ZL1 C/10 1967 Chevrolet C10 Truck

Article by Larry Crain
Build photos supplied by Rod Parsons
Finished photos supplied by Rod Parsons and Larry Crain

Rod Parsons of Ripley, West Virginia is your typical hot rod owner meaning he lives and breathes cars and trucks. He has always been a hot rodder and has built several over the years before life got so hectic that he had to have others build them for him. The hectic side of his life comes from the fact that he owns two large collision repair centers and a hot rod shop. But through all of the craziness, Rod still found time to work with his employees on getting a 1967 Corvette that he had once restored over 27 years ago back on track.

When it came time to have the Corvette painted Rod didn’t want to pull one of his painters off of collision repair painting. One of his employees told him about a guy named Greg Killen that could really lay out some slick paint jobs.

Rod had the Corvette moved over to Greg’s place that he called “The Project Shop” for a paint job. While there Rod saw a cab and chassis of a 1967 Chevy C10 that Greg was building to resale. Greg had purchased the truck in 2011 with the intention of fixing it up for a quick resale to fund the build of his 1935 Chevy hot rod sedan. Rod and Greg talked about the possibilities the old truck had for some time, then in April of 2014 Rod bought the truck. After buying the truck and doing a little history checking on the old Chevy C10, Rod found out that his upcoming project had actually came from a salvage yard right in his home town! After a few more discussions Rod asked Greg if he would build the truck for him, and the next thing you know the Corvette was pushed to the side and the truck project began.

The truck project was not a full time job at that point for Greg as he was still holding down a regular job at a collision repair center in Virginia. While Greg was working on a collision repair of a 2014 ZL1 Camaro, he came up with the idea of grafting the center section of the carbon fiber ZL1 hood with the C10 hood.

July of 2014, Rod bought a Chevrolet Performance LSA 6.2L supercharged crate engine and a 4L85E transmission that would give the old Chevy a really new heartbeat. The start of the build was going slow but at the same time this gave Greg and Rod time to come up with other ideas on how to make the truck stand out from all others as a ZL1 C/10.

With this part of the build leaning really hard in the direction of a ZL1, it was time to take a hard look at the rest of the truck. The first major change was to discard the original chassis and go with a custom frame from No Limits Engineering. Rod had the chassis front end set up with RideTech coilovers with tubular control arms, Speedway Engineering Nascar style adjustable sway bar and a road race rack & pinion from Flaming River. The rear of the chassis was set up with a No Limits Engineering 4-Link with a pan hard bar, and a Speedway Engineering Nascar style adjustable sway bar. A custom aluminum drive shaft from Dynotech handles the horsepower changeover from the transmission to a Moser 9-inch rear end equipped with 3.70 gears and wave track.

The new 556 Horsepower LSA Chevrolet Performance motor had to get a little bit of a makeover, so Greg and Rod put their heads together to come up with some ideas and designs for the blower hat and valve covers. These thoughts and ideas were turned over to C. Cooke Enterprises who came up with the perfect blend of new and old that flowed with the rest of the trucks look. Another area that had to be customized due the ZL1 C/10 hood and the LSA motor combination was the location of a one-off air filter intake system that features a K&N filter that looks like it came with the truck from the factory. The cooling system for the supercharged engine had to be updated as well and C&R Radiators had the answer in the form of a system that is normally used with a Chevy LS engine application for this truck. The location point for the motor was set back a total of 4 inches to improve handling and stability for when the truck was to run in Autocross events. Yes this truck was built to play not just for show!

The hot rod sounds from the LSA start out through a set of Headman Headers that flow into a custom 3" stainless steel exhaust, fabricated by Greg, that is paired up Magnaflow mufflers that exit the body through an exhaust port that is a one-off billet exhaust bezel designed by Greg and machined by RMI. The final rolling chassis was set up using a Wilwood bake system that included 14 inch rotors and calipers. To complete the Autocross possibilities for the chassis, the truck was set up with 3-piece B-Forged Autocross wheels mounted with Michelin radials. The front combination is 20x10 with 295R40, while the rear is 20x12 with 335R40, Michelin Pilot SS radials.

By May of 2015 the truck build was moving along but at a slower pace than what Rod was hoping for. At this point Rod asked Greg if he would work full time on the truck as an employee but keeping the truck at Greg’s “Project Shop”. After this agreement came about, Greg was able to throw himself and all of his talents into creating all of the body modifications he and Rod had in mind for the truck. Even with Greg working full time on the truck it didn’t look like the truck was going to make the 2016 Spring show season that Rod had been shooting for. So in December of 2015 Rod hired Ralph Whiselenhunt to work with Greg hoping to speed up the build process, with the old adage of “one is good, two must be better” coming to mind.

Well the project was really moving along at a much faster pace with Greg and Ralph working together, so much so that there was an opportunity for the need of a third person to tackle the areas the other two were not working on. This where WD Moore enters the picture and his specialty was to tackle the technical and wiring issues of turning a 1967 Chevrolet C10 truck into a running ZL1 C/10!

WD started at the front of the motor and moved the exposed wiring coil packs to where they could not be seen. Then he figured out where to run all the hoses and other ugly, but necessary, parts where they could be hidden. He then brought the wiring harness from the motor through the transmission tunnel to the console. With the engine compartment wiring completed he started on the inside of the cab where he wired up the dash, stereo and other components. WD installed an Optima battery then checked to make sure everything performed as it was supposed to and his mission was complete for that area.

The body modifications that Greg performed on what was once a plain Jane C10 truck are numerous, starting with the unique functional ZL C/10 hood he had crafted that sent this truck down the path the build was following. The hood also features some really cool exterior latches from Summit Racing Equipment that really compliment the custom look. Looking over, under, inside and outside you will lose count of the number of the stainless steel fasteners from Totally Stainless that was used in this build, but attention to details even such as a fastener can make all the difference in the finished build.

A big thanks goes out to Eddie’s Rod Shop for their help with the replacement cab glass on this project. The front and rear cab glass is flush mounted to the body while the side windows have been converted to a one piece eliminating the vent window. The front bumper has been narrowed with a custom air intake and splitter, late model Equinox door handles with latches have been added to the doors as well as a pair of late model Mustang GT mirrors, and the factory cowl panel has been filled. The bed floor was raised 4" with all of the seams welded/ filled and all bolts deleted, the tailgate filled and release handle moved to the inside.

The one-off oversized taillights were a joint effort with Greg fabricating and machine work by RMI, and the finished product installed with one-off LED lights from Eddie’s Rod Shop. The rear of the truck really shows it is ready to play as well as show off due to the addition of the custom roll pan with the built in diffuser all creations of Greg’s. Topping of the attitude for the rear of the truck is the custom adjustable rear spoiler built by RMI. All of Greg’s awesome body modifications in steel were covered up when he started out laying down all of the PPG primer, then slicking the truck out in Dessert Khaki paint by PPG. Finishing off the smallest details of body of the ZL1 C/10 are the custom body emblems produced by RMI.

The interior of the truck also features some of Greg’s metal fabrication where he altered the bottom of the dash by changing the base angle by 2” more towards the drivers seating area. The dash area retains a somewhat custom appearance while being home to numerous subtle changes, such as the wiper and headlight controls are stock with one-off billet knobs from RMI. The gauges are a new style called Auto Cross from Classic Instruments that fit perfect into the billet dash panel from Summit Racing Equipment, which house the instrument cluster and glove box door that have been painted to match the body. The cool looking dash mounted push button start is from Flaming River and features a one-off mounting bezel from RMI. The painted tilt steering column is from Ididit while the steering wheel is from Billet Specialties that features a   one-off horn button machined by RMI.

This cool truck is kept even cooler inside thanks to a Vintage Air a/c unit, and when the days are really nice, power windows from Brothers can let the cab fill with the sounds of the highway. A dash mounted LCD is from Kenwood plus a XM Stereo that also features a GPS and backup camera. The Shifter handle is from Lokar with a one-off shifter plate from RMI. Lokar was also the supplier for the custom gas and brake pedals that match the rest of the interior so well.

When it came time to finish out the interior of this unique truck it was taken to Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto Custom Interiors. Steve and Rod talked about figuring out ways to bring the look of the B-Forged wheels into the interior and nailed it when you look at the custom door panels and other small touches. The custom console and interior were all built by Steve, including reworking the seats that were out of a 2009 Pontiac G8. The custom accent lighting is just another of those touches that Steve brings to the table when he does a full on custom interior. With the interior dressed out in red leather this truck was now officially ready to let the automotive world know there was a new player in town.

On a side note, the truck did not make its Spring 2016 debut in Nashville so Rod had all of the reservations made, registrations paid and no truck to show! After some quick thinking, Rod asked his girlfriend for help. Rod’s girlfriend, Laura Donat, had a freshly finished 1941 Willys truck already to show, and he had an empty car hauler. So they showed her Willys truck while waiting on the 1967 ZL1 C/10 to get finished. Along the way she picked up a Top 100 Street Rodder of the year finalist, a builders choice Goodguys, Fabulous 40's at the Hot Rod Reunion, Early Truck of the Year finalist at Goodguys.

By September it was Rod’s turn to bring out his new toy and see what it could do. The results were a Pro’s Pick Award and a Truck of the Year finalist award at the Fort Worth, TX Goodguys, then a Builder’s Choice Award at the Charlotte, NC Goodguys. The icing on the cake was a last minute invitation to the 2016 SEMA Show where the truck picked up a GM Design Award! Following all of the action in Las Vegas at the SEMA Show the truck was loaded up in the hauler and headed further west to take part in the Goodguys 27th Autumn Get-Together in Pleasanton, CA where it picked up a Way Cool Award. The return trip back east had Rod and the truck attending the Goodguys Southwest Nationals in Scottsdale, Arizona where it picked up a “Hot Rods By Dean” Builder’s Choice Award. What a way to wrap up a very fast paced end of the year. 2017 will see Rod showing the truck on the ISCA World of Wheels circuit along with other select shows, which will give everyone the opportunity to see what a 1967 Chevrolet ZL1 C/10 really looks like in person.

  • B-Forged
  • Billet Specialties
  • C&R Radiators
  • Cooke Enterprises
  • Chevrolet Performance Parts
  • Classic Instruments
  • Dynotech Driveshafts
  • Eddie’s Rod Shop
  • Flaming River
  • Headman Headers
  • Ididit
  • Kenwood
  • K&N
  • Lokar
  • Magnaflow
  • Michelin
  • Moser
  • No Limits Engineering
  • Optima Batteries
  • PPG
  • Pro Auto Custom Interiors
  • RideTech
  • RMI Machine Shop
  • Speedway Engineering
  • Summit Racing Equipment
  • The Project Shop
  • Totally Stainless
  • Vintage Air
  • Wilwood
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