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  • 1968 Chevrolet C-10 - Work smart and let the aftermarket simplify the job.

1968 Chevrolet C-10 - Work smart and let the aftermarket simplify the job.

A C-10 Jam Packed With Cutting-Edge Technology

Joe Greeves
Jun 9, 2016
Photographers: Joe Greeves
Some folks are lucky enough to turn their passion into a paycheck. Tom Argue of Tom Argue Designs in Clearwater, Florida, grew up in an automotive family, thanks to his dad, who produced original equipment interiors for Toyota. Initially, Argue began his career in automotive design doing water-transfer printing to produce components that had a carbon-fiber or wood-grain appearance. From there, he progressed to doing an automotive restoration for friends. And from there, it was only natural that Argue would go into business for himself. Currently, Tom Argue Designs has six employees in a 16,000-square-foot building, and he and his team have been specializing in complete restorations and custom builds for the last 11 years. This beautiful ’68 Chevrolet C-10 is his latest, one that actually began with an older Camaro previously built for a customer. The customer was so pleased with the Camaro he contacted Argue to build this C-10. While working on the Camaro, the guidance had been specific. However, on the C-10 with trust already established, the guidance was minimal. Paint it white, make sure there is room for three people up front, create a lockable bed in the rear, and work your magic!
The build came at the right time because Argue was teaming up with Speed Tech Performance in St. George, Utah. The company was actively prototyping a new chassis designed to make an easy DIY upgrade for vintage trucks. The plan was for Argue to complete the custom body and join it to the new chassis in time to showcase the truck for Speed Tech at SEMA. The old C-10 was in rough shape, though. Before work could begin, Argue and the crew decided to source a new cab, rather than trying to repair the ravaged original. Body mods began with raising the bed floor 4 inches to clear the suspension and widening the rear wheel wells 3 inches to accommodate larger tires. Up front, the smooth inner fender panels in the engine room came from Slosh Tubz, which was the first of many timesaving solutions from the aftermarket employed on the old Chevy. The panels looked good, were an easy fit, and became the perfect choice for clearing all the new suspension components. Some changes still had to be done the old-fashioned way, such as shaved drip rails, a custom front valence and subtle splitter, a smooth rear pan, and a modified aluminum tonneau cover from LazerLite. Bumpers were removed front and rear, and modern Marquez LED taillights replaced the originals. Sylvania 7-inch Zevo LED headlights have a distinctive look and turn night into day. The team painted the truck in a bright PPG Porsche Carrera White base coat and clear coat with Tungsten Satin accents on the hood, grille, portions of the cab, tailgate, and centers of the wheels. The oak planks in the bed were stained to accent the Tungsten and single-pane side glass eliminated the original vent windows.
Photo 2/15   |   03 1968 Chevrolet C 10
They finished the work on the body just in time for the arrival of the new Speed Tech prototype chassis. Designed to be an easy, do-it-yourself installation that transforms an old C-10 into something right at home on a modern autocross, the reinforced rails hold a torque arm rear connected to a 9-inch Ford (3.90 gears and 31-spline axles). Tubular A-arms are used up front, and all four corners are stabilized with Viking coilovers. Guaranteed modern stopping power is assured by Wilwood 13-inch drilled and slotted rotors squeezed by six-piston calipers. Getting the chassis rolling are Forgeline MS3C forged wheels that combine a concave profile with a recessed 15-spoke design, 20 by 10 up front and 20 by 12 in the rear. Michelin Pilot Sport rubber, 295/30R20 up front and 335/35R20 in the rear, ensures a sticky contact patch. With just a few modifications, the new chassis easily connected to the old cab.
At this point, all the rolling chassis needed was motivation. With the SEMA deadline looming, the aftermarket came to the rescue again—GM’s Connect and Cruise crate powertrain system. These factory engineered engine and transmission combinations include the electronic control module, all wiring harnesses, and other key components, greatly simplifying the installation process and making it a great alternative when time is short. The team dropped the 525hp LS3 V-8, and 4L65E electronic four-speed automatic into the new Speed Tech chassis, giving the half-century old pickup a healthy dose of new millennium acceleration. The list of carefully chosen performance upgrades includes the Vintage Air Front Runner pulley system, K&N Cold Air kit, and headers from Speed Tech that connect to a custom 3-inch stainless exhaust fabricated by Argue Designs. The Stainless Works mufflers created a hot performance rumble, while the PRC radiator and pair of SPAL electric fans kept everything else cool. The engine room itself is a thing of beauty with smooth, white Slosh Tubz blending into the equally smooth firewall. White accents were added to the intake plenum, GM Performance valve covers, cold-air tube, and brake booster, contrasting beautifully with the Matador Red sprayed on the engine block. Adding to the sanitary look, the coil packs were relocated out of sight to the frame rails.
Photo 3/15   |   04 1968 Chevrolet C 10
Moving inside, this old Chevy reveals lots of unexpected surprises. The ’08 Silverado power seats came with a fold-down center jump seat. It was re upholstered using Katzkin leather with hounds-tooth inserts in the seats, door panels, and headliner. The dash was modified to accept the double DIN Pioneer head unit, Vintage Air control knobs, and power-window switches. Because the customer did not want a column or floor shift, the C-10 features a high-tech MasterShift push-button transmission. On the right side of the instrument cluster, a large engine Start/Stop button gets the motor running and a tap on the smaller silver button just to the left puts the transmission in Park. Below the big button are three more activating Reverse, Neutral, and Drive. On the left side of the dash, next to the headlight switch, is the control button that activates the Twist Machine paddle shifters on the Flaming River column and flat-bottom wheel. Custom pedal pads add to the competition flavor. Thanks to sound deadening throughout the cab, the Pioneer audiovisual system adds to the entertainment on long-distance trips. The AVH-X4600BT Mix Trax head unit, complete with 7-inch WVGA monitor, controls a rear-mounted JL Audio XD700, five-channel amp, 10-inch sub woofer, and 6.5-inch separated component sets in the kick panels.
The subtle body mods, quick and easy powertrain installation, and custom interior were the perfect way to showcase the new Speed Tech Performance chassis at SEMA. The prototype chassis, updated with just a few refinements as a result of additional testing, is now in production, making it easy for builders to achieve modern handling in their vintage rides. Long live the aftermarket!
Photo 4/15   |   07 1968 Chevrolet C 10
Inside the Build
Year/Make/Model: 1968 Chevy C-10 Short Bed
Owner and City/State: Built by Tom Argue Designs; Clearwater, Florida
CHASSIS:
Complete Speed Tech chassis
Front Suspension: Speed Tech Performance upper and lower tubular A-arms
Rear Suspension: Speed Tech Performance torque tubes
Shocks: Viking Coilovers
Brakes: 13-inch Wilwood
DRIVETRAIN
Engine: 525hp LS3 V-8, Vintage Air Front Runner, K&N cold-air system, Stainless Works mufflers
Transmission: 4L65E four-speed automatic
Rear end: Ford 9 inch, 3.90 gears
BODY
Shaved drip rails, custom front and rear pans, bumpers removed, oak bed floor raised 4 inches, LED taillights and headlights, custom front valance with splitter, Slosh Tubz, PPG White accented with Tungsten Satin, sprayed by Tom Argue Designs
INTERIOR:
Silverado power seats, Katzkin leather with hounds tooth inserts on the seats, door panels, and headliner, custom dash with pushbutton transmission, Flaming River Steering column, Vintage Air, paddle shifters.
Stereo: Pioneer Mix Trax audiovisual system with 7-inch monitor, rear-mounted JL Audio amplifier and 10-inch sub with 6.5-inch separated component sets in the kick panels.
WHEELS AND TIRES:
Wheels: 20x10, 20x12; Forgeline MS3C
Tires: 295/30R20, 335/35R20; Michelin Pilot Sport
Special Thanks:
Tom Argue Design staff

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