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Pole Position

by Brian Goude Grinder TV

Jonathan Day’s 1968 C10 is More Than Another Pretty Face on the Dance Floor

I was driving about 30 miles from home on September 20, 2015, (my 18th wedding anniversary) and saw an RV towing a gold ’68 C10. I really liked the color, so I snapped a picture and texted it to a couple friends, joking that I should chase him down and see if he wanted to sell it. The RV turned the same direction as I did on my way home. After a couple more turns, we were only a mile or two from my house and I decided to just follow the truck and talk to the owner. It turns out that the owner was a long time family friend, Al Tunstill. He had just taken it to the Fall Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with intentions on selling it but never made a deal that worked for him. He was on his way home when I spotted him and I bought the truck that afternoon.

The initial plan was to fix some minor rust in the rocker panels, LS swap it, drop it, and roll. I completed all the metal work (inner and outer rockers and inner kick panels) and the air ride install working evenings and weekends in my garage by the early part of 2016. I called my neighbor, Derrick, to help with matching the paint with the plan of respraying the truck from the body molding down. Derrick, is also a good friend and he just happens to be a painter by trade. He talked me into a complete respray because, even though the truck looked nice, it had enough small imperfections that he thought I’d be happier with it. I’m sure those close to me would say it didn’t really take that much arm twisting, but that was the point where I decided to really go all-in on the build. We spent the next four-ish years completely disassembling, modifying, and building the truck I now call Inline Dime.To know me is to know that I get hung up on the details. Inline is no different. If it has a theme, it’s to modify things in such a way that they don’t look modified. It’s just little things that look “factory enough” but aren’t.  For example, looking at the engine, most think it’s just a carbed straight 6. They never guess that it’s fuel injected and backed by a fully electronic 4l60e transmission. The serpentine belt drive is something that GM never made for a straight 6, either. There are components from four different GM water pumps combined into one housing for the reverse rotation. The damper is an SBC unit that involved machining the timing set in order to use it. The damper pulley is from a 2015 Silverado LT series engine. In fact, the only part of the accessory drive made for an L6 is the Sanden compressor bracket. The valve cover is a vintage Mercruiser boat piece. Being that it’s aluminum (vs stamped steel), it’s just slightly different than the valve cover on the next straight 6 you’ll see.  

That theme carries to the inside with the stereo system. The head unit is a RetroSound unit intended to look like a factory piece. But, the speaker location is another story. I filled the original dash speaker opening and hand drilled the grilles into the dash corners and the b-pillars. It blends so well, most don’t even notice and those who do can’t believe that a speaker actually fits in there.

The electric power steering is another hidden addition. It’s a unit from a Toyota Corolla that was grafted into the factory column and tucked under the dash. It’s computer-controlled to provide variable assist based on vehicle speed. With the modified column, I needed to find a place for the shifter. Since the 4l60e is cable shifted anyway, my friend (and super talented fabricator) Jody Jackson crafted a one-off shifter that is mounted under the driver’s seat.  It slides side to side to shift and makes “How do you shift it?” the number one question I get about my truck.

The gauges in the truck are one-off as well. I needed an electric speedometer to interface with the electric trans and the original cluster only had idiot lights in the base, three hole bezel. The “normal” course of action is to upgrade to the seven hole cluster with additional gauges. Of course, that’d be too simple for one of my projects. I modified an early four-in-one G10 van gauge to fit in place of the original fuel gauge to add oil pressure, voltage, and water temp. All the gauge faces were repainted and stenciled to look just like what could of been in 1968. 

Moving on back, the bed is another custom touch. The quartersawn zebrawood was sealed and grain filler was used to fill in the deep wood grain. It’s finished with over a dozen coats of polyurethane that was block sanded between coats to give it a glass like finish that mimics the faux plastic woodgrain found in modern vehicles.  What’s not as obvious at first glance is that there are no visible fasteners in the bed floor and the tubs are sectioned units from a Squarebody C10. The tubs bolt in from the side instead of fitting on top of the wood like factory ’68 tubs. This, again, helps with hiding the fasteners but their shape combined with raising the bed floor only 2-1/4” helps to make it appear that it wasn’t modified at all. The slight height difference just allows the truck to ride just a bit lower.

The aluminum trim on the exterior of the truck is NOS where I could find it and reproductions of factory ’68 pieces where I couldn’t. I was able to carefully work out the dents and polish all the stainless trim pieces and re-use them. The only departures from factory exterior trim are the smooth side marker lights that are bolt in units from a G10 van and the GSI billet aluminum door handles.  

To close out this fast-forward through the build of Inline, I’d like to point out that my truck was built in my 24×36 detached garage by me, my wife, and a lot of talented friends. The only work that I outsourced was the upholstery and the machine work on the engine. Even those guys did me a favor by taking on the projects due to their uniqueness. I doubt either of them charged me enough to even cover their time. There were a lot of long days and late nights working on my truck. Whether my friends turned wrenches beside me or just stopped to talk and provide some company, they all played a part in this build. For that, I am thankful.

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