Eugene Els from Kempton Park grew up around cars. His dad used to fix up cars in his spare time and Eugene would hang out with him as a kid whilst he was busy and it was from there that his interest in old cars grew. He always had a soft spot for a classic however, he did not want an old car with an underpowered engine and bad breaking so the solution for him was always going to be a Hotrod. The paint, the color, the engine – the whole look just appeals to him.
Eugene Els’ brother-in-law Ross picked up the 1965 Chevy C10 from a township in Rustenburg. At the time, Eugene didn’t even know what a C10 was. It was in pieces, completely stripped and a lot of the parts were missing and what remained was very old. All the panels were loose and there was not much to work with at all. Ross started the project by stripping the vehicle down and shared his ideas and dreams for the C10. However, at one point, he asked Eugene if he wanted to take the project over from him.
Eugene says “I see so many guys building up cars and taking short cuts. I am a purist and even though this vehicle is a Hot Rod, I wanted to make sure that I built it the correct way. I would rather have 1 perfect car than 10 mediocre ones.”
Ross originally did all the legwork on the project which made things a lot easier for Eugene. The visible rust was not so bad and Eugene sent the shiny parts to be chromed. He then turned to working on his massive shopping list that needed to be sent to LMC Trucks in the USA. The body was sent off to a shop for rust repairs. This, however, did not work out very well and the car was moved to Wessels Motors. On inspection, they found that the work that the previous shop had done was not correct and everything had to be redone.
Eugene said “We thought about redoing the load body as it does not line up at the bottom but for me this is a Chevy C10 built in Port Elizabeth, SA – it is unique so I decided against making any changes”.Eugene, being the perfectionist that he is, wanted everything absolutely pristine and the this meant that the truck was painted 4 times to get the body and paint looking exactly the way he wanted it to. After seeing the end result of the Soul Red and Pearl White, it was well worth it.
When it came to the motor, Eugene had a Chevy 408 cubic inch stroker motor built by Prestige Motor Sport USA. On the Dyno they measured 506hp @ 6000rpm. It came with all the goodies like a quick fuel carb 850cfm and an Edelbrock intake just to name a couple. He also added Hooker headers with a stainless dual 63mm exhaust pipe that also had dual butterfly valves. Most of the motor is chrome but for the block, which is painted with a high heat resistant epoxy red. It all runs to a 350 auto box with high stall converter that was also imported from Prestige Motor Sport USA. For the most, Eugene’s vision was reached however there were some differences in opinion. For example, it was suggested that the carpets be grey but he insisted on red.
The new engine was much more powerful and therefore they had to fit anti roll bars and reduce the overall height of the vehicle. He did not want to use any other car’s suspension as many guys do in this situation in order to save money so in order to stay true to Chevy, he imported a drop suspension kit from LMC. He also ordered a full disc brake kit for the for the front and for the original Chevy 12 bolt rear diff. Anti roll bars were also added to the chassis to compensate for extra power.
Eugene wanted to keep the interior classic with just a few small personal touches. The ashtray was missing so Anton Wessels made a new one, from scratch, by hand. Eugene is all about the way things are done in life and to have all that effort put into something that will probably never be used shows the pride that someone has in their work. It reminds him a lot of his dad who passed away and used to do things in the same way. The foot pedals were also handmade with wood inlays. Once again, showing the attention to detail that he loves. The upholstery was done by Wessels Motors. The original seat was repaired and recovered. Power steering with a chrome column shift, new imported gauges and steering wheel were the final touches to complete the interior.
To finally finish the Pick-up the grille was repaired and rechromed, a set of XD Series wheels were imported and then wrapped with Mickey Thompson Street Comp – 305/35/R20s.There is a lot of pride and attention to detail put into the build of this vehicle. One thing that stands out is that if you put it up on a lift, the interior would look as good as the exterior. It is immaculate from the bottom to the top – the pipes, suspension, exhaust lines – everything just works together perfectly.
When Eugene first saw the finished truck, his wife had arranged a surprise unveiling and he was left speechless finally seeing it complete. When people used to pop past Wessels Motors and see all the cars in the workshop, his was always the favourite – Eugene feels the same way.
Eugene would like to thank:
Verna Els – his wife
Anton and JP Wessels – Wessels Motors
Bart Schlebusch – JPW Manufacturing
Jegs High Performance Parts
Prestige Motor Sport USA