There's a one-block street in the middle of Burbank, California, called E. Palm Avenue. It's wedged in between the Golden State Freeway and a forest of corporate chain restaurants, stores, and theaters, and you could drive past it a hundred times and never even notice it. But drive down it once and you'll remember it for a long time. Within a couple hundred feet, a high number of impressive hot rods, customs, and custom classic trucks are being built. Old Crow Speed Shop, halfway down the block, is usually overflowing it's old-time shop walls with cars and trucks built along traditional lines, including a Bonneville land speed belly tanker you've probably read about in other magazines. One door down, Hollywood Hot Rods is always packed with top-shelf vehicles that frequently end up in magazines and books and on television. Troy from HHR calls us from time to time to make sure we know what's being built on E. Palm. The last time he did, it was to tell us about a '65 Chevy C10 pickup at Old Crow that we needed to see and put us in touch with the owner and builder, Del Uschenko.
Mixing and matching old and new styles, like Del did, is tricky business if you're not careful. Del succeeded in slamming the truck and filling the front and rear wheelwells with 22-inch rims while at the same time preserving the character of the cool old truck. Best of all, he did it himself.
The super-sized wheels were something Del had been thinking about even before jumbo billet rims became a fad. "When I was younger, I would draw these trucks with huge wheels on them," he said. When he started planning the Chevy he knew he wanted it low with big wheels without looking all modern and fancy.
"The first thing I bought was a full set of Center Line Smoothies, 22x9s all around. Before I turned a bolt on the truck, I wanted to change the wheels to look right. I modified some '56 Chevy truck caps, painted the wheels black, and mounted them up."
When Del was in high school, a '63 GMC had been his daily driver. Since then, he's owned a bunch of old cars, but always wanted to drive a '60s GMC or Chevy truck again-and he needed a pickup for hauling parts. This one showed up on the Craigslist online classified ads website, for sale in Modesto. Del asked a friend from Northern California to go check it out and snap some photos. "The truck looked great in the pictures," he told us, "so I pulled the trigger."
As it turns out, the body was clean and didn't require a lot of work or money. As he tore apart the truck, Del discovered that the frame was clean too, and bolting on the suspension parts was a pretty simple job. Porterbuilt Street Rods provided the front and rear suspension products, including the front crossmember, control arms, and antisway bar. A Classic Performance Products Modular drop 3-inch spindle and disc brake package was also used in front. Del rebuilt the Posi rearend with a fresh 3.73:1 ring-and-pinion combo, and kept the stock drum brakes. He mounted KYB shocks at all corners. Front and rear air bags are controlled by an AccuAir management system with a York 210 series compressor from a Volvo supplying endless quantities of air. Del built the chassis in bare metal and dropped the body on to check clearances. Then it was disassembled, sent for powdercoating, and reassembled.
When the truck was apart, Del pulled out the stock six-banger, replacing it with a freshly built 350 small-block, with a 650-cfm Edelbrock four-barrel and Weiand manifold to keep it fed, and HEI ignition to keep it fired. The painted valve covers are early Chevy 283 items. This was originally a four-speed truck, but Del installed a 700R4 automatic built by Pacoima Transmission Shop "for some nice highway speeds," and added a trans cooler. The shifter was routed to the e-brake handle.