Photos by Jason Mulligan
From Race to Show and Back Again
1969 Chevrolet C-10
Long Beach, CA
Phillips & Co. Hot Rods
After spending years making other’s automotive dreams come true as the project manager for the television show Overhaulin’ Rob Phillips looked to make his own dream come true and opened up his own shop in Long Beach, California, Phillips & Co. Hot Rods. He knew he would need a flagship vehicle to showcase his shop’s services and his talents. Thankfully, he didn’t have to look very far; he had been working on redoing his 1969 Chevrolet C-10 on the side throughout the Overhaulin’ builds. The truck formerly found its home on the race track and at burnout exhibitions. It was fun, but needless to say it was all go and not a lot of show. The time for an update was now and the changes came quickly with the total rebuild taking less than a year to accomplish. That year was plenty of time for Rob’s shop to work its magic, after all he was used to putting out custom vehicles in 7 days!
The first step was to strip the body of its old yellow paint and stepside bed. The door handles and marker lights were shaved clean and the drip rails were molded in and smoothed out. The front and rear bumpers were smoothed out and tucked in. Up front, the headlights were from Yogi’s while the rear tail lights are finely machined billet pieces with LED lights produced by Marquez Design. Finally, the C-10 was made smooth and sprayed by Lanzini Body Works in nearby Huntington Beach. The custom copper and black two tone was mixed up and sprayed using BASF RM Diamont colors before Dennis Recklefs striped the center dividing line in green and orange. While this was taking place Rob stripped the frame down and installed all new components. The rear trailing arms came courtesy of Early Classic as well as the crossmembers. The rear end was outfitted with an Auburn Posi with 3.42 gears and Early Classic axles. 6-inch drop springs and QA1 shocks bring the classic truck closer to the ground while maintaining its ride. Up front, at first, standard lowering gear was installed. But once Rob caught the autocross bug, that all changed. More on that later.
Taking the truck’s race heritage to heart; a 1990 454 Chevy big block was bored .030 over by Magnum Supercharger in Cedar, Minnesota and installed in the truck. Forged rods and pistons were used along with a high volume oil pump and an Edelbrock camshaft. Edelbrock RPM aluminum heads and a Victor Jr. EFI manifold and 1,000 CFM carb topped off the motor that is cooled by a Be Cool fan and radiator. Hedman 2-inch headers and Magnaflow exhaust rounds out the power package. The motor was painted to match and dressed up using GMPP valve covers and March pulleys. The massive engine is backed up by an S&W Gear Vendors Overdrive transmission. When all was said and done the truck put out 650 hp and 640 ft lbs of torque borrowing plenty of high octane fuel from the custom Rick’s Hot Rod stainless steel tank. Not too bad for a full show truck with a complete interior entertainment system.
On the inside, luxury and style was the goal over the old stripped race interior. ’68 CST buckets were installed and wrapped by A&M Upholstery in Katzkin black leather and suede. Power windows were installed before the rest of the interior was wired for sound with M&M Electric. An Eclipse head unit powers the tightly fitted Kicker audio system. Kick panels hold a set of 65.2 SS Kicker component speakers while a custom box was built to house the deep bass kicking from a 10-inch Solo X subwoofer. The system is powered by 2500.1 and 350.4 Kicker amplifiers for plenty of power along with two Optima yellow top batteries installed by Geoff Curtis. The luxury end of the spectrum was finished off thanks to a cool breeze from Classic Auto Air.
Rob finished the truck up just in time for the SEMA show and it turned heads everywhere he went. But it wasn’t until the Good Guys Del Mar show that the truck found its new niche and Rob discovered a new passion, autocross racing. Autocrossing usually pits muscle cars against one another in a timed cone course. Handling, braking and power are all main concerns when it comes to running the course in a quick time without taking any cones out. Rob decided to give it a try when a truck class was opened up. He already had the power thanks to the big block, and the braking was taken care of thanks to massive Baer Brakes 14-inch rotors with 6-piston calipers. He ran the course and put up some impressive times but he knew that the handling needed to be better. For quicker steering, a quick ratio AGR steering box and super pump was installed to fit Rob’s driving style. Anti-sway bars from Hotchkis were installed along with their control arms. Of course, the chrome 20-inch wheels had to go to match up with the autocross race style. Flat black MHT Mach X wheels measuring 19×10 and 19×12 where installed with Pirelli PZero 285/30/19 and 305/30/19 rubber for plenty of grip while on the road course.
Rob Phillip’s C-10 just goes to show you that you can have your cake and eat it to. Show trucks can be performers and compete amongst the best.