The interior has come a long way since the milk crate days. Fernando and his passengers can now park themselves in style on an '88 Chevy pickup bench, upholstered in gray leather and tweed by Dominic Dominguez. Some of the tweed was saved for the top of the dash. Rick Roche installed and wired the Dakota Digital gauges and the A/C. In the Phoenix area, air conditioning is a requirement for any truck that gets driven, and a unit from Old Air Products keeps the cab from overcooking. The B&M shifter and two-tone Lecarra steering wheel are other custom components inside the cab, further modified with custom billet door handles, and a molded headliner.

We never would've learned any of this information if our attention hadn't been grabbed by the overall looks of Fernando's Chevy in the first place. Give Fernando's brother Carlos credit for that; he's the guy who smoothed out all the dents, patched up all the rust, and added the molded rolled pan. A custom billet grille replaces the stock egg carton piece and a cowl-induction hood was put in place to provide some fresh air to the engine-and to clear the air cleaner. Fernando retained the factory bed, which now features a smoothed tailgate and a Gaylord cover. His cousin Humberto installed the glass, provided by 20th Street Auto in Phoenix. The paint was shot by Carlos, but not during the latest rebuild. We were surprised to find out that the NAPA Bluebird Blue had been sprayed during the previous buildup, 11 years earlier. It still looks great.

The billet aluminum five-spokes are from Intro Wheels' V-Rod series. With 20x8.5s in front and 22x10s in the rear, there's still enough room in the wheelwells for the low-profile, high-performance Nitto Extreme radials, sized P255/35ZR20 and P285/35ZR22.

Nowadays, Ferrnando tries to drive the truck on a weekly basis, and shows it off whenever there's a show to go to.

So is it done?

Don't count on it. "I think this is going to be a never-ending project. Just when I think I'm through working on this truck, I come up with something else to change."

Why, we wondered. Since so many other cars and trucks have come and gone over the years-what's different about this one that has kept it in Fernando's possession for 12 years and counting?

"I can't bring myself to part with this one. I just always liked the way it sits. I drove it for three years as an everyday driver and I've been through this truck so many times, I know all the ins and outs. Now it's resting in my garage waiting for the next show or cruise. Every time I start to think about selling it, I just start looking at it and then change my mind."

Then turning practical, he said, "I know I'd never get my money out of it anyway."