A Shop Truck With a Twist

A Shop Truck With a Twist

A Shop Truck With a TwistShop trucks have been around since like, forever. There was a time when their main purpose was to go chase or deliver parts and maybe pick up lunch for the crew. At some point, someone slapped a leftover set of billet wheels on their beater shop truck and a whole new love for these workhorses began.

Now we see them everywhere, from those still enlisted in daily shop duty, to dropped on the ground with a crowd of cameras firing off at SEMA booths. While admittedly cool, most of these shop trucks seem to pop from all-too-similar molds, wearing either mother nature’s handiwork or a good paint guy’s fabricated patina and the ultra-common super-low air bag stance.

With GoodGuys and similar events encouraging true performance, word on the street is now often becoming, “Sure it’s low, but how well does it drive, handle and stop?” Having produced a number of award-winning performance suspension parts and multi-purpose Pro Touring car builds, the owner of Speedtech Performance, Blake Foster, decided it was time to build his own version of a shop truck, something with just a little twist from the norm.

After a barn find beater 1968 C10 was bought and delivered to the Speedtech rod shop, it was clear that not much more than the title was salvageable. A game plan with a few key “must haves” was put in motion including, 1. Speedtech’s famous subtle custom body mods, 2. a modernized interior with all the amenities, 3. a comfortable ride for street cruises, and most of all, 4. in true Pro Touring fashion the truck had to be right at home playing with the well-prepped muscle cars on the autocross and road course.

A Shop Truck With a TwistScrapping every original part but the tailgate and empty cab shell, Classic Industries supplied the rest of the C10’s new sheet metal. During the body’s reassembly, every panel on the truck was reworked with custom touches to meet Blake’s vision for go-to-show quality. The list included a smoothed Marquez front bumper hovering over a functional air dam/splitter, stock replacement grille trim with custom mesh inserts, and body-colour bezels surrounding diamond-cut headlights with integrated turn signals. For an updated look, the hood centre was recessed, drip rails shaved, front and rear glass flush-mounted, and quarter vent windows deleted. Speedtech logo-stamped fenders shaved from emblems and marker lights rise above the functional ground effects that help the truck stick to the road on high-speed excursions.

In the engine bay, the firewall was smoothed and custom fender wells formed. Hidden boxes in the fender wells conceal the engine computer and an enclosed air cleaner with ram-air opening behind the grill. Out back, a custom roll pan and mildly Frenched LED taillights wrap up the custom touches. Wanting the truck to remain fully functional, Foster raised the bed floor and the 4-in. widened wheel tubs to clear the soon-coming raised frame rails. Finishing up the bed is a flush-mount pop-up fuel cap in the left bed rail, and a spray-on liner keeps it all protected. The mile-deep black hue was painted in-house and the white portion of the truck was handled by 3M vinyl wrap, providing protection from high-speed road debris and the occasional rogue autocross cone.

While body work was shaping up in the rod shop, Speedtech’s engineering team wrapped up R&D on a new suspension design specifically intended to outperform anything else available. Blake challenged the crew, “This new street suspension is designed to also lead the pack on track day. If we can prove it works by keeping pace with fully built Pro Touring cars in our wheelbase-challenged, nearly 4,000 lb. honest street driver pickup, it’ll clean house when fitted in Camaros, Novas, and Chevelles.”

A Shop Truck With a TwistThe new “ExtReme” suspension clip got fitted into a pair of CAD-designed, laser-cut and CNC-formed, internally gusseted and jig-welded C10 frame rails. Extra high-clearance, geometry-enhanced tubular control arms support ExtReme forged aluminum tall spindles and custom valved Ridetech adjustable coilovers. A splined sway bar and quick-ratio power rack-and-pinion steering complete the fully tuneable front suspension. Out back, Foster took another turn, equipping the chassis with Speedtech’s successful Torque Arm long arm 3-link style system rather than the typical air-suspended 4-link. When asked why, he said, “We used our Torque Arm for the C10 because it provides incredible handling, avoids the bind inherent in leaf springs and 4-links, rides comfortably and is clean, simple, and easy to install. It just makes sense.” Helping the Torque Arm do the job are Ridetech adjustable coilovers, a billet panhard bar, Speedtech Articulink trailing arms, and a splined sway bar.

Both up front and on the Dutchman-prepped 9-in. Ford rear axle, Baer brakes provide some serious stopping power. Speedtech signature-series billet six-piston calipers grab hard on 14-in.  slotted rotors. Completing the chassis is a Jekyll and Hyde team of wheels and tires; for the street, the C10 rolls on smooth-riding 295/30×19 and 345/30×20 Michelin Pilot Super Sports wrapping 19×10 and 20×12 Forgeline wheels. For handling 150 mph+ road course blasts and tight high-speed autocross turns, 315/35 and 335/30×18 BFG Rival S street stickies roll on 18 x 11 and 18×12 black and red Forgelines.

A Shop Truck With a TwistBlake continues, “I needed it to be obvious this was a street truck that performs like a racer rather than a race truck that looks like a streeter.” To help master that goal, the interior was upgraded with Cipher seats, custom leather-wrapped head liner and door panels, and power windows and locks installed. Surrounding an Ididit steering column are custom-milled billet aluminum dash bezels encasing the stereo, Vintage Air a/c and heater controls and custom Speedhut gauges. The leather upholstered centre console hides a single 12-in. woofer and integrates several components from a late model GMC console, and finally a billet B&M shifter.

The Speedtech race team wanted plenty of super reliable, pump gas power fitted under the hood,  and  Texas Speed & Performance answered the call with a 560-hp LS3 upgraded with Speedtech stainless headers, Speedtech road race oil pan, remote oil filter and cooler, Drive Junky pulley system, custom coil covers and a polished fresh air intake. All this power is channelled through a specially-built Hughes 4L65E automatic.

This complete combination of power and suspension helps this unique shop truck score big across the board. It’s got the cool slammed stance, smoothed body lines, comfortable street driving and full race car handling when it’s time to get the game on. In its first season, the Speedtech C10 dominated autocross truck classes, and throughout the season placed high amongst the faster cars in attendance. After a season of hard flogging and proving what they set out to, the C10 has been retired back to mild-mannered, street driven shop duty to make way for racing Speedtech’s ExtReme muscle-car builds …at least until the next Sunday cruise through the twisty red rock canyon roads of southern Utah.

Categories: Features, Muscle Car Plus