Dino Battilana’s 1974 Stepper is a Superhero Packin’ a Huge Punch
“I really don’t think I’m mature enough to own this truck”, says C10 junkie Dino Battilana. “Even at 60 years old, all I want to do when I drive it is go out and hunt for Mustangs.” We can’t think of anything better to do in a classic pickup equipped with the kind of firepower that has been packed into this Squarebody. It’s an absolute weapon, that’s for sure, but one that took a bit of work to reach the level of lethality it now poses on the streets.
Surely, Dino’s name is a familiar one with his claim to Chevy Only and Git Down fame, but in case you’re meeting him for the first time here, you must know that this gent wouldn’t waste his time with just any ‘ol truck build. “I try not to do the same thing that I’ve already done in the past”, he says. “When it came time to work on this ’74 step side, I already knew that I wanted it to be fast, and it really turned out to be a bullet.”
Before Dino’s Squarebody was able to reach breakneck speed, it first had to be saved from a pal’s project pile. “My friend Sam first bought the truck from someone well known in the truck community, Rene (@C10king), but I was able to pull it from his yard since I was trying hard to track down a decent step side at a good project price.” Condition wise, Dino was only able to salvage the cab and some of the frame, since the rest of the truck was basically unusable. Although Dino was fine with the fact that his latest truck would essentially have to be pieced together from the ground up, the one thing that seemed to trouble him throughout the process was the amount of spiders that infested it. “We found so many Black Widows on this thing. Just when we thought we cleaned them all out, they always seemed to come back. We’re actually still dealing with them.”
With a pretty cool yet accurately descriptive nickname going for it (and Dino NEVER names his vehicles), he began the project by first contacting Seth at Switch Suspension in Mesa, AZ to make some sense out of what to do with the chassis. “I love working on my own trucks, but Seth has been a great resource since he knows his stuff and is a true perfectionist in the best sense. This is the 4th major build he has agreed to work with me on, but he has lowered and altered so many ofmy other rides over the years.” A healthy helping quality suspension component showcases the build in the form of Ride Tech adjustable shocks, Slam Specialties air bags, a Choppin’ Block 4-link and other accessories, and air management goods from Viair and Accuair. With a lot of careful planning, the step side finally had a solid platform to be built off of.
Now that Dino had the ideal adjustable suspension setup in place for his Chevy, the performance side of the project was next to be tackled. “If I wanted to build a truly next level truck, I knew I was going to have to invest some money under the hood.” Naturally, he selected a brand-new crate LS3 and threw an Edelbrock E-Force supercharger on top of it. To round out the go-fast product list, a 3-inch custom exhaust system was fabricated to enhance the sheer power of the engine and selected add-ons of choice. Although the truck now runs fast, Seth at Switch made sure that the LS3 was installed as clean as possible and that all the finishing details were executed with surgical precision.
With a moniker like Black Widow, Dino realized he would have to give the exterior of the truck an equally menacing appearance to match. The color of the truck had obviously already been decided, but instead of coating the surface with traditional paint, a different, more durable option was selected. “I reached out to Pro-Strip, in Mesa, Arizona to powdercoat the entire body”, Dino says. “I wanted the truck to be as tough as it could be, as well as doing something just a little bit different.” LMC Truck provided a new hood (which was then treated to a carbon fiber wrap), grille, front and rear bumpers, and fresh glass to help whip the truck into shape. The modification of note made to the stepside’s body is the bed floor itself, which has been crafted with an hourglass-shaped opening similar to the marking found on its venomous arachnid namesake.
Since Dino had every intention to drive the truck as much as possible, the interior was next to be completely overhauled. The custom bench seating and carpeting was well taken care of by Custom Interior Fab by D-Bomb. The black and gray color coordinating is streamlined yet sharp—the perfect complement to the styling of the rest of the truck. A Cheyenne dash was cleaned up and put into place with Dakota Digital HDX gauges to update the C10’s vital readouts. For tunes, Dino reached out to Jeff James at Connections Audio, in Glendale, AZ to wire up the JL Audio head unit, amps, speakers and sub for an optimum listening experience.
While Dino’s latest C10 build has been wrapped up and broken in, he’s still having a blast ripping around town. “The truck did require lots of labor and planning to get it where it is since it started off in such rough condition, but I had a great team behind the build. I can’t thank them enough”, he adds. This Squarebody lives up to its sinister name—there’s no doubt about that. Its striking stance and rugged exterior demeanor alone are intimidating enough to keep competition at bay, not to mention this thing is fast as hell. The old roached out Chevy is just what Dino had wanted it to be and then some.
Hopefully you had a chance to check Black Widow in all its ominous glory in person at Dino’s Git Down this November in Phoenix. While Covid has proven to be a major force to be reckoned with throughout show season, Dino and crew have stepped up to meet local health regulations to give Chevy lovers a place to congregate safely in 2020.