Mark Roppo’s 1968 C10’s Beauty is More Than Meets the Eye
Good things come to those who wait, or so they say. Every project begins with an aspirational idea that is eventually manifested in paint and metal. For Mark Roppo of Puyallup, Washington, inspiration for his gold 1968 C10 came very early in life. Mark’s father had a 1969 C10 that he fondly remembers riding in while growing up. Like any good gear head, the senior Roppo’s truck wasn’t stock, and he loved surprising unsuspecting kids with his hopped-up C10. Mark’s father made sure to share his love of trucks and hot rods with his children. Through the years, Mark and his father both had several projects, but none were ever fully completed. In 2000, Mark’s father was diagnosed with brain cancer, at which point the family came together and made a huge push to finish Mark’s father’s truck. Sadly, he passed away before seeing the truck complete. However, his family’s gesture brought him comfort and happiness in a dark time.
Shortly after his father’s passing, Mark decided to sell the 66 Nova has was working on and begin the search for a truck like his dad’s ‘69. He searched throughout Washington State in hopes of finding the right truck, to no avail. Mark’s son suggested he check out a truck he’d seen near their home, and finally Mark relented. What he found was a fantastic 1968 50th anniversary C10 that was out of his price range. Mark went home dejected, but continued his search. A few months later, during a trip to the grocery store, Mark saw a similar truck in a magazine. On a whim he checked back to see if the aforementioned C10 was still for sale. As luck would have it, the truck was still for sale. Unfortunately, someone had tried to steal it and damaged it in the process. Mark and the now former owners were able to strike a deal, and Mark brought the truck home where it waited in his garage for the next 12 years.
Over that 12-year period, Mark patiently amassed parts with his goal in mind. When the time was right, the truck and parts went off to Wicked Fabrication in Auburn, Washington. The gifted crew at Wicked set about bringing Mark’s dream to life. The chassis is mostly as GM engineers designed it. To achieve the desired attitude, Belltech drop spindles were used up front with airbags at each corner. KYB shocks control the body’s motion. The steering was brought up to modern standards with the addition of a quick ratio steering box and larger anti-sway bars. Upgraded brakes from Wilwood are there to bring things to a halt should the need arise. Mark went with 18-inch Fikse M10 wheels wrapped in sticky Nitto NT555R tires. The fronts are 18×9, while the rears are 18×10 to accommodate the massive 305/45/18 tires.
Fittingly, the engine, the heart of the truck, is a 406-cubic-inch small block that Mark’s father had given him years before for a Nova Mark was building. The engine is topped with Dart heads, and an Ultradyne camshaft controls the valve train. Air enters the motor through a 700cfm Holley carburetor sitting atop an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake. With a 9.54 to 1 compression ratio this motor puts out plenty of power to get Mark down the road, and occasionally surprises unsuspecting victims at a stop light. Behind the motor is a stout 700r4 so that Mark and his wife can enjoy a freeway cruise.
With an excellent base for a fun truck, Mark and Wicked turned their attention to the truck’s body. As luck would have it, the C10 was solid and didn’t require massive rust repair. To clear the rear suspension and exhaust, a trick hinged cover was devised. In addition to providing the needed clearance, it hides the fuel filler neck for the custom stainless fuel tank. It just so happens that Wicked Fabrication is next door to one of the best paint shops in the Northwest: Byers Custom. Byers took care of the necessary prep and doused Mark’s Chevy in Sunray Gold, which contrasts well with the white roof. The effect is stunning, so much so that we’ll forgive Mark for using a Ford color on his Chevy!
The inside of the cab glows gold as well, with rich peanut butter-hued leather covering the seats and door panels. Credit for the interior goes to Tony Miller at Stitches Custom Upholstery of Poulsbo, Washington. While the dash appears mostly stock, there are some sweet surprises hiding. There’s a Rockford Fosgate stereo tucked away in the glovebox to provide tunes when Mark isn’t enjoying the small block V8 soundtrack. A full set of Autometer gauges reside in a custom housing built by the crew at Wicked. In another nod to Mark’s father, there’s a B&M ratchet shifter sitting atop the transmission tunnel.
For any of us, the moment when our finished project finally sees the light of day is an emotional one, more so for Mark as this C10 is not just a truck but a rolling homage to his father. Though Mark’s father is no longer with us, there’s no way he’d be anything but proud. Mark took care of his family and the real big obligations in life, but still had the determination and vision to realize a lifelong dream. Mark couldn’t have done it without the support of his wife through it all, and wanted to make sure to thank her!