QUIK7T – Matthew Mielczarek’s ’70 C10 Went From Street to Show to Track
“The first time I AutoCrossed was by mistake.”
Matthew Mielczarek’s comment about his introduction to AutoCross racing may sound farfetched, but limited parking spaces in the show grounds at a Pleasanton Goodguys event led him to find an open spot in the AutoCross pits. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
But before we get into exactly how one thing led to another, let’s go back to the first “accidental happening” between Matthew and his “QUIK7T” ’70 C10. Back in 2007 he was searching eBay for some work equipment. During his searches he would occasionally look for trucks to use as work vehicles. An original short bed ’70 Chevy C10 popped up in Redding, California that was mismatched in color with a blue bed, teal doors, and a black hood. The ad stated it was a running and driving truck with a 350/350 combo. There was not much bidding action on it, so Matthew placed a low offer figuring he would be outbid. To his surprise, his bid won.
Sight unseen, Matthew booked a one-way trip from his home (at the time) in Los Angeles to Redding to drive the truck home. When he arrived, Matthew learned that the 350 was built with a “gnarly camshaft,” open headers, no exhaust, and the original gas tank that filled the cab with fumes. He sealed the deal and headed 545 miles south back to LA, making about 10 gas stops getting an estimated 6-7 miles per gallon. It was during that adventurous drive that Matthew fell in love with his pickup.
For the first few years Matthew kept the truck mostly as he’d bought it, replacing parts as they failed. A couple years later he added 15-inch Cragar wheels and BFGoodrich radials, a 2- and 4-inch drop spring kit, and a power bench seat out of a 2001 Silverado. Around the same time, a friend’s son who was in high school reached out and asked if he could paint Matthew’s truck for a shop class project. Matthew agreed but couldn’t decide on the color, so he let the kid decide. A few months later and a couple hundred bucks for the PPG supplies, and the truck was delivered sporting a fresh copper finish – the same paint you see today.
With fresh paint, a new stance, and a nicer set of wheels, Matthew began taking a little more pride in his pickup. He began attending some cruise-in events and weekend gatherings and started seeing more “show trucks.” That pushed him to want to go a little further. The second version plan was to upgrade to air ride suspension, 20-inch Rally wheels, and an LS engine backed with an automatic transmission. What should have taken six months turned into a two-year headache with a local shop. Eventually the upgrades were finished, and Matthew had the show truck he wanted.
In was during this time that Matthew accidentally stumbled into the AutoCross pits at a Goodguys event. After arriving late and finding his usual parking spots taken, Matthew finally found a place to park and stepped away to grab lunch. Upon returning he was greeted by a Goodguys AutoCross tech inspector asking to tech his truck. “Tech? For what?” Matthew asked, and the Goodguys staff member informed him about AutoCross and welcomed him to run his truck around the track. With a little bit of a drag racing background, Matthew agreed to try.
Knowing nothing about racing with turns, Matthew was nervous. His palms were sweaty, he had no grip on the wood steering wheel, he let all the air out of his suspension, and his low-profile street tires offered little cornering grip. “I remember that first run” Matthew said. “I left the start line, peel out down the straightaway, turn into the first corner and the truck is still going straight,” he chuckles. “I hit the brakes and it caught, get back on the throttle and the truck is all over the place. Ahh…AutoCross! I get it now.”
At his next Goodguys event, Matthew arrived with the plan to AutoCross all weekend. He still had the air ride suspension, wood steering wheel, and the same tires, but he had a desire to learn and improve. Both he and the truck performed better with each lap, and it was just enough to convince Matthew to go all-in and convert his “show truck” into a race truck.
The third version of QUIK7T began in 2016. While researching handling and performance parts, Matthew stumbled across Brandy and Rob Phillips’ C10R as well as Rob MacGregor’s “Hellboy” C10 – both built with AutoCross performance as the main goal. Matthew decided to build version number three himself in his garage. Over the course of two years he added a few parts at a time while continuing to hone his driving skills. In 2018, he tore the truck down to a bare frame for a complete AutoCross build in his garage.
Matthew opted to update the original frame, ordering a front clip from Scott’s Hotrods and requesting custom A-arms and a larger 1 3/4-inch sway bar. He designed the rear suspension using a No Limit Truck Arm setup attached to a custom crossmember with a step notch in the frame and opted against a sway bar for better articulation to “plant” the rear tires in corners. The Ford 9-inch rearend housing was designed with 1 1/2-degrees of camber built-in as well as 1/16-inch of toe-in. Matthew added roll pans, a front spoiler, rear wing, and bedside exhaust exits to augment the new race theme.
During this rebuild Matthew replaced the automatic transmission with a Magnum T56 six-speed for full control on the track. The same 6-liter LQ9 engine out of a junkyard Denali from version number two remains in place. It was built by Matthew in his garage copying a Car Craft magazine tech article titled something along the lines of “How to get 550hp out of a Junkyard Engine.” He copied the article to a T and sure enough, it produces just over 500 horsepower. He’s working on getting an aluminum LS7 for the 2022 race season.
The interior has evolved, too, from the original bench, to a 2001 Silverado bench, to leather buckets, and now Corbeau racing seats. Matthew added a TMI dash pad, AutoMeter gauges, and American Autowire harness, ididit column, Lokar pedals, and a suede-wrapped Sparco steering wheel. The dash was wrinkle-coat painted black and still holds audio and Vintage Air controls, as Matthew still drives his truck a few thousand miles around town each year.
We asked Matthew what he would do differently with his truck, which is a loaded question as QUIK7T seems to be a constant work-in-progress. But he responded, “to build it just once, and not three times,” going straight to an AutoCross build from the start. There’s a lot to be learned from Matthew’s story for hot rodders of all segments. Try something new. Don’t be afraid to take your car around the AutoCross track. Talk to other drivers for beginner advice. You may be surprised by the outcome.
Photos by Matthew Mielczarek