How to Build a Cheap Custom 1967-1972 Supercharged Chevy C10 Truck

How to Build a Cheap Custom 1967-1972 Supercharged Chevy C10 Truck

03/17/2022

A Camaro retiring to ore in a barnyard costs $25,000 and that new Vette is well over $100k. Instead of getting depressed about the price of your project car dreams, look at the 1967-1972 Chevy C10 truck instead. They are essentially muscle cars with big V-8s under hood, stick-shift transmissions, and rear-wheel drive. If you scan Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or even eBay, you will find one for less than $5k, or if you were lucky like we were, a 1968, 283ci, four-speed C10 in factory light green paint for $2,500. It needs work, but it was a running, driving truck with all the fun bits in place.

How To Find a Cheap Used Chevy C10 Truck

Duh, right? Everyone knows about the C10 truck, so how can you find one? First, look outside of large urban areas. Millions of trucks were distributed to rural areas of the Western United States where the climate preserves them forever. Most apps have a radius feature that gives you 100 miles from a zip code. Pick a large city—Fresno, California, for instance—that has large farming communities surrounding it.  We found this truck in Cody, Wyoming, after moving east from Fresno and searching Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, and cities in Nebraska.

Once you have located the truck, pick a friend who hates old cars and bring them with you to talk you out of buying junk. We will ask the owner to not start or move the car before we get there because we want to hear the cold start. Rod knocks, crap oil pressure, and smoking valve guide symptoms dissipate when the engine warms up. Our ’68 was lightly smoking out of the driver tailpipe but otherwise didn’t have any scary noises. We also let the truck run while we talked to the owner to see if it would overheat at idle or drop oil pressure when warm. Flip all the switches and turn all the dials. Wiring and HVAC issues are a hassle, and the costs add up quickly if you are intent on fixing all of them.

Related: What Is a Barn Find, and How to Find Them

Drive the thing and pay attention to steering wheel wobbles and transmission noises. Our truck had a broken lower control arm and no brakes. It was a short, terrifying testdrive.

Roll under the truck and look for stop signs that have been welded to the floor, narcotics, and broken and bent frame and suspension parts. We found one out of the three. In addition to the cracked lower control arm, the truck was missing two shocks and mounting hardware. This is a good time to look for leaks in the running gear and obvious signs of crash damage. And, finally, never buy anything in primer.

Cheapest 1967-70 C10 Chevy Truck Control-Arm and Disc-Brake Swaps

Once we towed the truck back to the shop, we started ordering parts. Our budget was $7,500 to get the truck into mostly reliable summer fun shape, driving and making notes about parts that fell off to fix them the following winter. The first issue was the broken control arms, which were covered here. We also opened the brakes and replaced a leaking wheel cylinder. To save a lot of cash, we left the stock 16-inch wheels and drum brakes on the truck. If you set them up correctly, drum brakes work as well as disc brakes on the street.

How To Install an Exhaust System on a C10 truck

We lucked out when we discovered the Chevy C10’s 283ci engine had the factory ram’s-horn manifolds. We’ve proven that on a stock or mildly modified small-block, manifolds and headers are similar in terms of performance, but manifolds are more durable and much easier to work on. Either way, there were no downpipes or exhaust of any kind on the truck. Holley sells a manifold-back 2 ¼-inch, 16-gauge exhaust system for around $300 that includes the downpipes (for headers or stock manifolds) and all the hardware to run duals to the factory tailpipe position. There is no welding required and we installed it in about two hours on the shop floor. The system does require a pair of 2 ¼-inch mufflers with center-in, offset-out connections.

How To Supercharge a 283/327 Chevy C10 Truck

With the basic suspension, brake, and exhaust systems fixed, we had about $4,000 in the truck, leaving us some cash for something fun. Aside from nitrous, the one part that adds the most performance and curb appeal is a supercharger. The Weiand 142/144 supercharger is a basic bolt-on that works with the stock or HEI-swapped distributor and either a short or long water pump on the small-block Chevy engine. The 142 is the standard, the 144 is low profile, and the 174 is for big-block guys. Without going too deep into how to pick a carburetor, we will explain that the smallest of small-blocks rarely requires more than 600 cfm, even if it is supercharged and revved like an import drift car. What is more important is off-idle response and the carburetor’s ability to control the power valve when the supercharger lies to it. The 600-cfm supercharger double-pumper (PN 0-80592S) is a draw-through four-barrel that has a boost-reference port that connects the power-valve to the base manifold with a vacuum hose. Otherwise, the power valve would remain open and blubber fuel throughout the operating range of the engine. The carb and the supercharger should add about 100 hp to the combo and can be bolted on in one weekend.

Our advice is to buy a lower pulley when you buy the kit in case the register is different (ours was), as well as a fan spacer kit and a new radiator. We’ve included a complete parts list at the end of this article to reduce the number of parts runs. You’re welcome.

Parts List

*Prices rounded

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