In Mike Espinoza's little slice of the world known as Pueblo, Colorado, classic trucks aren't that uncommon, but finding a clean example is. And if you're searching for a certain vintage vehicle, well, that will complicate matters further. After all, the area gets plenty of summer rain and winter snow, and folks in Colorado use their trucks like, well, trucks. But in Mike's case, he'd had his eyes on one truck in particular. He'd always wanted a truck from the year of his birth, and for Mike, it had to be a Chevrolet.
Mike had been eyeballing a certain '72 for quite some time, and he knew a thing or two about the truck-including the fact it was still owned by the man who drove it off the showroom floor. And although it hadn't exactly been used to haul tons of feed and tack over the years, it had seen its share of Colorado-style use, including weather of every kind and plenty of highway miles. So when Mike first approached the owner, it came as no real surprise that he wasn't ready to part with his faithful Chevy. From time to time, Mike would see the old gentleman around town or at the auto parts store, and each time he inquired, the answer was the same. Undeterred, Mike began putting aside some ready cash just for the day the old man would be willing.
Then one day it happened. Mike's two years of patience finally paid off when, on his way home, he spotted a red and white "For Sale" sign in the truck's rear window as it sat in the driveway. Mike hurried home for that cash he'd set aside, and the pair consummated the deal right on the spot.
Mike started with the '72's original 350-inch small-block engine, which was hot-tanked, then given a complete rebuild by Mike and his brother Ray, bringing it back to factory specs, plus a little extra thrown in the way of a hotter cam with an Edelbrock carb and manifold. For exhaust, headers and a 3-inch X-shaped system were custom-fabricated by Steve at A-Real Muffler & Brake in Pueblo. During the course of this project, the brothers handled so much of the work at Ray's house that it's now affectionately known as Rayz' Garage.
The Espinoza brothers had the '72 down to just a bare frame on blocks in short order, and they went on to rebuild the 700R4 trans and give the 4:11 rearend a fresh set of bearings, then set it up to run quiet for years to come.
Boss 312 kind of sounds like...
Boss 312 kind of sounds like an early Ford Y-block motor, but it's actually the name of the 20-inch wheels on Mike's '72. The tires are from BFGoodrich.
The original 350-inch small-block...
The original 350-inch small-block sports an Edelbrock carb and intake with a beefed 700R4 to back it up. Final gearing comes from a rebuilt 4.11:1 rearend.