It all started when Dino Battilana was 13 years old and working at a local service station. The station had a ’63 Chevy C-10 short-bed service truck that was Dino’s introduction to the classic and distinctive lines of Chevrolet’s early to mid-’60s era workhorses. It was love at first sight. Dino learned to drive behind the wheel of the ’63, and after a few years of hard work pumping petroleum and doing odd jobs around the station, this young Bow Tie addict had saved enough scratch to get his fingers on the keys and the title. The rest, as they say, is history, but we have never met an enthusiast so passionate about Chevrolets, and even more so about this particular body style. In fact if you looked at Dino’s past and present custom vehicle roster, you wouldn’t find anything else on it save for the occasional square body, and a ’70 Nova he will likely be buried in.
As a proud member of the club Chevy Only, it’s no surprise that the garage and driveway at the Battilana household are filled with classic and modern GM iron. In fact, his kids would probably be grounded if they rolled up in anything else. The goal with this truck was to build a mid-’60s C-10 dually and make it look like the good old boys at the GM factory did it.
A friend of Dino’s from his appliance business, Rex, had the truck for about 30 years. He used it to deliver appliances and tow his drag car to the strip on weekends. The truck eventually found another home, and nine years later, while Dino was surfing Craigslist, the truck resurfaced, now sporting a lift and off-road wheels, but it still had the same old utility box in the back. Dino bought the truck over the phone. Then he got to work executing his plan to hammer it over 22-inch semi wheels.
With the help of friend and fabricator Joe Casias, the truck came together in Dino’s backyard shop on nights and weekends. They started with the chassis, adding a Porterbuilt rear notch complete with PB trailing arm cross member. The factory front cross member was sectioned and raised 2 inches and topped off with PB upper and lower “forward arms” and McGaughy’s drop spindles and disc brake package. The factory steering box was raised 2 inches to maintain proper geometry. McGaughy’s brake booster and master cylinder handle plumbing for the upgraded binders, while a 4:10-geared GM rearend gets the six wheels rolling. Goodyear front and semi truck rear air springs get the rockers where they belong, while the fenders swallow up a polished six-pack of 22-inch Alcoa wheels mounted on P255/30R22 Nexens.
For power Dino chose a Chevy 350 crate engine cooled by SPAL fans and fed by an Edelbrock intake and 600-cfm carburetor. Ram horn exhaust manifolds deliver spent fumes to a 2 ½-inch pipe and a pair of Flowmaster mufflers. A wiring harness from Speedway connects all of the electrical dots, while a Turbo 400 transmission with B&M 2,800 stall speed converter not only makes the dually fun to drive, but also provides the towing ammo for Dino’s ’66 pro-street C-10. Benny’s prepped the transmission for street and highway play and hooked a master shaft driveline to the backside. Octane cocktails feeding the beastly combo are chilled inside a ’73 Suburban fuel tank mounted underneath the raised bed floor.
When it came to the body Dino and Joe made a few changes with the goal of maintaining most of the OEM heritage. The alterations they did make were mainly to solve clearance issues, like the custom-built rear bed tubs and raised 1973 C-10 steel bed floor. The original cab was also converted from a small back window to a big back window because, let’s face it, big windows are just cooler. The truck’s rear hips drape over the rear 22s, a custom job that took a lot of time to complete in order to nail the factory-like look. The factory green and white paint were maintained on the truck’s surface complete with 49 years of road rash, battle scars and ultra-cool, sun-bleached patina. Topping off the raw factory attitude are fresh chrome trimmings plated by The Chrome Guys.
For cruising comfort, a 1998 Chevy truck bench seat was installed and covered in tan suede and cloth by Dominick at Custom Interior Fabrications. Fast lane custom gauges are sunk into the factory panel, and Dino enjoys extended highway cruising behind a factory steering wheel bolted up to a shortened factory column. Lance at Creative Car Stereo installed the iPod head unit backed by four Kenwood 6x9s and four Kenwood 10-inch subwoofers all driven by a Kenwood amp. Two Red Top Optima batteries provide the juice to keep Dino’s dually rolling with the cab rocking.
This truck packs a ton of nostalgic punch for Dino and is a rim-tucking example of setting a custom truck goal and stopping at nothing to achieve it. Word on the street is that the dually has already found a new home and that Dino is busy building another truck. Undoubtedly, it’s another 1960-66 Chevy C-10. Why break tradition?
Dino would like to thank Joe Casias, his wife Liz and his children, McGaughy’s Suspension, Seth Switch Suspension, Porterbuilt Suspension, Nate Porter, Moose Muffler Shop, The Chrome Guys, Dominick at Custom Interior Fabrication, Benny’s Transmissions and Lance at Creative Car Stereo.
TEXT BY TRAVIS NOACK PHOTOS BY JASON MULLIGAN
A version of this article first appeared in the December 2014 print issue of Drive Magazine.