Growing up with an older brother can have its good times and its bad times. For instance, when your brother gets a '60 Panel truck, and it makes you so insanely jealous that you just have to have one or one relatively similar. This seemed to be the case with Darran Conrad and his older brother, but clearly Darran took his Panel to another level. Check out how this hot '65 C10 Panel came to be what it is today.
At just 16 Darran came across the Panel in a Rapid City, South Dakota, paper. Darran still remembers the ad reading "1965 Chevy Panel good condition cracked block $400." He decided to take out a small loan to purchase the Panel, which then sat for roughly three months while he saved up some money to replace the motor. "I found a 283 that I was told was good but it smoked like a low-flying crop duster," Darran says. With the help of his parents he bought and rebuilt a 327 and had this baby cruising in no time. Owning the Panel for 33 years now Darran has had plenty of time to build the beauty up to where it is today. It went through many changes over the years, Darran's stepdad owned a body shop so all through school he would work there, learning tricks of the trade and using his newfound knowledge to put his Panel together. Darran used his Panel for everything from hauling motorcycles to go-karts, furniture, and friends. "I had a lot of friends that drove around with me partying, and we chased a lot of girls. The Panel became the rolling party vehicle," Darran says. "I got a nickname of 'Wheelie King' for being able to rock the front up and down with the throttle and get the wheels off the ground about a foot or so."
After high school and going through numerous transmissions and such, Darran used the Panel as his daily driver. In 1988 he moved to Gillette, Wyoming, and stopped driving his Panel. Letting is sit for nearly 13 years Darran decided it was time to dust it off and drive it again. Smoke came out of the tailpipes on the very first drive he took. "The next thing I knew the front clip was off, engine was out, and the Panel was sitting in front of the garage," Darran says. After looking at it for some time Darran decided to take the body off and get the truck done right. With some help from his wife, a floor jack, jackstands, and steel sawhorses, the body was off, and the frame was ready to be blasted.
Darran decided to go with the A-arms and spindles from a '76 Suburban. Taking a liking to the power steering box he nabbed that as well to toss on his Panel. He used a lot of parts here and there from the 'Burban, including the crossmembers and master cylinder. For the suspension Darran didn't want to just drop this Panel and call it good, he wanted this baby to sit as close to the ground as possible. So he went with an air-ride suspension all the way around from RideTech, using front and rear gas-charged shocks from RideTech as well. Darran assembled the rear axle, which is a stock limited slip with a 3.73 gear ratio. He added a suspension from Energy Suspension and body mount bushings too for added comfort to his body and steering. Darran, being crafty, decided to fab up his own front hubs as well as the rotor hats for the rear. Not too many people can say they accomplished that. Nicely done, Darran! After a few bad past experiences with braking issues on his Panel and knowing what he knows now, Darran went with 12-inch Wilwood four-piston disc brakes up front with billet calipers and 12-inch Wilwood four-piston discs on the rear as well. It's pretty safe to say that he took care of any braking issues he once had with that sweet combo.