White Noise: Dennis Griffin’s C10 Generates A Buzz Wherever It Goes

There is no denying Dennis Griffin is a car guy. He has been a lover of cars and trucks since he bought his first 1969 Camaro at the age of 14. He was able to do so using money he earned mowing yards. His wife, Tracy, currently owns a ’66 Chevelle she has owned since the age of 15. She grew up in a family with a father, brother, and several uncles who have their own hot rods. Once Dennis and Tracey became a couple, their love for cars quickly took them to the dragstrip.

“We drag raced several different Pro Modifieds from 1989 to 2015,” Dennis says. “We mainly competed with the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) and the Professional Drag Racing League (PDRA). We also went to multiple Super Chevy events, and match races too.

Increasing costs and competition took them out of that game. “The Pro Modified class got so out of hand,” Dennis remembers. “We had the best of everything: a Tim McAmis Pro Mod with the baddest engines Pat Musi could build. We decided it was time to slow down the hectic racing life.”

Under the hood, a new LS3 engine and 4L65E transmission combination can move the truck with more than ample power. The use of oversized Slosh Tubz front inner fenders allow the extreme drop and the 22-inch wheel and tire combination.

Dennis and Tracey own a successful heating and air-conditioning company in Columbia, Missouri. Their interests shifted to their love of 67-72 Chevy C10 vehicles, which gave them more time to focus on their growing business.

Even while racing our Pro Modified, we have always had a couple of nice street cars at home. Tracy and I have always enjoyed going to car shows, so that is what we decided to spend more time doing. – Dennis Griffin

“We go to car cruises and shows with a pair of Chevelles we built,” Dennis says. “In our community, a lot of oldtimers get together on Saturday night with their street cars, get dinner, and then go to cruise nights. We really enjoy it.”

Dennis’ shop already contains an attention-grabbing second-generation Suburban and Blazer, but he decided he wanted to expand his C10 fleet with an ultimate truck.

“I had my eye on a ’67 shortbed in Arizona,” Dennis remembers. “I had been talking to the gentleman for a couple of years. Once we sold a Chevelle, I called him to let him know I was on my way to get that truck. He backed out on me, saying he just couldn’t sell it.”

The interior contains a wealth of high-tech components that still offer the guise of factory appearance.

That started the process of searching for the next perfect truck. “A couple of my buddies helped me find this one,” Dennis comments. “They knew the shop that built the C10 and they inquired about it for me. That’s how I ended up getting together with the guy I bought it from. It was nearly identical to the one in Arizona that I wanted.”

‘White Noise’ was originally built by JRE Automotive for Brady Cassel of Portland, Oregon, and debuted at SEMA in 2017. With a very busy schedule and hardly any time to enjoy the truck, Dennis and Tracy bought and brought the truck to their home in Ashland, Missouri in April 2019. “The truck had less than 500 miles on it and had been shown just a few times out on the West coast,” Dennis says. “I love everything about it.”

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It took JRE a year and working to overcome more than a few bumps in the road to build the truck. “It was a ground-up build. Every nut, bolt, rubber, etc. were replaced or made new,” Dennis proudly states. “It was a very well thought out build.

The project started with a 1967 C10 short bed pickup. The cab is from a 1972 model year because it is an air conditioning cab. It also has a big back window. The truck is all steel and features factory-tinted glass all around. While many builders opt to add one-piece side windows during their build, this truck retains the factory side window “wings.” “The original build kept the original look by keeping the bumpers, door handles, wing windows, mirrors, and tailgate,” Dennis says. “The bed floor does lift up for some storage, to allow us to get to the air ride, and to show off (laughs).”

The clean C10 bed floor can be lifted to expose the exotic airbag suspension that allows it to "lay frame."

The chassis features Porterbuilt Fabrication and Classic Performance Products’ (CPP) latest suspension and chassis hardware. The drop spindles are from CPP and incorporate C6 Corvette calipers, rotors, and other brake hardware on all four corners. The rearend contains Dutchman Axles’ 3.73 positraction center section, axles, and differential housing.

“There is an Accuair Suspension E-level system with sensors on all four corners that you can also work by phone,” Dennis says. “And, the Boyd’s Welding gas tank sits inside a red powdercoated frame.”

On this day we met up with Dennis and his son, Gunner, at a small-town car show along the Mississippi River.

Dennis added US Mags’ 22×12 wheels for the rear and 22×8.5 on the front with Lexani Performance Tires all around. Pinstriping by Eric finished off the new wheels with a red pinstripe around the wheel and red in the knockoff that matches the red trim and other small features of the truck.

Inside the cab is a somewhat-stock appearance. However, everything is modern and brand new. “The seat, door panels, visors, and headliner are done in Katzkin Interiors leather with red stitching,” Dennis says. “Dakota Digital analog-style gauges have a factory appearance but are very cool. A Classic Car Stereo audio system looks original until you turn up the volume. It has all the new modern stuff behind the stock appearance. A CON2R steering wheel with a little red on it matches the other reds on the truck.”

Following years of competing in Pro Modified racing, the Griffin's shop is now filled with a C10 fleet including a Blazer, Suburban, and the White Noise truck.

Power is provided by a 6.2-liter LS3 from a Chevrolet Performance crate. Nutter Racing Engines in Vancouver, Washington, added a few internal upgrades, including camshaft, lifters, and valve springs to give her just a little more power. Shifting is accomplished by a 4L65E overdrive transmission built by Brandon Riggins using Monster Transmission and Hughes Performance components.

“I have worked with the truck and added many touches of my own,” Dennis explains. “Among some of the small details, I added billet door handles and window cranks that still give that factory appearance. I also added many of the General Motors insignias on the inside of the door jambs and some other places on the truck. Lots of people have commented on that touch.”

Griffin wanted to stay as ‘stockish” appearing as possible, keeping it clean and straightforward. Yes, it’s radical, but in a very stock way. He appreciates that it has bumpers instead of roll pans, plus the period-correct mirrors and fender trim on it. The “slammed” genre of these customized C10s typically extends to a large amount of other customization; this one stands out with a unique blend of extreme and original appearance.

The bed floor lift operates remotely, as does the airbag system. “It operates by a keypad in the ashtray and also wirelessly from my cell phone,” Dennis says. “It works great. The bed floor is constructed of wood and is painted a glossy dark black with polished bed strips.”

The truck already had several awards to its name, including the 2018 C10 Nationals Top 10 Truck of the Year. Since Dennis has been showing it around the Midwest, he’s added several trophies to the shelf.

The combination of extreme stance and stock-appearing aesthetics makes the C10 an attention-getter at any show the Griffins attend.

In 2019, they won Best of Show at the Cobblestone Nationals in St. Louis, and a Top 10 Builders Choice Award at the Goodguys Heartland Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa. Most recently, they won the 2020 Best Engineering and Design award at the Route 66 Mother Road Festival in Springfield, Illinois.

Along with the “big” events, the Griffins enjoy taking their youngest son, Gunner, to many area car shows, cruises, and other special events. He is already a car show aficionado at six years old.

Dennis and Tracy have also passed their love of custom cars and trucks to all of their children. Dustin, age 28, and Faryn, 21. Both enjoy the custom-car life.

Dennis and Tracy are very pleased with the results of their long hunt for the C10 pickup they have added to their stable. “We think it is over the top, but it’s still is very simple. Young and old can identify with it, and we like that. It’s neat, simple, and clean.”

Although a very nice Suburban and Blazer are also in the garage, the couple is definitely enjoying their C10 pickup and plan to keep traveling to the car shows and enjoying life with their ‘White Noise.’

About the author

Todd Silvey

Todd has been a hardcore drag racing journalist since 1987. He is constantly on both sides of the guardwall from racing photography and editorship to drag racing cars of every shape and class.
Read My Articles

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