Featured articles, social media and more
Written by Elana Scherr.
You know you’ve built a clean machine when the dyno operator who is strapping it down for a pull stops cranking on the tie-downs to compliment you on the undercarriage. Gary Watson from Creations N’ Chrome (CNC) is probably used to it by now. From Mustangs to pickup trucks, his shop is known for tidy builds that are ready to run, or at least, almost ready to run. When we asked him to bring his latest for some track testing, he met us at Westech Performance in Mira Loma, California, and unloaded a two-tone silvery gray 1969 Chevy C10. “I’m so glad you guys are starting with the dyno,” he told us. “We just finished this, so it doesn’t even have a tune in it yet.” After some expert work by the Westech crew, the LS-powered pickup put down 392 naturally aspirated horses at the rear wheels and Gary pronounced it ready for the dragstrip and a 75hp nitrous shot.
Before we hit the track, we got some backstory on the C10’s construction. The truck—nicknamed “Fine Dime,” as both a play on its model name and a comment on its “perfect 10” quality—was built for CNC customer Hugo Castillo. Hugo had asked CNC to turn his stock tan-and-white hauler into a head-turning daily driver with classic looks, but without classic-car wobbles and weaknesses. Gary started by stripping and powdercoating the frame while repairing the minor rust on the cab and bed. A Hotchkis TVS suspension kit replaced the stock control arms, steering centerlink, and all bushings. To get the right stance, Gary used Eibach springs, lowering the truck 5 inches in the front and 7 inches in the rear. Hotchkis sway bars, Fox shocks, and two-piece 14-inch Wilwood disc brakes completed the chassis transformation.
For the exterior of the C10, Gary wanted a traditional look that hinted at the non-stock nature of the build. He achieved that by keeping just enough trim and chrome against the two-tone paint to seem stock, but then shaking it up with the modernizing color choice of 2006 Corvette Z06 Cyber Grey Metallic and 20-inch HRE three-piece wheels clad in Falken rubber. To spin those tires, a 2002 Camaro gave up its aluminum LS1, which was rebuilt with a mild 0.550-inch-lift cam and LS6 valvesprings and intake manifold. It’s backed by a 4L60E and 11-inch B&M torque converter.
At the dragstrip, Fine Dime’s nitrous-huffing runs got it to the big end in 13.26 seconds at almost 106 mph. Like most trucks, getting the power down at the starting line wasn’t easy, and we never managed a 60-foot time better than 2.14. The pickup was more suited to the road course, where our test driver, Mike Essa, hustled it around the Streets of Willow in 1.38:14, which may not mean much, until we tell you that a 2014 Shelby Mustang made the same loop and wasn’t even a full second faster. Essa came in to the pits, saying Fine Dime was solid and neutral with predictable oversteer and good throttle response. Gary says the fast laps are due to a well-balanced package. “A lot of builders get so caught up in horsepower, they forget about handling, about braking. You need it all.”
HRM Staff Average Ranking on a Scale of 1 to 10, 10 Being Best