Big Bill Watson’s 1966 Chevy C10

By Rob Fortier   –   Photography by John Jackson

Seven years in the making (and only two years in our feature files!), Big Bill Watson’s ’66 C10, aka “Hired Gun,” is a true exercise in custom paint magic, among other things. But, Big Bill’s NOT a custom painter, per se … so how, exactly, did the Fleetside get its name?

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01 Custom 1966 Chevrolet C10 Pickup Flame Paint and Industrial Backdrop

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“As far as the name Hired Gun, that all started when one of my Relaxed Atmosphere club members built the truck originally,” Bill explains. “Pat Maxwell, of Maxwell Auto Design, is a well-known custom painter who’s been around for many years. He specializes in graphics and flames. It was his personal truck. To him it was never a show truck, just a cool cruiser that kinda represented who he is and what he does for a living. He travels all over doing custom paintwork for people.  That’s where the Hired Gun name came into play.

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02 Close up Flame Paint Detail on Custom 1966 Chevrolet C10

“When he brought the truck out, his first showing that I can remember seeing the truck at was LST about five to six years ago. When I saw it, I fell in love with it and tried for several years to buy it, but was told ‘It’s NOT for sale.’  Nevertheless, I kept trying. It was eventually sold to a mutual friend. I told the guy, ‘When the new wears off and you’re ready, call me … I want it.’ About six to seven months later he called me. My son and I made a mad dash to Houston the next day and dropped off a Milwaukee tool bag full of cash (literally).

10 Classic 1966 Chevy C10 Custom Paint Bicycle in Bed Warehouse

“The truck was never really ‘finished’ until I got it, so I decided to take it to the next level. I finished the interior, updated the bed floor, built a custom painted-to-match 29-inch SE Big Ripper BMX Cruiser, installed new Race Line Billet wheels to further complement the bagged and Porterbuilt-equipped chassis, and did some engine upgrades to the 4.8 LS.”

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15 1966 Chevrolet C10 Engine Bay with Custom Upgrades

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OK, Bill … then what, exactly do YOU do?

“My shop (Phat Designs) is one of my companies that has been around for about 20 years. I do a little bit of everything at my other companies, but my main focus is my love for almost anything custom has always and will always keep me in the shop building everything from old hot rods to custom trucks, muscle cars, and sports cars. It all started at a very early age for me (13 years old); I’ve been in the custom car/truck scene for nearly 40 years. Now, I have a 20-year-old son named Bryan who is as hard-core as I am when it comes to custom vehicles. He also has a ’66 C10 that’s in the works as well as a ’59 Apache and a ’70 Chevelle SS!”

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Big Bill Watson’s 1966 Chevy C10.ctp february 2024

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