It takes discerning taste to have an eye for the rare, not-often-seen things in the realm of classic trucks. While it’s hard not to jump on the first solid deal that comes your way when looking for a project truck to build, holding out for the exact year/make/model is truly a test of one’s patience and pedigree.
Tommy Angelle of Katy, Texas has always had a love for cars and trucks since he was a kid and has since spent most of his adult life restoring classic vehicles. With the amount of experience Tommy has, and the keen attention to detail that he’s developed over the years, he’s trained himself to only go after the rides on his carefully curated want list.
Now, you may ask how a guy with this kind of narrowed span of interest would find a 1977 C-10 so fascinating? It is a cool truck, yes, but just how special could it be? Here lies the important part of the story where the details make all the difference in the world. “I had always wanted a ’77 C10 for one reason only”, Tommy says with a hint of suspense. “This particular one-year only Squarebody Chevy truck was the only one available with the gold trim and also painted black.” If you didn’t know, well, now you know. It really is the type of thing that only a true aficionado would know and chase after.
And chase that ’77 is exactly what he did. After conducting an in-depth search locally that turned up nothing, Tommy then expanded his sights much broader into national scouting out of the exact truck he was after. “I ended up on eBay, and found what I was looking for, although it was located in Modesto, California, which was almost 2,000 miles away”, Tommy says. “I purchased the truck knowing that at least with it being a West Coast truck, rust issues would be very minimal, which they were thankfully. After arranging shipping to Houston, I was finally able to take a closer look at the truck and begin the tear down process.”
Tommy had some time to think and put together a plan while methodically breaking down his new ’77. He was on the fence of restoring the exterior to look how it would’ve fresh off the lot or straying from that path and take a little artistic freedom to change it up a bit. Obviously, he chose to make things interesting by not repainting the truck solid black and instead went with a two-tone paint scheme. “I feel that the white and black combination makes the truck look different enough without going overboard.”
While the black and white paint sprayed by Master Paint and Body of Houston, TX, does add that custom flair to the C10’s appearance, Tommy knew there was one part of the factory look that wasn’t going anywhere – yep, the gold trim. Mar-K, the same company that manufactures all those awesome bed floor kits, actually has started creating Squarebody molding kits for ’73-’80 models, including a special 1977 anniversary gold edition. The color palette is cool, classic, and fits the Squarebody’s profile perfectly. To finish off the slick, slightly modified façade, Tommy selected a set of 22-inch Budnik wheels that set the look off just right. They’re sporty with a timeless spoke design that just blends so well with his C10’s understated sophistication.
To get the truck sitting right where he wanted it, Tommy opted out of going with ‘bags, and instead ran with Ridetech’s performance lowering system complete with tubular A-arms and coilovers, Wilwood Pro spindles up front, as well as a flip kit at the rear for a low stance with the ability to still carve corners. The factory brakes were substituted for Wilwood braking components for the ultimate in stopping power.
The truck did come equipped with a fresh GM ZZ4 350ci crate engine, even though in the back of his head, Tommy knew how cool a 454 big block would be. “With that engine, the truck would be totally correct with all of the rarest options on a ’77 C10. That would just be the ultimate, but I just couldn’t allow myself to part with the brand-new engine the truck came with. Maybe with time, I’ll have the opportunity to get to throw that 454 into the mix.”
Being the talented hunter that he is, Tommy was able to track down the OEM bucket seats and console that were both original to the ’77. “These were special order items back in the day, so being able to incorporate them into the build just made the project that much more special.” Sublime Heights in Houston handled the upholstery of the seats, as well as the rest of the interior overhaul. The buckets were wrapped with fresh leather skins, as were the dash and original GM door panels for full effect. Since Tommy planned on driving the truck as much as possible, he envisioned having a full sound system to play all his favorite tunes. The crew at Sublime was happy to oblige with a well-rounded audio setup featuring JBL speakers and sub topped off with Rockford Fosgate amps.
There’s definitely more than meets the eye with this super clean Squarebody. It has that slightly tweaked OEM appearance but with a lot going on under the hood, inside the cab, and all throughout the chassis. Even with all that, the real cherry on top of it all is what really makes the truck so special to Tommy in the first place. It’s the strategic collection of bits and pieces of genuine Chevy truck heritage that does it for him. “When it’s all said and done, I think I have built a pretty rare and different ’77 C10”, admits Tommy. “Who knows what’s next for this truck in the future? I’m not looking to make any major changes any time soon, as it came together as well as I could’ve hoped for.”
Tommy Angelle • ‘77 C10
- 2018 GM ZZ4 350 crate engine
- GM alternator, cast aluminum valve covers
and intake manifold
- Holley 650 CFM Street HP carb
- Custom dual air intake
- Moroso wires
- Ultimate mid length headers
- Custom 3-inch exhaust system
- Flowmaster Super 40 muffler
- Various GM Performance Products
dress up accessories
- 1977 Chevy TH-350 trans and 3200 stall torque converter by Circle D Transmission
- Cold Case aluminum radiator
- Stock GM frame
- Ridetech Tubular A-arm, coil-overs and shocks,
rear drop springs
- Ridetech MUSCLEbar sway bars
- Wilwood Pro spindles, 13” disc brakes,
master cylinder and proportioning valve
- Rear end flip kit and frame C-Notch
- Stock GM pedal assembly
- GM 12-bolt rearend
- Original GM fuel tank
- 22×9 and 22×10.5 Budnik Knife wheels
- 265/35/22 and 305/35/22 Lexani LX-20 tires
- Slosh Tubz mild front inner fender tubs
- PPG black and white paint by
Master Paint and Body, Houston, TX
- Mar-K new reproduction gold trim
- Leather-wrapped dash, GM bucket seats
by Sublime Heights, Houston, TX
- Budnik steering wheel
- Rockford Fosgate amps
- JBL speakers and subwoofer