Words and Photos by Kevin Whipps
There’s a group of guys out there who believe in building their trucks a very specific way. The frame and/or body lays parallel to the ground, the suspension is modernized for improved handling at very low drive heights, snd the outside is never touched. No paint is sprayed, no ugly mirrors removed. These are the guys who live by their patina.
Sam Castronova is one of those men. This is his ’65 C-10, but the story of this truck actually starts with Del Ushenko from Old Crow Speed Shop in Burbank, California. A few years ago, Del decided that he wanted to build a C-10 that not only laid on the ground, but kept all of the original look and feel as it would if it was never modified at all. And he did it in very short order.
Making a truck looks as though it’s never been touched takes a lot more delicate care than one would think. Blowing apart the chassis into a million pieces means carefully recording where bolts go and keeping things organized such as which rotted bed board goes where. On the plus side though, you don’t have to worry about scratching the paint — that just adds to the character.
Del tore that truck down to nothing, installing a Porterbuilt Dropmember kit front and rear, and installing Slam Specialties bags on all four corners. The air is provided by a York a/c compressor mounted to the 350 V8 up front, and an Accuair e-level kit keeps the truck at a solid position no matter what ride height he chooses. This particular bodystyle of Chevy truck blends nicely with those mods, and puts the bottom of the body just fractions of an inch away from the ground while the frame contacts the asphalt solidly.
Del worked a few more tricks into the build, including a few that have been copied since. Take the transmission shifter, for example. Instead of connecting the 700r4 to a column or floor linkage, he ran a cable and mounted it to the stock emergency brake handle that’s mounted on the steering column. Then there’s the wheels, 22-inch Centerlines with powdercoated centers. To get the Chevy hubcaps to fit, he drilled and tapped the wheels, then bolted hubcap clips to the rim’s face. Then it was just a matter of pushing the hubbies on to lock them in place.
He built the truck and posted lots of pics online, which is how Sam discovered it. He quickly made Del an offer, and they decided that when Del drove it to the Goodguys show in Scottsdale that they would exchange paperwork for greenbacks. Sure enough, Del made the initial journey from Cali to Arizona in the truck, and left it there the following Monday.
Sam decided not to mess with the patina perfection that was the ’65, but he did make a few tweaks here and there. For example, he swapped out the rear bumper for a custom shaved model with the license plate notch positioned on the right side of the truck. A lot of older parts were rechromed as well, and yet even with all of those improvements, the bench seat still has the original material, and the build sheet from the factory is still stuffed behind the original cushions.
This isn’t Sam’s only patina’d creation, but it is one of his favorites. When last we spoke, he was considering an LS engine upgrade like he has in his ’59 truck, another rusted ride of his complete with a basketball-sized dent in the roof. Sure, Sam may appreciate pretty rides with lots of custom paint, but for him, it’s all about the original faded finish.
For more of Kevin’s work, check out http://whippsindustries.com/