Tony Brothers is a truck guy. When he’s not building a truck for himself, he’s horse trading for trucks he likes. Buying a truck and making a few changes can be a rewarding way to own some really cool hot rod haulers. His most recent acquisition is this 1981 Chevrolet C10, and much like Tony, we are impressed at how well these ’73-87 trucks take to some pretty traditional hot rod tricks.

The first thing that caught our eye was the paint scheme—a great blend of contemporary two-tone paint, divided by a set of very traditional House of Kolor candy apple flames. Beyond some door handle and emblem shaving, and the 3-inch Harwood cowl hood, the truck remains deceptively stock. The chrome bumpers are from a 1989 Chevy Blazer as is the core support and grille. The resulting blend of Chevrolet parts provides a unique all-Chevrolet custom, using the traditional hot rodding trick of adding newer parts to an older vehicle.

Lest you think this truck is all show and no go, think again. Under the hood a 1998 Chevy 350 is pounding out 450 horsepower thanks to Eagle rods and flat-top pistons. A Lunati cam controls the valvetrain and a Weiand intake and Edelbrock carburetor feed the potent small-block. Hedman ceramic-coated headers send the exhaust through Flowmaster mufflers, while twin electric fans move plenty of air through the Be Cool radiator.

Inside the truck a custom-formed console separates the 1996 Camaro bucket seats. Aluminum trim blends with hand-laid fiberglass panels to produce a dashboard like no other. Phantom gauges reside in the silver dash. A full rollcage fits tightly to the cab providing protection and some real performance flavor in the process.

A package that looks this good needs a chassis to match. The front suspension carries 2-inch drop spindles with RideTech air suspension, while out back a custom four-link locates the air-suspended 12-bolt rearend. The 18- and 20-inch Coys complete the package with Pirelli P-Zero tires providing ample grip.

This truck is a study in good packaging and proven hot rod methods. The truck was customized with parts available from any of the Chevrolet truck aftermarket suppliers, proving you don’t have to do extensive surgery to have a cool truck.