Outward appearances can fool you. The outside of Del Uschenko’s shop in Burbank, California, only offers a clue as to what’s going on inside. The sign says Old Crow Speed Shop, but it’s also the home of Delmo’s Speed and Kustom. And all those patina’d trucks parked out front have been customized in a style that is a long way from mainstream, but is attracting a lot of fans (hmm, maybe that’s why).
Del grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His high school driver during the late ’80s was a 1963 GMC. Later, he started professionally building high-end hot rods at Hotrods Inc. in the town of Airdrie. When Del’s wife Ola found a nursing job in Southern California, they packed up a U-Haul and headed south. Del was hired as a builder/fabricator at Hollywood Hot Rods in Burbank. “I worked there for a year. During that time I became friends with Bobby Green at Old Crow Speed Shop right next door. Bobby offered me some shop space, and it seemed like a good time to do my own thing. So I left Hollywood Hot Rods on good terms and rolled my tool box 50 feet up the sidewalk, and I’ve been here ever since.”
After finishing a couple of traditional hot rods, Del built a 1965 C10 as a personal project. On the outside, it retained the worn factory paint and every sheetmetal scar ever earned. Underneath, the chassis was meticulously built, with top-shelf parts from Porterbuilt, AccuAir, and Classic Performance Products. It was slammed to the pavement, and outfitted with defiantly large 22-inch Smoothie wheels, powdercoated black with chromed ’56 Chevy caps. The truck got huge attention on the Internet—and a feature in the March 2011 issue of CCT.
“After that things went crazy and the truck thing just took off,” Del said. Delmo’s Speed & Kustom has since built many trucks with what has become known as the Delmo treatment.
“The easiest way to describe my combination is clean, keeping the outside looking the way the factory did it, but upgrading things that you can’t really see, to make it run and drive like a new truck. That includes powdercoating the chassis, four-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, a fuel-injected engine or at least a newer electronic distributor, and overdrive.
“There is a lot of attention to detail. Brake lines and fuel lines are all finished nicely. I do weatherstrips and window fuzzies and Dynamat and carpet. All of that comes from my hot rod background. These are low-budget builds, but they’re safe and reliable. You can’t shut that off just because the truck has no paint.”
Another good way to describe the Delmo style is to show you some trucks built that way. The four classic pickups presented here—two Chevys and two GMCs—are variations of that style. And all of them have the most important trait of any Delmo-built truck: they are daily drivers. CCT
Mason Wright, Long Beach, CA
1969 Chevy C10
This ’69 C10, known as Nacho Truck, is owned by Mason Wright. He met Del through Nate Porter from Porterbuilt, who had provided suspension parts for Mason’s ’70 GMC. Del spotted the C10 on the Craigslist website and went to Tijuana, Mexico, (hence the truck’s nickname) with Mason to check it out. Mason liked the rust-free sheetmetal and sunbaked finish, bought the truck, brought it stateside, and the rebuild began.
Although it’s the latest of these four trucks, it runs the earliest engine (and the only carbureted, engine). The 350 small-block is from a third-generation Corvette, with first-gen Corvette valve covers.
As testimony to the truck’s dependability and function, a hidden hitch was installed and is frequently used to pull a trailer. You probably remember the full feature we published in the May 2013 issue of CCT.
A Porterbuilt notch assembly, front drop member, body drop—plus Classic Performance Products drop spindles and airbags operated by an AccuAir kit—put the C10 on the ground. Shocks are KYBs. Trailing arms suspend the GM 12-bolt, packed with 3.70:1 gears.
The Chevy 350 small-block is topped with an Edelbrock carburetor. The air cleaner and suede black valve covers are from a 327. Block hugger headers handle the exhaust. The transmission is a 700-R4.
Wheels & Tires
The 22x9.5 and 20x8 Delmo Specials (built from modified Smoothies) feature clip-on ’56 Chevy truck caps, and wear 285/35R22 and 245/40R20 Desert Hawk radials.
The truck came across the border with virtually no rust, and a complementary patina to the stock GM gold paint. Del raised the bed 8 inches.
The inside stays stock. The replacement bench is covered with houndstooth pattern repro Chevy vinyl. A new stock dash was installed. An up-to-date sound system is iPod controlled.