Dulgerian's 1963 Chevy C10
Stick to your Guns
Have you ever started a project, be it home improvement, automotive or otherwise, and wound up going farther than planned? New window treatments inexplicably morphed into painting the living room and refinishing the hardwood floors; a weekend reserved for replacing a heater core resulted in a two-year frame-off restoration. Things happen.
Fortunately, these scenarios are not the story of #PracticalMagic, the ’63 Chevrolet pickup laid out before you. Travis and Danielle Dulgerian purchased the mostly stock C10 with the intent of putting it together with a modern drivetrain, air suspension and a few goodies to serve as a temporary, rolling billboard for their business, Pro Performance. After a year or two making the rounds at various car shows, the ’63 would be sold to help finance Travis’ high school ride, a 1985 Chevy short box. As Travis and his dad, Jack, got deeper into the ’63 and started bringing the assembled chassis to events, there was an ‘ah ha’ moment; they decided one night over a couple of frosty root beers that the ’63 should stay and the pile of ’85 truck would move a little further down the road.
With cash in hand, a clear mind and a clear garage, progress on #PracticalMagic really stepped up. To save time and money, the body was left as-purchased; the bumps, bruises, tailgate chains and the “Heartbeat of America” sticker all stayed. The exterior appearance is what helped give the truck its name. Rather than call it patina, or in progress, I call it practical. It’s nice enough to take to a Goodguys show, or most recently, the SEMA Show, without embarrassment, yet rough enough that it can be left in a parking lot without an aneurysm. It’s a pair of jeans at that magical point in their life where they look good but aren’t afraid to mow the lawn and they fit just right.
The reflector-collector stance is courtesy of front and rear suspension systems from Porterbuilt Fab on the original chassis. Airbags from AirLift and Firestone are perched fore and aft, taking the truck from curb-hopping to squishing ants in a few seconds; it’s a practical solution to the age-old discomfort of driving a slammed truck. Dual VIAIR compressors ensure the AccuAir E-Level system has plenty of air to work with; Travis has full control over his altitude with a slick little remote which is a far cry from the massive switch boxes of mini trucks past. Getting the fuel tank out of the cab was a must, so a Boyd Welding tank now resides under the bed. Hot Rods by Boyd 20” Smoothie III’s make up the rolling stock, adding a vintage flair in a modern size. Negative acceleration is provided by a complete Baer Brakes system with 14” rotors up front and 13s out back.
Under the enormous hood resides a 5.3L Gen III powerplant fished out of a wrecked Tahoe and fitted with a Texas Speed camshaft. With a 4L60 bolted to its backside, the little guy provides commuter-esqe fuel economy, a tough idle and enough thrust to keep the cab stocked with smiles. With such a small cabin, it didn’t take much to make it look good. Naturally Travis and Danielle went with Dakota Digital VHX instruments; the Black Alloy face styling and white backlight offer a traditional look while interfacing seamlessly with the modern driveline. Stock door panels have been wrapped for a distinctive look, and a Vintage Air system tucks up under the dash. Hot Rods by Boyd came through with a steering wheel to match the wheels, and it was ceremoniously perched atop a high-quality ididit column. The seat is one of the most asked about features of the truck, and oddly enough, it’s what Travis knows the least about. “I am not sure what the seat is out of. It was in the truck when I bought it and I just had it reupholstered.” There you have it.
With the ’63 done, the Dulgerians have been enjoying the heck out of it; the maiden voyage was from Phoenix to Pleasanton, CA with stops in Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. Being a feature vehicle at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas was perhaps the highlight of 2015, and with that bucket-list item already crossed off, Travis and Danielle can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for them. When asked if he misses his ’85 he said yes, but with a son on the way, maybe the square-body dream will be realized in the form of a K5 Blazer or Suburban. After all, how big of a project could one of those really be?