1970 Chevy C10 - Smooth Operator

A '70 Chevy C-10 Powered By An 800HP Duramax Diesel

Jason Sands
Feb 1, 2009
Photographers: Jason Sands
Photo 2/17   |   1970 Chevy C10 left Side Angle
When people see Joe Komaromi cruising the boulevard in his '70 Chevy C-10, they'll probably take a second glance. After all, it is a nice truck, with clean paint, Rally wheels, the right stance, and lots of chrome. They'd probably see the single exhaust and hear the mellow exhaust note and wonder why it has a PPE Power sticker on the back. After all, it doesn't really look fast.
Oh, but it is. You see, Joe Komaromi is the owner of Pacific Performance Engineering, and he's really into hot rod diesels. Where a mellow gas engine once resided, now lies an 800hp 6.6L Duramax diesel. The entire truck, which has been nicely restored, is also built to go fast. Real fast. For starters, the '07 LBZ Duramax engine was set back a whopping 8 inches in order for the vehicle to have a favorable weight distribution at the dragstrip. It must have worked, because Joe relies on a set of stock Chevy coil springs, and there are no signs of sagging due to the extra 300 pounds.
But Joe didn't stop there. A full frame-off restoration was performed on the '70 Chevy. The entire front portion of the frame was boxed for strength, and the rear wheelwells were subtly widened to accommodate 12-inch-wide drag radials. The engine was outfitted with a Dual Fueler from PPE, a Duramaximizer, which controls rail pressure, and a Garrett GT4094 turbocharger. The intercooler is also a PPE piece, and the exhaust was custom built by PPE and features a Bassani muffler. The transmission has its fair share of upgrades too, which include a Sun Coast converter and a PPE Stage IV transmission kit. Tuning was handled by a PPE Hot +2 E.T. tuner, and the entire package was swapped in with PPE's Hot Rod-Marine stand-alone wiring harness. Out back, a Ford 9-inch with Summers Brothers axles and a Detroit Locker handles the diesel's torque.
You'd think Joe would be happy with a good-looking resto-race truck, but there was one more feature he needed to add: drivability. Oftentimes, vehicles such as this are built with no thought toward creature comforts, but that is not the case here. The engine is fitted using factory Duramax rubber mounts to reduce vibration. The shocks and springs are stock, so the truck can still be used to haul parts or for light towing, while a hydroboost brake booster from an '07 Silverado and Wilwood four-wheel disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power. There are no squeaks and rattles as the truck goes down the road, the interior is comfortable, and the dash features helpful and easy-to-read gauges. Joe admits a truck this versatile didn't come cheap. He said he probably has about $40,000 in the buildup-not counting all the labor it took him to get it to this level. But then again, there aren't that many nicely restored 10-second trucks that can also get 30 miles per gallon on the freeway. In fact, we can only think of one. DP
Driving Impressions
We don't know what's wrong with Joe, but for some reason he's into us taking his creations for test drives. "Go ahead, take it around the block, and watch out for cops," Joe said as he tossed us the keys. While trucks that make this kind of power aren't extremely rare, Joe's creation is almost 2,000 pounds lighter than a 3/4- or 1-ton diesel, so it feels lightning fast. Once we had enough fun lighting up the rear tires at 50 mph, we started noticing other things about the truck besides its blinding speed. It rode nice, handled extremely well, and had excellent throttle response. And, detuned a few levels, it didn't smoke at all. This is a truck you could happily drive to work every day that just happens to have, oh, about 800 horsepower.



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