There’s a shop in Burbank, California, that’s like a portal to the past. Walk in on any given day and you’ll see the walls covered with vintage automotive parts and the shop filled with a variety of traditionally inspired hot rods. At one end, you might find an authentic belly tank land-speed racer, owned by Old Crow Speed Shop. At the other end, you’re likely to find Del Uschenko of Delmo’s Speed & Kustom, working on a custom truck.
If we had to describe Del’s build style in three words or less, we’d call it “subtle with clues.” Something like a simple-looking ’69 C10 with sun-faded original paint, but an impossibly low posture and some super-sized painted smoothies—indicates that it might not be that simple.
We got our first look at this truck at an open house at Delmo’s Speed & Kustom. Soon after, Del put us in contact with its owner, Mason Wright.
Mason has been nuts about C10s since his parents bought him a ’70 GMC SWB truck when he was a teenager. “It was hacked up a bit, but it had a decent interior, and it was fast, bagged, and low,” he remembers. In 2001, he took the truck to C10 specialist Nate Porter to “unhackify my truck.”
Mason eventually sold the truck, and when he started looking around for another C10 to build into a patina’d, bagged, slammed driver, Nate’s Arizona-based Porterbuilt Fabrication shop was 400 miles from Mason’s home in Long Beach, California. Nate encouraged Mason to contact Del for a truck with the look that Mason wanted.
Del’s first contribution was to point Mason toward a ’69 Chevy they’d seen for sale on Craigslist. Everything about it seemed good, minus the fact that it was located way off the beaten path in Tijuana, Mexico. “To sum it up,” said Mason, “I fell in love with the truck and was back in Mexico four days later making the transaction.”
How or when the C10, now nicknamed Nacho Truck, ended up in Tijuana in the first place is part of the story that may never be told. The body was virtually rust-free, except for a tiny spot in the bed, and time under the Mexican sun had given the stock Chevy gold paint just the right toasty patina that Mason was looking for.
When the truck arrived in Burbank, Del started by pulling the body off the ’rails and rebuilding the chassis. The most prominent external trait of the ’69 is its belly crawl stance. Del’s chassis work and lowering products from Porterbuilt—including their notch assembly, front dropmember, and bolt-on body drop—contribute to the low profile.
Porterbuilt also provided the tubular A-arms and rear trailing arms. Classic Performance Products modular drop spindles were added in front. The four-corner air shocks are AccuAir Suspension’s e-Level kit. All Mason has to do is bleed the bags and Nacho Truck drops to the ground like a cat stalking a robin. Once the modifications had been made, the chassis was powdercoated. When Del reinstalled the bed, he raised the floor to fit over the chassis mods and modified the tubs.
The truck’s second most prominent trait has to be the fender-filling, cream-colored wheels. The 22x9.5 and 20x8 Delmo Specials are modified Centerline Smoothies, painted and accessorized with Chevrolet center caps. Desert Hawk wide low-profile radials are 285/35R22 rears with 245/40R20s filling the modified inner fenders in front. A CPP master cylinder feeds 13-inch disc brakes to stop the front, with stock drums retained in back.
Packing the engine compartment is a 350ci small-block that once powered a ’76 Corvette. Del rebuilt the Chevy for the C10, shooting it with a coat of gold and adding an Edelbrock intake manifold and four-barrel carburetor, topped with a factory 327 air cleaner. The valve covers are ’54 Corvette pieces. A pair of block-hugger headers carry the exhaust out through Flowmaster mufflers. The 350 is backed up by a column-shifted 700-R4 transmission, also built by Del. A shortened driveshaft ties the trans to a Posi-equipped rearend.
The preserved style of the exterior is carried over into the cab. The quality condition of the truck gave Mason and Del the freedom to do exactly what they wanted—leave it alone. The gauges and steering wheel are factory. Reproduction Chevy truck deluxe seat covers feature grained vinyl with houndstooth inserts. One very unstock upgrade is the “amazing” (Mason’s description) iPod-operated Rockford Fosgate audio system, including two-way speakers in the kick panels and rear corners plus a 12-inch subwoofer.
For as low as it goes, Nacho Truck is very drivable, a fact that Mason proves by driving the C10 as often as possible. He told us that his wife, Chelsea, deserves huge thanks for her patience during the buildup. As far as awards, he’s earned some of the best: “a lot of snapped necks, heads bobbing, and thumbs up.”