The '73-'87 GM square body is an often neglected project truck platform. Unlike its predecessor, the curvy classic '67-'72, and its successor, the ever-popular '88-'98, the square body oftentimes hasn't gotten the love we feel it deserves. However, times are changing, and this generation of truck is finally starting to see a resurgence in popularity. For Michael Townzen of Beckville, Texas, a 1986 square body was the perfect starting point for his next truck project. Having previously built a '73 Nova with a 383 stroker and a 'bagged '04 GMC Sierra, Michael was familiar with the custom scene, so he quickly began the process of converting this underappreciated Chevy into a subtle showstopper.
First on the list of priorities for Michael was achieving the perfect stance, so he broke out his tools and went to work. To ensure the truck would lay frame with ease, extensive modifications were made to the factory frame. In the front, a two-inch Z was added under the cab using 2x4-inch tubing, and the bottom of the frame was cut off. Michael also fabricated a custom front crossmember to move the suspension up three inches and inward two inches, and added one-inch-narrowed MMW A-arms for even more wheel tuck. The rear frame was C-notched for an even drop, and Airlift Dominator 2600 'bags, ½-inch stainless hard lines, and Blitzluft valves were added all around. As if this wasn't enough, the body was dropped an additional two inches. Finishing off the ride, a set of 22x9-inch Intro Twisted Vista wheels and 265/35R22 tires were mounted, although Michael tells us he recently switched them for some 22x9-inch Centerline Smoothies.
With the drop complete, Michael moved on to the bodywork and interior. Slightly reducing the C10's square look, he chopped the top 2¼ inches, then sectioned the front fenders by nearly two inches to match the rear. Most of the body panels were shaved, including the doors, cab seam, fenders, and gas door. The bed floor was raised to clear the C-notch, and the rear fenders were sectioned to fit under the bedrails. Moving inside through the truck's suicide doors, a handbuilt metal dash and transmission tunnel add a custom flair. A matching Woodward speedometer, tach, and pair of air pressure gauges are mounted alongside the billet steering wheel and tie together the clean look.
It's no wonder Michael's friends call him Captain Subtle, since his precise craftsmanship and tasteful style have elevated this square body to a new level. In the near future, he plans to reinstall the 350ci V-8 with some simple bolt-ons, finish up the paint and bodywork, and upgrade the stereo. The Chevy may have been underappreciated in the past, but Michael's truck is doing its part to improve this distinctive body style's image. Michael wants to thank his wife, Juliet, for encouraging the build, his friends, Michael Piedra and Shay Wiggins, for always being willing to help, and his dad for teaching him not to be scared to tackle new projects.
Inside the Build
Year Make Model: 1986 Chevrolet C10
Owner and City/State: Michael Townzen • Beckville, Texas
Type: Planning to run the stock 350ci V-8 with a mild cam, headers, and Flowmaster exhaust
Front suspension: 2-inch Z out of 2x4-inch tubing, handbuilt front crossmember, 1-inch narrowed MMW upper A-arms, McGaughys 3-inch drop spindles, Airlift 2600 Dominator airbags, ½-inch stainless hardline, ½-inch Blitzluft valves
Rear suspension: C-notch, Suicide Doors triangulated four-link, Airlift 2600 Dominator airbags, ½-inch stainless hardline, ½-inch Blitzluft valves
Brakes: Factory brakes with stainless steel lines
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: Intro Twisted Vista 22x9