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Battleship: 1969 Chevy C10

Built to Fight to the End

Phil Gordon
Feb 21, 2019
Photographers: Phil Gordon
Part of what makes the truck culture so unique is the passion behind each build. The recipe that allows the truck community to maintain such a high level of success can be attributed to the stories behind each custom truck project. One such story comes in the form of a life-battling disease that catapulted a stock C10 to greatness. Lonnie Thompson of Carolina Kustoms in Portland, Oregon, first opened his shop in 2001 with his brother John. A customer brought in a ’68 Chevy C10, but with all the custom additions he wanted, he couldn’t afford the bill and ended up selling the classic to Lonnie and his brother.
Photo 2/13   |   Battleship 1969 Chevy C10 Rear
While the brothers were continuing to build the Chevy, John was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and began to deteriorate quickly, eventually losing his battle around Christmas of 2015. Lonnie’s passion began to change, and his motivation to finish the Chevy became even stronger. With the help of his two sons, Dennis and Dakota, the entire frame was stripped and prepared for the PPG Lamborghini Grigio Lynx Metallic paint. Lonnie added a full air-ride suspension using Slam Specialties airbags. During the build, he just kept staring at the front end and thought something was missing. “I just wasn’t feeling the stock ’69 front end,” Lonnie tells Truckin. “I wanted to change it up a bit.” Lonnie contacted his friend Rick at Chevy Metal and got a ’68 front end and mounted it for a nice change.
Photo 3/13   |   Battleship 1969 Chevy C10 Wheel
Although the already sharp and sleek bodylines maintained their factory shape, a number of subtle additions stand out, like the Kindig door handles that sit flush with the doors and the Dakota Digital LED lights with Fesler-built lenses and housings. The one-off marker lights front and back as well as the raised Birdseye maple wood bed floor from Brent at Brentwood Designs are some of the more noticeable additions to the Chevy. For the interior, Lonnie and Jim’s Customs added a black and gray bomber leather seat mixture with ringlet detail that complements the colors of the Chevy. Dakota Digital gauges and a completely hidden Rockford Fosgate audio system finish up the perfectly crafted cabin.
Photo 4/13   |   Battleship 1969 Chevy C10 Interior
The comprehensive build was turning out perfectly, but the one part left untouched to this point was under the hood. Lonnie wanted to create something truly unique, so he found a ’14 6.0L and added LS3 heads. The six-speed automatic transmission was added, but he realized the cam needed to be changed to make it work. With the help of his friend Tom at Wong’s Performance he was able to perform the cam swap to make it run flawlessly.
Photo 5/13   |   Battleship 1969 Chevy C10 Engine
During the build, Lonnie talked to a friend who served in the military and was also suffering from cancer. He told Lonnie they would “fight until it sank,” which gave him a perfect name for the truck. He would name the Chevy C10 Battleship because it was simply built to fight to the very end. As Carolina Kustoms began expanding and Lonnie simply didn’t have time to show the truck and raise awareness for the fight, he passed the torch to Chris Porter from Toy Barn who now travels all over the country showing off the complete build that was created from the heart. Chris maintains a close relationship with Lonnie and loves telling stories about every award Battleship has won.

Inside the Build

Year/Make/Model: ’69 Chevy C10
Owner and City/State: Chris Porter; St. Clairsville, Ohio
Chassis:
Front Suspension: Porterbuilt weld-in crossmember, Porterbuilt control arms, rack and pinion steering, Slam Specialties SS7 bags, McGaughys 2-inch drop spindles, RideTech HQ shocks, Wilwood front six-piston red calipers with 14-inch cross-drilled rotors
Rear Suspension: Accuair I-Level Bluetooth control, Porterbuilt weld-in notch, Porterbuilt trailing arms, Slam Specialties SS7 bags, RideTech HQ shocks, two Air Zenith OB2 compressors, 5-gallon Accuair VT tank, Wilwood rear four-piston red calipers with 13-inch cross-drilled rotors
Drivetrain:
Engine: GM Performance LS3, Speartech LSX engine harness, Wegner Motorsports black-anodized billet accessories, Wegner Motorsports black-anodized billet custom valve covers and coil mounts, MSD ignition coils, Holley EFI midrise intake and fuel rails, Nick Williams 105mm throttle body, Be Cool radiator, twin 12-inch Spal cooling fans, Aeromotive 340 fuel pump, Speed and Performance stainless headers, Magnaflow performance 3-inch stainless mufflers, twin Optima YellowTop batteries
Transmission: 6L90e six-speed auto transmission
Rear end: Yukon gear limited-slip and axles, 3:73 12-bolt rear differential
Body/Paint: Stock floor body drop, PPG Lamborghini Grigio Lynx Metallic paint by Lonnie Thompson, Kindig Design smooth door handles, Dakota Digital LED Fesler Design taillights, custom Birdseye maple raised bed floor, Mar-K side moldings and hidden hardware bed floor, custom flush-mount side marker lights, VanNatta Fab engine compartment filler panels and smooth firewall kit, Boyd custom rear-mount fuel tank, Brothers smoothie bumpers
Interior: Custom bomber leather interior with stainless eyelets, aviation-style seatbelts, Vintage Air surfeit heat and cooling system, Electric Life power window kit, ididit black steering column, Dakota Digital HDX dash, Billet Specialties black-anodized Draft 14-inch billet steering wheel, Lokar column shift cable, Lokar black-anodized billet gas and brake pedals
Stereo: Dynamat sound insulation, Rockford Fosgate power TI two-way components, Rockford Fosgate T1 slim single 12-inch subwoofer, Rockford Fosgate 1,000-watt amplifier
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 20x8, 20x11; American Racing VF482, custom painted
Tires: 245/45R20, 285/40R20; Toyo Proxes
Special Thanks: Thank you to Lonnie Thompson, John Zeulner, Dakota and Dennis Thompson, Brook Allmaras, Tony Alcom, Britney Thompson, Jake Keyes, Mike Purcell, Tom Wong at Wong’s Performance, Jim at Jim’s Customs, PPG, Bob’s Paint Land, Calleen Porter and Megan Patterson for dealing with my truck obsession, and Tim Porter, Marty Green, and again Lonnie for making a winning team and future builds to come.

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