Brian Vowell was just like every red-blooded American boy when he was younger. He was into girls, MTV, hot rods, and race cars. You know, the usual stuff kids think about when they should be paying attention to school work. As he got a little older, race cars and hot rods became not only a reality, but a way of life for him. Drag racing was in his blood and Brian spent his spare time making 1/4-mile passes at drag strips around the Southwest and building the kind of cars he used to draw pictures of in his school notebooks.
His childhood aspirations didn’t stop at just race cars, though. Brian had the entire operation planned out, right down to the tow vehicle. But not just any old truck or toter would make the grade. As he puts it, “I always wanted a crew cab squarebody dually that laid flat on the ground and could haul a trailer.”
Flash forward a few years and we find a slightly more mature Mr. Vowell. One evening, while taking a break from his night shift gig of sweeping the floors at Tre 5 Customs, he pulled out his trusty potato phone and hopped on Craigslist to scour the ads with hopes of finding some good deals. After a few minutes of scrolling, the bells and whistles started going off. There it was – the biggest of big – a 1974 C30 dually crew cab for sale in Colorado. He knew immediately that this would be the perfect starting point for making his tow rig dreams come true.
When he got home from his shift, he could barely wait to call the phone number in the ad. His sweaty hand clenched that little tater phone tightly while he dialed the number. The Craigslister answered, and the conversation ensued…
BV: “Hi, this is Brian. I want to buy your dually.”
BV: “I’ll be there in about 10 hours to pick it up.”
Craigslister: “Whatever you say, boss.”
Just like that, Brian darted out the door with his piggy bank in one hand and a Rand McNally Road Atlas in the other, and hit the road to the Silver State.
Immediately upon his return, he began to tear down the truck. “It was used as a farm truck to haul hay. Colorado is dry and the C30 had been relatively well cared for throughout its life, so it was in decent shape to start with.” As Brian tells us, “I stripped the truck down myself and took the chassis to Nate at Porterbuilt to have him build a full air bagged chassis for me. Nate owed me some trade work, so it wasn’t a rush job in the beginning.” Time marched on and Brian began to get the itch to pull the C30 off the back burner. “After a few years of waiting, I put the pressure on Nate to get the chassis finished so he knocked it out and got it done for me.”
“As soon as the chassis was ready at Porterbuilt, I picked it up and took it to Tre 5 Customs to get the build started.” Jeremy Rice and his crew at Tre 5 were tasked with stuffing the massive, compound turbo 12 valve Cummins diesel engine and Allison A1000 transmission into the chassis and under the crew cab’s floorboards. Not an easy task, but the team managed to fit everything, including the huge intercooler and over zealous Entropy cooling system, into the confines of a truck that was never intended to have anything more than a big block Chevy and Turbo 400 trans under the hood. Jason Bowman over at Big 10 Garage assembled the big 5.9L engine and the guys at Tre 5 finished off the layout with the two turbos, Steed Speed manifold, and associated plumbing and fab work. The trans was built and prepped by Copperhead Diesel Performance and utilizes a billet torque converter from the folks at Destroked. To feed the beast, dual saddle tanks with 70 gallons of total capacity were constructed and a FASS pump and filter sends fuel to the engine.
Steve Yiu at Elevated Design put together the stunning interior with four Snowden bucket seats. A Stinger 10” screen head unit in the center console, Morel component speakers, and JL Audio subwoofers and amps provide the entertainment, while Vibro Solutions sound deadener and a Restomod Air system keep the cabin quiet and comfy. Dakota Digital HDX gauges with a custom diesel tach monitor all of the drivetrain functions and look tight in the dash wrapped by the one and only DBomb_53.
Outside, the body remains fairly close to original. The rear fenders have been made taller to accommodate the new ride height and Michaels Truck Works wheels. Inside the bed, front and rear storage compartments have been integrated along with a built-in gooseneck hitch. Spray-in liner makes the bed fully functional with no fear of scratching or damage. A 2.5” receiver hitch is hidden behind the rear license plate in case Brian wants to haul a bumper pull trailer.
Frank Rechlin at Ikandy Paintworks was tapped to finish the bodywork and lay down the stunning custom blue and pearl white paint.
As if the finished truck wasn’t dreamy enough, Brian and his wife Mikki were asked to bring the C30 to the 2022 SEMA Show for its official debut. The perfect cherry on top for a kid with big aspirations.
BRIAN VOWELL • ‘74 C30
- ‘92 Cummins 12V 5.9L
- Compound turbo system by Tre 5 Customs
- Modified Steed Speed exhaust manifold
- Serpentine accessory drive system from All American Billet
- Keating billet aluminum valve cover
- Custom oval and round 5” stainless steel exhaust system by Tre 5 Customs
- Allison A1000 transmission built by Copperhead Diesel Performance
- Destroked billet torque converter
- Porterbuilt Fab chassis
- Built-in gooseneck hitch
- 2.5” receiver hitch hidden behind rear license plate
- Accuair eLevel air management with one 5-gallon Endo tank and one 5-gallon Endo VT tank
- Dual Viair 485C compressors
- Dana 70 rear axle with 3.70 ring & pinion, narrowed by Tre 5
- Moser axles
- Parallel 4-link rear suspension with watts link
- Airlift 2600 air bags
- QA1 single adjustable shocks
- Western Chassis OBS 3/4-ton drop spindles
- Rack & pinion steering
- Baer Remaster master cylinder with CPP Hydroboost
- Baer proportioning valve
- Squarebody Syndicate steering column
- Custom fabricated dual saddle fuel tanks with transfer pump and FASS pump and filter
- Michaels Truck Works custom cut 22” wheels with floating center caps
- Delinte tires, 265/35R22 front, 265/40R22 rear
- CVF billet hood hinges
- Custom mixed blue and pearl white paint by Frank Rechlin at Ikandy Paintworks
- United Pacific exterior LED lighting
- United Pacific mirrors with integrated turn signals
- All glass from 48 State Glass company with all new seals and rubber products from Precision Replacement Products
- Stretched dually fenders (higher, but not wider)
- Built-in storage compartments in bed
- Tre 5 tailgate latches and cable kit
- Wrapped dash by DBomb_53 with custom inserts and Restomod vents
- Dakota Digital HDX gauges with custom diesel tach
- Stinger 10” head unit
- JL Audio amplifiers
- Morel 6.5” speakers, front & rear
- Three JL Audio subwoofers mounted in center console, firing down
- Restomod Air climate control system
- GSI Billet steering wheel
- Four Snowden seats
- Vibro Solutions sound deadener throughout cab
- One-piece fiberglass headliner by Erin Ruddy at Ruddy Made
- Interior upholstery by Steve Yiu at Elevated Design