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Oftentimes we see diesel guys having to choose between power and appearance, as many of the super-powered diesel competition trucks simply can’t be built to look pretty because of weight restrictions and other factors that may hinder performance. Unfortunately, the two simply don’t mix (in most cases). Yet we still find the occasional show truck from time to time that’s hiding something more under the hood; some diesel guys just can’t help themselves.
We don’t blame them though, especially when the truck in question is a vintage restoration that probably doesn’t have the greatest powerplant. Like we’ve explained in the past, these are some of the best project builds for a proper engine swap. Gas to diesel or the other way around, the result is usually something pretty cool.
Case in point, this fully restored and customized 1969 Chevrolet C10 built by Trevor Lima. The second generation (1967-1972) of General Motors’ C/K series of full-size pickup trucks are some of the most revered vintage trucks in their catalog. Not only were they popular, reliable, and some of the easiest-to-drive classic Chevy trucks, they are simply nice to look at with their iconic design.
Lima is the owner of Diesel Performance Specialties, a Weatherford, TX based automotive shop that handles everything from gauges to turbos to complete transmissions and more. They’re not only a provider of performance parts, but also a diesel installation and repair facility with experience with all Dodge, Ford, GMC and Chevy diesel trucks.
Lima’s project began in 2015, and with a few impressive builds already under his belt, he knew it was time for the perfect dream build. The truck quickly turned into a diesel trifecta when Lima decided to go all out. On the outside is a classic 1969 Chevy K20 single cab body, but underneath the hood is a 2005 5.9L common rail Cummins engine supported by a 2010 Ford F-250 chassis.
After all the upgrades and additions Lima added, the finished product added up to around $250,000. And while he put a ton of effort into beautifying the beast, the 5.9L powerplant means that it’s still capable of burning some rubber or tearing up dirt.
The Cummins engine was machined by NAPA Machine Shop and completely assembled in-house at Diesel Performance Specialties. The 5.9L block was deburred, bored .020 over and balanced after assembly.
The goal was to build a proper show truck that could double as a weekend driver, so Lima added several performance upgrades that help the truck put down 1500 ft/lb of torque and 800 horsepower.
Carillo rods, Mahle pistons and ported and polished iron cylinder heads have all been fitted. Intake and exhaust valves, pushrods, lifters and a 188/220 camshaft all came from Hamilton Cams. A Mishimoto intercooler was also added.
As for aspiration, a large S369 SXE with a billet wheel and race cover produces 60 psi of boost. For fuel, a 12mm BD Diesel Performance stroker injection pump is supported by an Airdog 220 GPH lift pump and Exergy Performance 100% over injectors.
To make that 800 horsepower, everything is controlled by an HP Tuner done by Firepunk Diesel.
Lima has since sold his 1969 Chevy to a buyer in Pennsylvania where he hopes it will be driven like it was intended to.
Diesel of the Week is sponsored by AMSOIL. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected].