Oregon City C10
Words and Photos by Jason Sakurai
There’s a war that goes on inside the mind of Oregon City, Oregon’s Chris Church. While not a battle per se, it’s a voice that compels him to start another project, at times even when his current builds are not yet completed.
A fiber optic technician by profession, his background included doing high-end custom installations for Car Toys, the fifth largest mobile electronics retailer in the U.S. It’s his acute knowledge of and insatiable appetite for automobiles that consume Church’s free time. Luckily his wife, Angela, shares this passion.
Two years ago, Chris located a ’64 Chevy C-10 in fairly good shape – his favorite as a child. This led him to Portland, Oregon’s Carolina Kustoms, where he initially imagined the truck with a static drop, bigger wheels with low profile tires, clear over the faded patina, and possibly an engine swap. That was before the shop’s owner, Lonnie Thompson, convinced him that riding on air was the way to go, and that began a sequence of events.
A C-notched tubular front suspension, CPP drop spindles, RideTech springs and shocks, Borgeson steering, Hotchkis anti-sway bars, CPP brakes, Wilwood master cylinder, POL power booster, and twin Optima batteries were additions to the chassis. While the rear end was salvageable, it received an Eaton posi with 3.73 gears and 32-spline GM axles, before being painted and reinstalled. Powder coated 18 x 8-inch Wheel Vintiques wheels with derby caps and BFGoodrich 245/45ZR18 G-Force KDW tires comprised the rest of the chassis modifications.
Between the frame rails sits a ’96 LS3 on Energy Suspension mounts, a 6.0 that grew to 6.2 liters. A.C. Nutter Racing Engines in Vancouver, Washington did the deburring, machining and balancing, made necessary by the addition of a GM Performance cam and valve train, and a set of GM Performance LS3 heads, which were ported, polished and CC’ed. GM Performance pistons, rings, rods, and bearings, with ARP studs, a 170 amp Powermaster alternator, GM oil pump, Edelbrock water pump, Russell braided lines, and B&M engine and transmission oil coolers, provide the spark and the fluids. Up top, there’s a Holley 300-135 mid-rise intake, 100mm Holley throttle body, K&N air cleaner, MSD injectors, Katech coil relocation mount, modified Holley valve covers, and a Drive Junky front drive. Doug Thorley headers connect to a 2.5-inch Magnaflow exhaust system, for that powerful yet refined sound Chris sought.
Putting 550 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque to the ground is made easier thanks to a modified 4L65E transmission, with a B&M flywheel, special clutch plates, and a 2500 stall speed converter to handle 600 horsepower, directed by a Lokar shifter on an ididit column. Church wouldn’t get too far without the Performance Rod & Custom radiator, or the Boyds Welding EFI custom aluminum fuel tank with Aeromotive’s in-tank 340 Stealth GM-spec Pump, which at 40 psi flows more than 340 lph to fuel flow isn’t an issue over a wide pressure range.
Trading H4 halogens for the stock headlights, Church also replaced the taillights with LEDs. Straightening the sheet metal is but one of Carolina Kustoms’ many talents, and Chris was happy to let Thompson and his crew work their magic, which included tucking the bumpers in closer to the body. When it came time to select a color, Chris took his time until he found just what he was looking for: Boxwood Green, a PPG color originally used on ‘60s Fords. This set the tone for the dark wood used in the bed, and the black bed skid strips that hold it in place. Church took a section of a Harley-Davidson fender to make the rear end cover, adding a lip all around. Selecting just the right tire size to keep from having to make new wheel tubs, he then coated the metal parts of the bed with spray-in bed liner.
Inside, Jim’s Custom Upholstery in Portland used BMW onyx colored top grain leather, and hook and loop carpeting. Dakota Digital VHX gauges, Crow Enterprizes lap belts, a Biltwell dash-mounted bottle opener, and a Budnik steering wheel were added. The Alpine head unit that’s the sound source is powered by Rockford amps through Morel speakers. Church has yet to put a subwoofer under the seat, one more thing on his list, but what he did do is wire the C-10 with the same attention to detail that you would attribute to his work with fiber optics. For example, the controller for the RideTech airbags is embedded in the driver’s sun visor, with a surround Chris machined. The wiring for it runs through the A-pillar, a clean and simple installation that took untold hours to complete.
A Relaxed Atmosphere member, he attends most local shows, but his intent in building the Green Machine wasn’t for it to collect accolades, it was meant to turn wheels and this is what he does every chance he gets.