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1969 Chevy C10- Texas LoHorn

How a Neglected Build Got Back on the Horse

Phil Gordon
Jun 5, 2019
They say everything is bigger in Texas, which meant in order to stand out Carlos Zapata needed to go bigger than anything he had ever done. Born and raised in Dallas, Carlos was part of a migrant worker family that did a lot of traveling. From picking oranges in Florida to working sugar beets in Idaho, the family used many facets of transportation for their work. At 14, Carlos purchased his first car, an Oldsmobile Toronado, from a flea market. It lasted about as long as you can imagine a flea market car lasting.
It wasn't until Carolos turned 19 that his focus and taste started to turn the corner. He traded a Jeep Cherokee he was driving, along with a payment of $3,000, to a friend who had a '69 Chevy C10 he was in the process of restoring. His friend had done minor additions but ran out of money, and it needed some TLC. Carlos had his mind set on this being his first real build. His first goal was to put the classic truck on the road by rebuilding an LS engine and giving the Chevy some serious horses.
Armed with knowledge from Truckin tech articles, he began his first air-ride setup. Soon, the truck had a proper stance and was ready for the bodywork, so Carlos enlisted Mark Kustomz in Oklahoma City to get him a tailgate and to relocate the handle. Shaving was next on the list, making the C10 smooth by removing the handles, badges, and reflectors. During the build, Carlos bought a brand-new truck and most of his money went toward that, so the Chevy sat in a garage.
In 2009, Carlos was introduced to Carlos Bernal who owned Bernal Auto Designs (BAD) in Dickinson, Texas, and the two decided to completely tear down the Chevy for a big rebuild. Carlos would spend many nights in that shop performing bodywork, including suiciding both doors. A full Porterbuilt kit was ordered along with an Accuair setup. During this time, Carlos was going through a nasty divorce. Once it became final, his finances had run out. The classic truck was once again brought to the garage to sit. He still continued to attend truck shows, but only as a spectator—until he met a crew of guys from Damage Inc. who, along with his new love, Christina, motivated him to get back in gear and proceed with the build.
Photo 2/17   |   1969 Chevy C10 Texas LoHorn Front 3q
Photo 3/17   |   1969 Chevy C10 Texas LoHorn Rear 3q
In 2014, Carlos and Christina were married and the focus was once again on completion. Carlos brought the once-neglected Chevy to Robert Rivera of Rivera Services in Telosico, Texas, for a complete interior overhaul. The next step was perfecting the exterior. Carlos Bernal showed Carlos a Kodiak Brown that instantly stood out, and they decided to spray the entire truck and add graphics down the side to break it up.
Photo 4/17   |   1969 Chevy C10 Texas LoHorn Engine
Photo 5/17   |   1969 Chevy C10 Texas LoHorn Bed
Photo 6/17   |   1969 Chevy C10 Texas LoHorn Wheel
Carlos had a tumultuous journey to build Texas LoHorn, and it definitely came with highs and lows, but he wishes to thank his lovely wife, Christina Zapata, for her motivation to rebuild his Chevy. The couple shares a son, Reyn, who has definitely witnessed the passion and perseverance it took to create one of the cleanest Chevy C10s in all of Texas. Carlos plans to give his son the C10 when he's old enough to drive and carry on the tradition of hard work and dedication.
Photo 7/17   |   1969 Chevy C10 Texas LoHorn Interior
Photo 8/17   |   1969 Chevy C10 Texas LoHorn Interior Steering Wheel
Inside the Build
Year/Make/Model: 1969 Chevy C10
Owner and City/State: Carlos Zapata; Houston, Texas
Club Affiliation: Damage Inc.
Front Suspension: Porterbuilt drop member, one-off upper and lower control arms, Air Lift P3, QA1 shocks
Rear Suspension: Two-link, two Viair compressors, Fab Trans crossmember, QA1 polished shocks all done by Chaotic Rods and Customs in Conroe, Texas
Engine: Cammed, ported, and polished LS 6.0 built by Bernal Auto Designs; 90-degree brake booster; Boyd welding fuel cell; custom exhaust with two-chamber Flowmasters
Transmission: 4180E, two-piece driveshaft from '06 Silverado
Rearend: 10-bolt narrowed with Moser axle
Body/Paint: Custom handbuilt grille molded to fenders; flush-mount windshield and rear window; one-piece electric windows; shaved door handles, tailgate, and badges; suicide doors with jambs to eliminate wires; complete sheetmetal bed; custom bed floor; custom tailgate with flush-mount button; custom bumper brackets; sheetmetal front tubs; bedliner; Modified Kodiak Brown with graphics done by Chaotic Rods and Customs
Interior: Oatmeal German square carpeting, modified fox body Mustang seats wrapped in Dark Mocha with Sand Shell accent Ultra leather, suede headliner all done by Rivera Services in Telosico, Texas, Lokar 24-inch shifter
Stereo: iPad head unit, Sound Manca setup, two JL Audio 6.5-inch components, one JL Audio 13TW5v2-2 shallow-mount subwoofer in center console, one JX1000/1D 1,000-watt RMS monoblock, and one JX400/4D
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 22x8.5, 24x12; US Mags Templar, concaved max lip, black spike lug nuts
Tires: 255/30R22, 305/30R24; Sunny SN
Special Thanks: Christina Zapata; children Mandy, Sophia, and Reyn; Carlos Bernal; Josh Coleman; Damage Inc; Chaotic Rods and Customs; Rivera Services; Frank Rebolloso at Custom Car Audio; Angel Torres at Bulletproof; Chris Vogt at MHT-US Mags Dallas