Grady Shipp Jr. has been enjoying custom trucks for years and at one point had a bodydropped Toyota Tacoma that was featured in our sister publication, Mini Truckin' Magazine. The time came when the Toyota was no longer a desired vehicle and Grady sold it off with the hopes that another truck would soon be his to build and enjoy. That truck was his father's '69 Chevy C10. Having already been torn apart for a frame-off restoration, it was in fantastic shape and well taken care of by his dad. Much to his father's chagrin, Grady wanted it to lay flat on the ground, so it was pulled back apart all over again.
To make his vision of a flat on the tarmac truck come to fruition, Grady ran down the order sheet with Porterbuilt Street rods and checked off everything he needed. Up front, the low-hanging original crossmember was tossed in favor of a Dropmember that tucks up high into the framerails. Added to that were McGaughys lowering spindles, tubular control arms, rack-and-pinion steering, and a tubular core support crossmember. The rear received equal amounts of attention with a rear Dropmember, adjustable trailing arm crossmember, tubular drop trailing arms, a step notch, and tubular replacement rear crossmembers to match the front. When the air is released from the airbags, Grady's Chevy tucks the 22- inch Coys and Nitto nt555 tires well into the custom wheeltubs. After all that work, the original four-wheel drums weren't going to cut it, so CPP was tapped for power disc brakes at all four corners.
Grady's dad was starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel before Grady threw another curveball at him by purchasing a 5.3l lS, with a 4l60e automatic transmission, and a full conversion harness. The engine was fit with a Comp Cams bumpstick and a car lS1 intake manifold before being dropped into the C10's engine bay. Once everything was in place, it looked like it was meant to be there from the beginning. Street & Performance headers exit gasses into a custom exhaust accessorized with Flowmaster mufflers. The powered-up 5.3l transmits its ponies through a tCI 2500-stall converter and off to a 12-bolt axle filled with 3.73 gears and a Posi. The final piece to the puzzle was a No Limit stainless fuel cell mounted under the bed.
Wearing a period-correct color mix of red and white with a full helping of original trim, Grady's truck certainly covers the spread between custom and classic. A '72 grille and front bumper were chosen to clean up the looks just a bit, as was a white vinyl, snap-on tonneau. Inside the cab, the classic look was retained, albeit with a twist. The seat looks stock, but it carries a bit of exotic skin from an alligator. Billet Specialties was sourced for a steering wheel, while Dakota Digital's analog gauges fill the dash.
It took a year to get the truck to its finished point as you see here. Throughout the endeavor, Grady's father repeatedly saw his truck in pieces and expressed his sorrow that his son was destroying it. After riding in the completed project, his whole tune changed. With a fuel-injected engine, computer-controlled transmission, rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and Vintage Air unit for those muggy Illinois summers, the truck looks and runs better now than it ever did—and that's all we could ever hope for when building a project truck.
Inside the Build
Year Make Model:
1969 Chevy C10
Owner and City/State:
Grady Shipp Jr. • Plainfield, Illinois
Type: 5.3L LS
Induction: Street & Performance Intake
Exhaust: Street & Performance headers, Flowmaster
Camshaft: Comp Cams
Built by: Affordable Speed
Transmission: GM 4L60E, TCI converter
Rearend: GM 12-bolt, 3.73 gears with Posi
Front Suspension: Porterbuilt Dropmember, McGaughys spindles, Slam Specialties airbags
Rear Suspension: Porterbuilt Dropmember, Porterbuilt trailing arms, Firestone airbags
Brakes: CPP power disc brake conversion
WHEELS & TIRES
Wheels: 22x9-inch Coys C5
Tires: Nitto NT555 255/30R22
Opening the doors reveals a black leather Half-
Wrap Billet Specialties steering wheel, Da
A 5.3L LS engine now powers the classic Chevy and
benefits from Street & Performance i