Home Featured Trucks EL PATRON


by Brian Goude

Joe Molina has become a staple in the C10 community. If you’ve been to any of the bigger truck shows around the country, you’ve probably crossed paths with him or his brand, C10 Vatos. And, somewhere around the way, you’ve most likely laid eyes on his sweet ‘76 C10, El Patron.

Joe tells the story well. “This truck was a fun build. Pretty much everyone that worked on the truck or help with the build I consider a friend.” The suspension was one of the first things to get the magic wand treatment. “I picked up a TCI Engineering C10 Pro-Touring front suspension kit, which is an easy bolt-in installation and 82 lbs lighter than stock. I also stepped up to their 4-link rear setup and Ridetech single-adjustable coilovers at all four corners. The install was done over a 3-day weekend at Lil Abner Kustoms with a group of friends helping.”

AZ Pro Performance front and rear big brake kits with slotted and cross drilled rotors with C5 Corvette calipers were next on the list. Master Power Brakes 9” dual diaphragm booster with their 1” bore master cylinder help push the fluid. A set of American Racing VF527 wheels with custom black painted centers fit beautifully over the good looking setup. Fronts measure 22×8.5, with 22×10.5 on the rear.

“The body was in a little worse shape than I had anticipated. After meeting with Dan Hogan from Hogan Built, we discussed the look I was after for the truck and set a game plan.” Joe tells us. “The first thing I had to tackle was rust repair. I contacted Kyle at MetalOx to handle the larger rust spots that are common on these trucks.” 

“Next, I wanted some custom front fender tubs and cover panels so I reached out to Nick at Hubby Chop to knock them out. These gave the engine bay a custom look. Also, we replaced the factory wiper motor with a Detroit Speed unit, which was a great upgrade.”

The paint and body work continued. “El Patron then headed back to Hogan Built for more work. I wanted an original patina look for the truck, so Dan did some light body work, color matched all the rust repair spots and added some white to give it a classic 2 tone look. They also did a did a color-matched bedliner and finished off the truck with a satin clear. The body wears the trim it came with along with some custom El Patron fender badges from Rad Machining to finish off the look.”

But it didn’t end there. “The interior is a mix of old and new. I wanted year-round comfort, so we ditched the factory AC and replaced it with a Vintage Air unit. Factory gauges were replaced with Dakota Digital RTX cluster. I wanted some tunes, but wanted to keep it small and simple. I used a Kenwood KAC-M1824 4-channel Bluetooth amp, and the control head is hidden in ashtray along with USB charging ports. Clever Crow Fab built kick panels to house 6.5” Kenwoods. The rear speakers are Kenwood 6×9’s housed in LS Fabrication speaker brackets. We also rewired the truck using a Painless body harness and battery relocation kit. A GSI battery bracket is used to Mount an Optima battery in the rear of the truck.” 

 A TMI Products bench and dash pad were used as the base of the interior in a brown vinyl and blue/white plaid cloth.  Then the truck was taken to Daniel at Bell Upholstery for new carpet and to wrap interior panels and do a matching headliner in same colors as the bench. Wanting to keep the truck sealed up properly they replaced all the factory weather stripping with Precision Replacement Product seals. James at State 48 Glass replaced all the glass and rebuilt the wing windows. 

If you see El Patron at an event, take a closer look. It’s an understated truck that packs a lot of neat details. And we love the fact that it was built with friends. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Extra special thanks to Mrs. C10 Vatos for always putting up with the late nights (your C10 is next) Mike Pruett at Vintage Motors Mesa, AZ, Grinder TV, Brett Oakes, Chris Stafford, Lil Abner Kustoms, Howard W, Dave M., American Racing, TCI Engineering, Painless Performance, Precision Replacement Parts, Hedman Hedders, All American Billet, Dakota Digital, Detroit Speed, Switch Suspension, AZ Pro Performance, Puma Lighting, and all of the C10 Vatos amigos who have supported the brand.

JOE MOLINA • ‘76 C10

  • 5.3L LS with 4L60E transmission rebuilt by Vintage Motors AZ 
  • All-American Billet Silverline Series LS front drive
  • Radiator is a Flex-A-Lite LS swap radiator and electric fan assembly
  • Vintage Motors Street cam, valve springs, and cold air intake
  • New factory dual tanks with Spectra fuel pumps, Earls push-loc lines, fittings, and prefilters
  • Hedman LS swap headers
  • 2.5” exhaust system with Magnaflow mufflers
  • PCM tuned by Brad Raph
  • Painless Performance LS swap engine harness
  • Rebuilt factory 12 bolt rear end
  • Factory frame with TCI Engineering C10 Pro-touring front suspension
  • RideTech single adjustable front coil-overs
  • Black powder coated coil springs
  • 1” Performance anti-sway bar
  • 1-1/8” x .156w U.S. DOM steel upper tubular A-arms
  • 1-1/4” x .120w U.S. DOM steel lower tubular A-arms
  • Power rack and pinion steering
  • TCI Engineering rear 4-link suspension
  • Ridetech single adjustable coil-overs
  • AZ Pro Performance front/rear big brake kit with slotted and cross drilled rotors and C5 Corvette calipers
  • Master Power Brakes 9” dual diaphragm booster with 1” bore master cylinder
  • American Racing VF527 with custom black painted centers. 22x8.5, 22x10.5 
  • Toyo Proxes ST 265/35/22 and 285/35/22
  • Body and paint by Hogan Built with rust repair from Metal Ox Fab
  • Front wheel tubs by Nick at Hubby Chop 
  • Detroit Speed wiper motor
  • Color-matched spray-in bedliner
  • Vintage Air climate control
  • Dakota Digital RTX cluster
  • Kenwood KAC-M1824 4 channel Bluetooth amp with control head hidden in ashtray along with USB charging ports
  • Clever Crow Fab kick panels with 6.5” Kenwood speakers
  • Kenwood 6x9 rear speakers housed in LS Fabrication speaker brackets
  • Painless body harness and battery relocation kit
  • GSI battery bracket with Optima battery in the rear frame area
  • TMI Products bench and dash pad
  • New carpet, wrapped interior panels, and matching headliner by Daniel at Bell Upholstery 
  • Precision weather stripping and seals
  • All new glass an rebuilt vent wings by James at State 48 Glass

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More