Gearheads can be a fickle bunch. Just when we’re satisfied with a project, new ideas and a lust for even more capability often proves to be an urge too strong to ignore. The story of Allan McCostlin’s C10 is such a tale, as he readily admits. A life-long dirt and oval track racer, McCostlin says he’d always had a thing for hot rodded pickups, but never had a chance to snatch one up until recently.
“I just never really had time to build one, but I always wanted one,” he explains. “I’ve always liked the C10s, especially the 1970 model year. I bought the truck about five years ago from a hot rod shop in Texas – I had planned to use it as a daily driver and something to just go tool around in. But one thing led to another, and here we are.”
Allan says it didn’t take long before he was ready to start making some tweaks. “It was a nice truck when I got it, but I just started noticing things I wanted to change about it. Eventually, I decided I was going to tear the thing down, not knowing how far I’d go with it. I knew I wanted to at least paint it the color I wanted, put in the engine I wanted, and do things like that. But once we got it all torn apart, I started looking at chassis online, and the rest is history.”
Even at a glance, it’s clear that this isn’t just a C10 with a few bolt-ons. The truck’s low, mean stance highlights the modern high-performance rolling stock and the massive brakes behind them, making it clear that this pickup was built to perform.
Upon closer inspection, it’s the details that catch your eye – the precise panel fitment, the subtle but extensive custom work inside and out, and the overall emphasis on building a machine that’s as usable as it is head-turning.
We first laid eyes on Allan’s truck at the 2018 NSRA Bakersfield show, and it was one of our favorite builds from the event. In fact, we liked it so much, we caught up with McCostlin in Taft, California, to snag a closer look at the truck and get the low down about all of the details of this C10 stunner.
Getting Up To Speed
“I had the truck for about a year before I started to make some changes to it,” Allan says. “I started out with a swap to a Roadster Shop chassis, and it just sort of snowballed from there – I decided to just go all the way with it and do the whole thing the way I wanted it done.”
Eventually I decided I was going to tear the thing down, not knowing how far I’d go with it. I knew I wanted to at least paint it the color I wanted, put in the engine I wanted, and do things like that. But once we got it all torn apart I started looking at chassis online, and the rest is history.
McCostlin handed the C10 over to the highly capable folks at Sic Chops in Lake Havasu City, Arizona for its year and a half-long make-over. “They had the truck from start to finish, and we didn’t want to rush anything – I wanted them to take their time on it, and we made a bunch of changes along the way,” he says.
Many of those tweaks along the way required some level of custom fabrication. Though the visual aesthetic of the exterior doesn’t stray dramatically from the factory look, there’s a number of subtle touches that help the truck stand out from the crowd, like the painted and tucked bumpers and tubbed wheel wells out back.
“We used a slightly smaller tire up front because I wanted to use the stock inner fender well,” Allan tells us. “But the stance it creates really fits the attitude of the truck – it turned as good, if not better, than we thought it would.”
The truck rides on a staggered set–19’s up front, 20s in the rear–with anodized Forgeline wheels wrapped in Pirelli high-performance rubber. Stopping power is a far cry from the factory setup it came with from back in the day and consists of big Baer six-piston calipers that clamp down on cross-drilled and vented rotors at all four corners.
The specially-tuned suspension setup comes from the experts at Penske giving the truck a low, but not too low, hunkered down look. “We actually put it together and it was a little lower than I liked,” Allan says. “So we sent the shocks back to Penske and had them put a one-inch extension in them to raise the truck one inch all the way around, it really helped a lot.”
The theme of form meets function continues in the interior, where aggressively bolstered sport buckets have been color matched to provide continuity between the body and the cabin. The center console is a custom-made unit that houses the shifter, cup holders, audio system, and HVAC controls in one streamlined piece.
Built by designer Michael Ray of Cayucos Auto Interiors, the cabin features numerous subtle touches, like the unique air vents and custom ribbed headliner, which blend perfectly with the hardware and gauge package that Sic Chops selected for C10.
The custom work continues under the hood, where a 550 horsepower, 383-c.i. Small Block Chevy from Tri Star Engines in Baldwin, Wisconsin has taken up residence.
“When we tore the truck down and decided to go with the Roadster Shop chassis, I started looking around for the right engine builder for the project,” Allan says.
“I talked to a lot of folks about it and the answer that kept coming back was Tri Star Engines. When I got off the phone with them after my initial call, I knew that was who was going to build the engine – they were easy to work with and it was clear that street rod builds are their specialty. And just like the truck, I’d initially planned to do a fairly mild 383 build, but before everything was said and done we had basically every upgrade done to it that would still keep it reliable and streetable.”
Along with the hopped up power plant, the engine bay is as sanitary and well-executed as the rest of the truck. “That’s all Scott’s work from Sic Chops,” Allan says. “He came up with parts like the custom hood hinges and applied his touches to parts like the valve covers, air cleaner cover, and the radiator cover. Some parts are sand blasted and others are polished and clear coated.”
The Road Ahead
Even before the project was completed, it was clear this build was destined for greatness. “When it was about 90% done, Scott the owner of Sic Chops, convinced me to bring it to last year’s Goodguys show in Texas,” Allan recalls. “It was of course the very first show we’d taken it to, and the truck wasn’t even done, but we actually got in the top ten and got a Builder’s Choice award for it.”
After the Goodguys show, the truck was sent back to Sic Chops for the final touches before it headed out to California. “We then took it out to the Bakersfield show, and those are the two events we’ve had time for so far.”
Allan says that while they have plans to bring the C10 out to some more shows in the near future, the truck will essentially stay as-is for the foreseeable future. “We’ve got some big ones we’re going to try to hit coming up, like the Pleasanton show, and Scott’s got a few shows back East in mind that we’re going to try to make it to as well.”
What would he do differently? “During the build we changed stuff around and kind of dialed in the ideas at that point, and we got it to where I don’t see a need for any changes. But you never know.”
Continuing, Allan says, “In the meantime, the plan is just to get behind the wheel and enjoy cruising around in it. “I’m really happy with the way it came out,”