation automotive painter from Hanford, California, executed a family tradition of building quality street rods. His great-grandfather, Bill Milinich, initially opened the family auto body and paint business in the '50s in Porterville, California, where his son (Lee's grandpa Ron) took over the family body and paint business. Then Lee's dad, Lewis, was reshaping wrinkled fenders and spraying color in the '70s until Lee himself applied a firm grip on the family spray gun.
While in junior high school, Lee discovered an abandoned '68 Chevy C-10 pickup alongside a building where it had sat dormant for 15 years. Lee swapped the owner a little green ($150) for the pink slip and his dad trailered it home, where it sat until Lee could save enough money so he and his dad could begin building their father and son project.
When Lee graduated high school the old C-10 was disassembled. He and his dad began another quest together as they began to build Lee's second-generation custom C-10, this time with a greater effort toward perfection, which took four years to complete to his satisfaction. The foundation of any custom ride is its frame. The frame's crossmember was cut and raised 3-1/2 inches, while 2-1/2 inches were trimmed off the bottom of the boxed framerails. All the framerail holes were filled and smoothed. A pair of Belltech 2-1/2-inch drop spindles were used, along with GM '73-'82 disc brakes with 9-inch rotors. The cab floor remained in the stock location, and the transmission and driveshaft tunnel was raised 4 inches, allowing for ample driveline clearance. Mike Scott was responsible for fabricating brackets, installing the Conti Tech pneumatic bags, and plumbing the entire system. A pair of AFCO shocks were bolted to the lower control arms and framerails, dampening the front suspension. The rear suspension uses a four-link, and a Panhard bar eliminates any lateral movement. The Ford 9-inch rearend was sanded smooth, painted silver, and then stuffed with Richmond 4.11 gears and a Detroit Locker posi-unit. Lee's mellow-yellow C-10 rolls on Boze Stinger 22x8-1/2-inch polished billet aluminum wheels wrapped with Nitto 255/30R22 rubber. A 15-gallon aluminum fuel cell was installed between the rear frame-rails behind the rear axle.
Raising the hood exposes an enhanced '71 406ci cast-iron block with four-bolt mains. The cylinders were bored 0.030 over, and the bottom of the block was clearanced to accommodate the longer Scat 5.7 connecting rods linking the TRW 11.1 compression-forged aluminum pistons. A pair of Air Flow Research 210 aluminum cylinder heads were bolted up to the freshly decked block surface, eliminating weight, dissipating heat, and increasing air/fuel flow rate. The engine's heartbeat is determined by a Competition camshaft, 310 degrees duration and 0.520 lift. An MSD coil and MSD billet distributor energize the ignition current through a set of Accell 9mm wire. Ceramic-coated Hedman Hedders direct the burnt exhaust gases from the exhaust ports into the 1-5/8-inch primary tubes, into two 3-inch exhaust pipes, ending into a pair of Spin Tech 2-inch mufflers. A '68 Chevy Turbo 400 automatic transmission was rebuilt with a B&M shift kit, stronger clutch discs, servo, and a modified valve body. An 11-inch B&M torque converter was also installed to handle the 500 hp.
The '68 C-10 body received some creative modifications. The cowl vent and cab seams were welded, ground, and sanded smooth. The rear bumper was removed and then replaced with a weld-in smooth roll pan. The tailgate was welded shut and also ground smooth, along with the stake bedrail holes. Cab driprails, moldings, emblems, and door handles were also shaved smooth. The front bumper was grafted to the fenders, and the lower grille looks like a wrap-around roll pan. The stock headlight eyebrows were eliminated but utilize the factory headlight bezels to house the flat crystalline headlights. The front turn indicators are neatly tucked into the lower grille opening's outer corners. To allow the wheels and tires to tuck up front, the inner fenders were removed. Lee's good buddy Mike Scott raised the bed floor 6 inches and tubbed the rear wheelwells. After all the body mods were completed, the entire skin surface was block sanded, prepped, and primed. Then Lee filled his spray gun and applied the DuPont Custom Yellow. The inner bed floor, wheel tubs, and side panels received multiple coats of Morton spray-in bedliner treatment.
Opening the doors exposes the plush interior with a filled and shaved glovebox and dash. A billet aluminum ball-milled gauge cluster houses the Auto Meter whiteface gauges that continuously transmit the engine's vital signs. The C-10's bench seat, headliner, and door panels were all purchased from Rod Doors; and the crew at Shelton and Anderson Upholstery in Hanford, California, covered everything in gray leather. A polished stainless steel ididit tilt steering column was capped with a Billet Specialties Talladega III 14-inch steering wheel.
Lee would like to thank his dad, Lewis Milinich; Kay Greenlee; Mike Scott; Bob Willhite; and the rest of the team at Milinich Body Shop.
It's a special thing when a father and son fuse their efforts and ideas into a custom, one-of-a-kind project together. The memories of the journey will be shared with Lee's best friend, his dad. You know the grandpas are proud.