Story: Evan “Evo” Yates
Photography: Andrew Link
Growing up watching her father race dirt bikes and autocross cars, Brandy Phillips of Huntington Beach, California, naturally gravitated toward the track. For years Brandy raced for Spectre Performance behind the wheel of various pro-touring-style cars, including their famous widebodied 1970 Camaro. But after years of racing, Brandy transitioned into a new chapter. “It was time for me to settle down and take a break from it,” says Brandy. After meeting her future husband, Rob Phillips, at a Goodguys event in 2009, the couple eventually had a child, which kept Brandy plenty occupied. In hopes to get his wife back into racing, Rob proposed an interesting opportunity. “Building the truck was Rob’s solution to get me back involved in racing after our son was born,” says Brandy. “He gave me the option of a wedding or a truck, and I chose the truck.”
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In August 2012, the couple acquired the C10 from another pro-touring trucker, Wes Drelleshak, who ultimately traded with Brandy and Rob for another truck in their garage. As to why the couple chose a truck to race, the answer is multifaceted: “Rob had a lot of spare parts from his ’69 C10, and he has a lot of in-depth knowledge of these trucks,” Brandy says. “And there wasn’t another female racing a truck on the pro-touring circuit.” Rob applied his prowess to the build with Brandy’s input the entire way. “My initial focus was on function,” explains Brandy. And thankfully, function is right up Rob’s alley.
Aspiring to construct a truck that was ultra lightweight and could handle as if it were on rails, Rob began with the basics. “My main focus was on safety and handling,” says Rob. “The motor was the easy part.” Rob did his research and reached out to industry professionals to compose the perfect suspension combination. “Kyle at [Detroit Speed & Engineering] told me about a new suspension of theirs to try,” says Rob. Cutting the factory C10 frame off just in front of the cab, Rob grafted in the GSE 595x subframe and boxed it in it directly to the truck’s roll cage. Rob also lowered the truck seven inches in the front and 10 inches in the rear. “I needed to get the weight as low to the ground as possible, because the cab makes it very top heavy,” explains Rob. He also modified the position of the LS1, placing it back an astonishing 12 inches to offset the truck’s improper geometry. In addition to dialing in the perfect suspension setup, weight reduction was a primary objective. To combat this problem, Rob incorporated a custom carbon-fiber hood, cowl, dash and wing, integrated carbon-fiber Kevlar seats, and fabricated the tonneau cover out of aluminum.
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Rob had a solid grasp on the truck’s exterior composition as he had amassed expertise in design as project manager on the popular TV show Overhaulin’ for three seasons. “I learned a lot from Chip Foose,” explains Rob. “Having the ability to see things others can’t see beforehand, and doing what others won’t do, ultimately makes a car what is in the end.” And applying this philosophy could certainly contribute to the C10R’s popularity today, as it’s become one of the most recognizable C10s in the world. “I have this extreme fetish with the Pagani Zonda,” says Rob. “So I took a lot of styling cues from it and integrated them into the truck.” From the paint scheme to the wing and even the gold-anodized wheels, Rob certainly went out on a limb, but ultimately, that’s what gave the unmistakable truck its true identity.