1963 Chevy C10 - Black Ice

Bob Ryder
Jan 19, 2011
Photographers: John O' Neill, Mike Venegas
This truck may look like a shiny black show truck with big wheels, but there is more to it than on the surface. Chris and Selena Couto from Canyon Country, California, spent five years building their '63 Chevy C10 project. Talking with Chris, he laughed and said, "the truck started out as a $400 investment from the desert in Palmdale, California, and turned into a one-of-a-kind, metal sculptured masterpiece."
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To start the project, Chris teamed up with Cary Iaccino at IF Customs in Sylmar, California. Cary was responsible for designing and building the frame. Constructed from 2x4-inch mild steel tubing, the rails were Z-notched up front and super step notched in the rear. The frame was painted BMW Silver and all the suspension components were powdercoated black. The next step was to sandwich a pair of Belltech 2 1/2-inch drop spindles between the upper and lower control arms and two ContiTech 2600 airbags were teamed up with Rancho 9000 shocks to take care of the front suspension. An '84 Chevy power steering box was installed to assist with directional changes.
A four-bar and Watts linkage was used for the rear suspension that supports the GM 12-bolt rearend. The Vintage Air A/C compressor was used to feed air to the floating suspension system. To do this, 3/8-inch diameter steel air lines were linked to the ContiTech 2600 airbags. All of these changes required a new brake system that started with a CCP Corvette Master Cylinder that feeds the Stainless Steel Brake Company (SSBC) dual-piston calipers. Up front, 13-inch rotors were used and in the rear 11-inch rotors were installed. To complete the suspension modifications, the C10 rolls on a set of chrome 22-inch Detata Siphon wheels that are wrapped in Kumho 265/35R22 rubber. Once the frame and suspension mods were completed, Chris switched his focus to the drivetrain.
Chris knew he needed help to complete this part of the project and he enlisted his friend Jerry Woodside to help build a Chevy 350ci small-block in his garage. Their goal was to safely produce the most torque and horsepower from the engine. The engine block and cylinder heads were sent out to be cleaned and machined while the internal rotating components were precisely balanced in an effort to eliminate any vibration. An Edelbrock Quadra-Jet carburetor was bolted to an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold and to provide cranking power, a Mean Green high-torque starter was used in conjunction with an Optima Yellow Top battery.
Photo 3/12   |   A Chevy 350ci small-block was built with all the right stuff, then wedged between the IF Customs framerails.
To ignite the power and deliver the electrical energy, an MSD coil, distributor, 6A ignition box, and 8mm ignition wires were installed. A set of Enos Components polished billet aluminum pulleys were used to snake the serpentine belt through the pulley system. The engine is exhausted by a pair of Gibson 1 1/2-inch-diameter stainless steel headers that were bolted up to the cylinder heads and flow into a Gibson 3-inch stainless steel exhaust system and Gibson mufflers. A rebuilt 700-R4 automatic transmission was used to transmit gear changes to the 12-bolt rearend, which was stuffed with Richmond 3.73 gears and a posi unit. Now that the drivetrain was built and good to go, the body modifications were next on the list.
While at IF Customs in Sylmar, California, the truck's profile was lowered by chopping the roof 3 1/2 inches. Then Chris delivered his project to the man who knows metal-Bob Grant at Grant Kustoms in Oroville, California. This was where the one-of-a-kind all-steel body mods were performed. Bob started by reskinning the entire bottom half of the truck increasing the body angle from below the horizontal body line. He then fused the cab and bed together, which transformed the '63 C10 into a unique unibody. To complete the lowered profile, Bob decided to remove 2 inches off the rocker panels below the doors. Next, the hood was reshaped and skinned.
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A '70 Chevy hood centersection was molded together with a '68 Chevy hood frontsection and fused to the original '63 hood side. A pair of '60 Chevy Impala front and rear bumpers were frenched into the front valance and rear roll pan. To continue the transformation, the stock bed floor was cut out and re-laid with a step to cover the large step notch of the rear framerails. Hand-sculpted housings were molded to the bedsides creating a Cameo look to house a pair of '59 Cadillac bullet taillights. Chris decided to stop here and to drive and show the truck in bare metal. You may recognize it from its bare metal days where it left everyone awestruck. It was some time before he was ready to tackle the painting of the project.
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When Chris was ready to paint, he started with an interim two-tone yellow and white paint scheme. However, this was not the look that he had envisioned. Next up, he took the truck to RT's Auto body in Gridley, California, for its final "Black Ice" identity. The entire body skin was massaged and then given two coats of primer. The primer was then block-sanded straight and smooth removing every blemish. In the paint booth, the '63 C10 received four coats of DuPont Black. Then the truck was buried in multicoats of clear to enhance the "Black Ice" appearance. After this big step, all that was left to make this truck a real showstopper was to customize the interior.
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Chris chose Dan Miller at Dan Miller's Custom Upholstery in Agoura, California, for this part of the '63 C10 makeover. To eliminate road noise, engine noise, and heat, Dan laid down Dynamat over the entire interior and then installed tan pile-cut carpet. The original bench seat was replaced with a 60/40 split seat from a '98 Tahoe. Dan covered the seat in two-tone beige and tan microfiber. The stock steel dash was left unmolested. A custom machine-turned aluminum gauge insert was filled with VDO Classic white face gauges, and a matching machined-turned aluminum insert was placed on the passenger side of the dash. A chrome ididit tilt steering column was capped with a CPP Classic leather-wrapped steering wheel.
No custom truck project would be complete without the ability to listen to your favorite tunes. Chris knew his wife Selena would want to be able to listen to music while cruising. He went to Soundsation in Newhall, California, and had a crankin' sound system installed. An Eclipse AVN7000 head unit was interfaced with a Kicker KX3 electronic crossover system a Kicker SX900.4 four-channel amplifier and a Kicker SX700.4 four-channel amplifier were added to power the four 8-inch LS7 subwoofers that were mounted in a wooden enclosure hidden behind the seat. A pair of Kicker 6 1/2-inch mids were placed in the kick panels. The entire audio sound system was wired by Marty Lagrastra. Now Chris had a sound system that would please anyone.
After five years and some serious money and hours of hard work, Chris truly had the truck of his dream. If you see "Black Ice" once, you will remember it forever.

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