As we like to do as often as possible, we let the owner step in and tell us about their truck. Straight from the horse’s mouth, as they say. Today’s guest is the one and only, Southwest C10 guru, Sam Castronova…
“Joe Yezzi of Squarebody Syndicate discovered the patina’d cab and front sheet metal in an old junk yard. Drawn to the perfectly faded door art and unique splatter patina, he snagged it and immediately called me knowing I would be the guy to take on such a project. He was right. I built the famous ‘68 service body truck “Angelo” years before, and soon after it was finished I sold it to a gentleman who dismantled it so you could say I had some unfinished business. I immediately called Delmo to grab a custom chassis, dug around my storage and found some NOS out of production 18×8 Cragars that would bring that low riding style to a truck that had so much southwest flavor. Accuair quickly swiped my credit card and shipped out the latest CVT system and then I sourced a factory 454/700r4 from a local junk yard. I still needed a bed. I spent weeks searching the internet and found the perfect patina bed with era correct Koenig side boxes on the Squarebody Syndicate facebook classifieds. Finally called Robert Beasley, because I was gonna need a right hand man who wasn’t afraid to help build a truck in my garage right smack in the middle of a hot Phoenix summer.
Rob and I had Palo Verde ready for a test drive in a matter of 2 months, but during that first trip around the block, the engine developed a knock. Nothing makes me fall out of love faster than a rod knock, so I parked it on the side of the house until I figured out a new plan. A few months later, Jason Bowman of Discovery’s Shifting Gears Fame, had opened up a new shop Big 10 Garage and was excited to build and install a custom LS engine. He asked why I was even trying to use a factory big block, I explained it was because I wasn’t a fan of ugly ls engines. Apparently neither was he, so he had a solution – customizing the engine to look like a factory GM Performance 350 crate engine including Delmo valve cover adapters and throttle body kit, Holley intake, injection and front drive system, faux distributor so the plug wires routed in the traditional way and a faux fuel pump so I could get the fuel line running up the front of the engine just like the original one. And of course Jason painted it black and handled all the wiring. In addition, he was able tackle the difficult fab work that was still needed including custom inner fender wells, custom raised diamond plate bed floor and custom stainless exhaust that exits out the old side fuel doors.
Palo Verde was missing a purpose. I quickly decided that purpose was to serve ice cold beer to all my buddies at the car shows. I sourced a vintage construction cooler, and Jason fabricated the mount, jockey box, keg and C02 tanks in tool box, and 120 feet of stainless tubing that – when ice is added to the cooler – will deliver freezing cold beer all day long.
As the truck was getting close to being finished, I got a DM from Sean Johnstun at Fat Lucky’s upholstery in Burbank with the best possible news. He could fit me in and sew up the perfect houndstooth seat in carmine red. The impeccable craftsmanship and style of that seat softens up the rough patina and brings this truck to another level.
The last thing Palo Verde needed was a sound system that would entertain all the fellas why we were sipping on our cold beers. I called Jon Cami of Pro Guard in Scottsdale, Arizona, and he custom built a box, filled it with JL Audio speakers and amps, and installed a totally wireless JL Audio Bluetooth party system so we could all connect our phones at the same time and take turns playing DJ. Party on wheels. Mission accomplished.”
Sam Castronova • ‘76 C10
- 2013 5.3L LS
- Delmo Speed valve cover adapters, throttle body adapter, coil pack relocators, and engine mounts
- Engine built by Jason Bowman/Big 10 Garage
- Special grind camshaft by Jason Brown
- Steel valve covers, faux distributor and fuel pump to create the look of an old school GM crate engine
- Custom stainless exhaust by Big 10 Garage with side exit through the former fuel doors on the bed
- 700R4 transmission
- B&M shift kit
- Ford 9” rear axle by Currie Enterprises
- 3.73 ring and pinion and limited slip differential
- Wilwood disc brakes, front and rear
- Wilwood master cylinder
- Delmo Speed chassis with Choppin’ Block
- Boyd Welding fuel tank
- Accuair eLevel air management and Endo CVT
- Cragar S/S wheels, 18×8 front and rear
- Diamond Back Classic 1-1/2” white stripe tires
- Custom carmine red interior upjolstery by Sean Johnstun of Fat Lucky’s in Burbank, CA
- Dakota Digital Syndicate Series VHX gauges
- Custom JL Audio system by Jon Cami of Pro Guard in Scottsdale, AZ
- Original patina exterior with splashes of Shotcrete for added texture
- Custom Jockey Box with built-in keg, CO2, and 120 feet of stainless steel cooling coil to chill the beer