As a young man growing up, Brock Austin had very little, if any, interest in anything automotive. In fact, no one in his family had much more to do with the automotive industry than to use it for basic transportation. With this in mind, it might be somewhat difficult to understand just how Brock and his wife, Kimberly, came to own this beautiful 1960, Chevrolet C10 Apache. From the outside, the truck appears to be a well restored, custom vintage street cruiser. In reality, however, this truck is a nitrous breathing, 9-second beast; truly, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Brock’s story is not as complicated as it might seem. Granted, he had no real interest in cars, or trucks during his formative years, but like many young boys growing up in small town America, he spent a great deal of time riding dirt bikes through the back country with his friends. Growing up in Bradford, Pennsylvania, there was an abundance of trails and woods where Austin and his buddies could ride.
During his high school days, Brock raced a few local, organized motocross events, but like any high school student, the majority of his time was dedicated to his studies. He did however, have a few passing thoughts about maybe racing for a living when he finished high school. Upon graduation, Brock’s parents explained that perhaps a degree of some sort just might come in handy if this racing thing didn’t work out as planned. Rather reluctantly, Brock heeded the advice of his folks and enrolled in an institute where he earned a degree in electronic engineering technology.
He thought that maybe he could find employment, and living in a state that was warm all the time, he could ride his bike year-round. This is also when he took an interest in drag racing, particularly Pro Street cars. “I thought those cars were really cool,” Brock recalled. “They looked like customized street rides, but they were actually full-blown race cars, and I decided that I had to have one.”
Brock began searching for something he could transform into one of those really cool Pro Street machines. One day, he was cruising around the Tampa Bay area, when he came across an old Camaro sitting in a ditch in front of an old house. Brock thought, “This might be just what I’m looking for.” He strolled up to the house and asked if they knew who owned the Camaro. The man that answered the door said he owned the car, and if Brock wanted it, he could have it for $300.
Returning home with his new find, he began to ask himself, “What now?” Although his mechanical abilities were more than adequate, he was not exactly sure where to begin. After a few inquires, Brock was directed to Matt Edmunds in nearby Bradenton, Florida. After consulting with Matt, Brock was pleased to hear he would help him with this project, under one condition; when the car was complete, Brock would race the car under the Edmunds Metal Works banner. He agreed.
Under Matt’s guidance, Brock started building his Camaro. As the build neared completion, Brock received a phone call that would change everything. Carl Westphal and Erik Schroeder, the principals of Javelina Racing in Arizona, contacted him with an offer to go dessert racing on one of their motorcycles. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. A well known and respected, professional off-road race team, wanted him to ride for them. Brock weighed his options, sold the Camaro to Edmunds, packed his gear and headed to Arizona with thoughts of a SCORE dessert racing championship title in his future.
Despite four successful seasons with Javelina Racing that included a championship on the now defunct, Whiplash Offroad Racing Series, Brock fell victim to a lack of sponsorship dollars, and returned to Florida. There, he met and married a lovely lady named Kimberly, and made a decision to follow in his grandpa’s footsteps to become a firefighter.
Brock attended and graduated from the Citrus County Fire Academy and secured a position with the Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue in Tampa, Florida, where he is still employed today as a certified firefighter and EMT.
As life settled in, Brock still had an affliction for speed. He needed something with above average horsepower that he could drive, but something that still remained tame looking on the outside. A quick trip north to Georgia found his new ride, a 1960 Chevrolet C10 Apache pickup truck.
A new era of light trucks
For the 1960 model year, GM introduced a completely new series of light duty pickup trucks. This new series featured many innovations, and changes to the existing line offered. A new body style, a dropped-center ladder frame to lower the overall height of the cab, independent front suspension, and trailing arm suspension in the rear. A new series designation would now identify the trucks using a letter prefix, followed by a number indicating the vehicle weight, a “C” prefix would identify the truck as a standard cab, a number “10” following the “C” prefix, for example, would indicate a half-ton standard cab truck. The trucks would be offer with either a smooth, “Fleetside” or fendered “Stepside” bed.
The truck sits on the original frame that has been slightly modified to accommodate the new drivetrain. The standard torsion bar front suspension was replaced with a more typical control arm and coil over system, and the rear suspension features heavy duty trailing arms designed to endure the rigors of quarter-mile competition. The truck employs GM 10-inch single-piston disc brakes on all four corners, and the rolling chassis rides on 15-inch Weld Wheels, wrapped with Mickey Thompson rubber. “Knowing the truck would be an occasional driver, I added power steering to make it easier to drive. In the event Kimberly got behind the wheel, she wouldn’t have to wrestle with it.” Brock continues, “I look back now and wish I would have put larger brakes on the truck. It takes a bit to get her slowed down after a pass down the track. At the time, I wanted to spend my money on going fast and not slowing down.”
Brock’s Apache is powered by a 386ci stroker engine based on the steel, GM 350 cubic-inch small-block. The crankshaft and connecting rods are all GMPP steel. Meanwhile, Edelbrock is responsible for the aluminum heads and intake manifold. The camshaft specs are top secret; Brock only reveals that it’s a roller. The engine uses a Quick Fuel carburetor, and is injected with a Dyno Tune nitrous system. MSD supplies the fire, and the custom fabricated exhaust system is the creation of Adam Beale of A&M Auto Worx.
When questioned about the horsepower ratings, Brock responds, “We’ve never really had the truck on the dyno, so exact ratings would be a guess. If I had to guess, I’d say more than enough. The engine is coupled to a GM Turbo 400 automatic transmission, equipped with a Turbo Action Cheetah SCS shifter. The undisclosed number of horses are moved to the rear tires via a 4.10 rear gear.
The body is mostly 1960 Chevrolet, the only exception is the custom-fabricated fiberglass hood. The bed is made of treated pine with hand-laid fiberglass tubs. Every piece of glass in the truck is the same glass that came with the truck when it rolled off the showroom floor. The interior sports a more modern split bench seat, with Racequip restraints. Brock added a GM tilt-steering column, and new audio system. The white-faced Auto Meter gauge package gives him all of the needed vital signs while maintaining a clean, factory-looking appearance.
Today the truck spends most of its life as an occasional driver and show truck. Brock still races the truck when that need for speed comes calling. Although the truck looks like a custom street rod, don’t be fooled by appearance. This tame looking old pickup is capable of running in the low 9-second range, so if you pull up next to this red beauty at a traffic light somewhere, don’t be surprised if all you see is the tailgate. It might look old and slow, but this is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.