Rachael Durbidge’s 1963 Chev C10 panel truck

Top painter Rachael Durbidge turns a dull C10 Chev panel truck into a shimmering jewel

Photographers: Jordan Leist

FOR many years, a Chevy C10 was a dream car for Rachael ‘Durbz’ Durbidge. Not one of those common pick-ups, though, but a panel truck – a sort of oversized panel van. Rachael saw it as the perfect canvas for her to work her magic on, and in case you haven’t heard of her before, she’s kind of a big deal in her chosen field.

First published in the April 2021 issue of Street Machine

Rachael, originally from Gawler, SA, started a spray painting apprenticeship at age 15, and has never lost the passion for it almost 20 years later. If you want to check out some of her history, dig up SM, Apr ’16, where we covered her achievements up to that point in her life.

Fast-forward five years and Rachael is now living in Perth, WA, working both as a colour specialist and the local rep for House of Kolor, helping people with the technical side of things as well as creating custom paint colours. So you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the paint on this truck was not only applied by her, but it also came straight from her imagination, so you won’t see it anywhere else. She even gave it a name: Dirty Martini.

But we’d better back the truck up a bit, so to speak. Rachael had been keeping an eye out for a suitable project when this C10 finally popped up for sale on Facebook Marketplace in late 2019. “The guy sent me a video and I bought it there and then,” she says.

Rachael had just got back from a trip to SEMA, and she didn’t waste any time getting stuck into the truck, as one of her other jobs is working as a judge at Summernats, which was just a few weeks away. “I enjoyed one drive in her down to the local Northern Steel meet; then on 22 December I started stripping her down for a quick repaint,” she says. “By Christmas Day I had all of the repairs done and was putting on the first coats of HOK primer, and before I flew out to Summernats, I had the whole inside of the car painted.”

Once back from the ’Nats, the truck headed off to WA Suspensions, where it was lowered five inches all around and fitted with four-wheel disc brakes using a kit supplied by Classic Performance Parts (CPP). Unlike many pick-up trucks of this era, the C10 has coil springs on all four corners, so the CPP kit is made up of three-inch-lowered springs with a two-inch-dropped spindle for the front and five-inch-lowered coils for the rear.

The brakes are massive 13-inch drilled and slotted rotors, which required large-diameter rims for clearance, but instead of going for some giant billets – which did cross Rachael’s mind – she got in touch with BCI Wheels in Melbourne for a prototype set of the company’s deep-dish slotted rims. These then copped a coat of another of Rachael’s creations, Milk Money, an ivory white that also adorns the roof and parts of the interior.

With the car back from WA Suspensions and sitting a lot lower, Rachael got busy doing the final blocking in preparation for paint, but before she pulled the trigger, she wanted to make sure the colours she had created worked together. To that end, she wheeled out her beloved Honda Z50A and painted the tins in her two-tone colour scheme, and sent the seat off to Tyson Cummings at Pro Stitch to cop the same distressed leather treatment that she had planned for the truck’s interior.

And there was a lot of area to cover in there, with a couple of buckets in the front as well as a bench seat mounted in the cargo area; the truck is registered to carry five people. An added bonus is that the rear seat can easily be unbolted and flipped around to face backwards – perfect for a trip to the drive-in with the barn doors opened right up.

Rachael then spent two days dry-sanding the truck and then another day wet-sanding it all by hand.

“On 8 August, I pulled the trigger on the body of ‘Betty’. She was finally going from a life of primer to a new, sexy, dark/bright, olive/gold dream of mine,” Rachael says. “The next day, I painted the bonnet and fillet panels; then on Monday I rolled her out into the gloomy weather covered in the new, amazing HOK paint that I’d dreamed from a can to my car. My life of creating colours had finally paid off.”

The icing on the cake for Rachael was being able to display the C10, with the Z50A alongside it, at Motorvation 34. But she couldn’t even do any cruising, because she was running around judging cars and helping out with the event.

One thing’s for sure: this lady doesn’t like to sit still. What will cop the Durbz Kustoms treatment next? “It’s a race between an XP Falcon ute – currently in bodywork stage at Topline Restoration in SA – or the HQ Holden ute I already have in Perth,” she says.

Whichever one it turns out to be, we’ll be keeping an eye out for it!


Paint: HOK Dirty Martini

Type: 230ci Chevrolet six

’Box: Three-on-the-tree
Clutch: Stock
Diff: Stock

Front: CPP 3in-dropped springs, 2in-lowered spindle
Rear: CPP 5in-dropped springs
Shocks: KYB (f & r)
Steering: Standard
Brakes: CPP 13in drilled and slotted discs (f & r)

Rims: BCI Wheels prototype Chev steelie; 18×7.5 (f), 18×8 (r)
Rubber: Sailun Atrezzo 245/45R18 (f), RoadX RXQuest 275/40R18 (r)

Every single person that helped to make my truck so special; Mark Williams for the support throughout the whole process; Sean Flynn at Flynn’s Refinishing for letting me use the booth and workshop; Tyson Cummings at Pro Stitch for smashing the trim work in record time; Stu and Danny at WA Suspensions for sponsoring me with the amazing big brake and suspension upgrade; Daniel at BCI Wheels for going above and beyond for me; Geoff Ashdown at Park Automotive for the support throughout the build; Sam and Luke Treloar for helping on the truck before the photoshoot; Jordan Leist for helping my dream come true shooting the car and Boris Viskovic for sealing the dream in words; finally, my family, who have never seen my car due to COVID, but without your love and support there would never be a build with heart. PS: Owen Webb, you’re a part of my family, so you get the last thank you. Your support is without words.