Porterville, California, is a small town located about 50 miles north of Bakersfield, on Interstate 65, and it has had more custom trucks built there in the past 50 years than any other place on the planet. Here are two of Porterville's latest.
We know the '67-'72 GM trucks have always been among the favorites of early-model custom-truck enthusiasts. The straight, smooth, and simple bodylines make a clean canvas for whoever wishes to partake in a fairly effortless creation. Just drop it, add wheels and tires, body, paint, and interior. They are a timeless generation of American iron.
Mark McDonald Jr. from Porterville shared the first buildup of the '69 GMC with his dad, Mark Sr., as a father and son project after Mark Jr. bought it in 1993. After years of cruisin' and showin', it was retired for some updated modifications.
The revision consisted of sending the truck to the crew at KRZ Customs in Fresno, where it was disassembled down to the bare frame. The front suspension crossmember was raised 3 inches and fitted with a pair of custom-built lower control arms. To achieve a rocker-scrapin' stance, a pair of Early Chassis 2-inch drop spindles were fitted between the custom lower and stock upper control arms. The front stopping power is handled by an Early Classic disc-brake conversion kit. A pair of Nitro Drop gas shocks were relocated on the framerails. The stock transmission crossmember was removed and replaced with a raised transmission crossmember. These frame and suspension modifications were all major factors in the slammed suspension equation. To finish it off, a pair of Firestone pneumatic 'bags were installed. The front suspension rolls on a pair of Boyd Coddington Smoothie 20x8-inch aluminum wheels, which were then wrapped with Continental P245/40R20 rubber.
To achieve a slammed four-corner stance, the factory framerails were cut off just behind the cab. New 2x4-inch rear framerails were designed with major 14-inch step notches, allowing the 12-bolt rear-end housing that was stuffed with 2:73 gears and new five-lug Early Chassis 31-spline axles ample clearance when the 'bags are fully deflated. The rear framerails were spud-welded for insured strength and rigidity. KRZ Customs fabricated custom brackets for the four-link Panhard bar rear suspension. A pair of Pro Shock absorbers were teamed up with a pair of Firestone pneumatic 'bags, that are huffed and puffed by two Viair compressors with 3/8-inch valves and hard lines to give Mark the ability to perform its rocker scraping athleticism. A pair of chubby Goodyear Eagle P275/45R20 rear tires provide the grip on the power end.
The stout '69 Chevy 350ci small-block was freshened up by the team at Shetler Machine, which internally balanced, blueprinted, and assembled the entire engine. Shetler decked the engine block, and machined the block's cylinder bores 0.040-inch over factory spec. An Edlebrock camshaft was carefully inserted into the new cam bearings. TRW pistons with new rings were dropped into each cylinder. An Edelbrock bump stick was carefully inserted through the cam bearings. A complete Edelbrock valve train, including intake manifold and 650cfm carburetor, were then bolted on. The electrical power is supplied by an Optima Yellow Top battery. A re-curved HEI distributor and ignition create enough voltage to fire and maintain the mighty 350ci engine. A pair of ram-horn exhaust manifolds were Jet-Hot coated, then bolted up to the cylinder heads exhaust ports. The 2-1/2-inch-diameter exhaust flows into a pair of Flowmaster Delta Flow mufflers.
What sets the '67-72 C10 trucks above other generations is their distinguished long, low, and straight bodylines. Mark and his dad spent endless hours using a hammer and dolly, then filling, skimming, and block sanding to get the cab, fenders, hood, bedsides and tailgate perfectly straight and smooth. Grant Customs in Oroville, California, laid back the leading edge of the stock hood 2-inches and removed the center section of the hood. A center section from a '98 Chevy hood was then grafted in. The side marker lights, door locks, mirrors, tailgate handle, and bed stake pockets were all shaved and filled. The original driprail was removed and replaced with 1/4-inch rod. Chad's Auto Glass in Porterville installed new glass all the way around, including the one-piece side windows. The rear fenderwells were widened 3 inches and the entire bed floor was raised 6 inches. Painter Lee Millinich from Hanford, California, used DuPont Hot Hues Red Hot Meltdown paint as a basecoat, followed by color-sanding the surface silky smooth. The entire truck's skin was then buried in mutiple clearcoats. After it was given several weeks to cure in the hot summer San Joaquin Valley sun, it was then cut, buffed, and polished to an endless, mirror finish. The grille shell was given a couple coats of graphite color to match the Boyd Coddington five-spoke graphite wheel centers.
Opening the doors exposes us to a cramped cab red interior. The wider than wide dash was smoothed including the glovebox. The glovebox door was removed, then transformed into a raised gauge panel housing the TPI gauges.
It was then transplanted into the dash, in front of the chrome-plated ididit tilt steering column, and capped with a red leatherette-covered Billet Specialties three-spoke steering wheel. The smoothed dash, door panels, headliner,and factory cut down bench seat were covered with matching red leatherette by the crew at Big Daddy's Upholstery in Porterville. The cab floor was covered with Mercedes-Benz red wool carpet. The billet aluminum door handles and window cranks highlight the red leatherette door panels.
If you are waiting to hear about Marks awesome audio sound system and entertainment center with GPS, you will see or hear nothing. The only sound is the rumblin' thunder of the potent 350ci V-8 under the hood.
This time around was a long journey. Mark said he couldn't have done it without the help and advice from his dad, his brother-in-law Loren Johnson who laid the bed's wood floor, and the patience and support of his wonderful and understanding wife Michele. Mark's close friend, Mike Fusco of Fusco's Detail Shop, makes sure the little red GMC is always lookin' slick. Every time I see Mark, he's cruisin' low with a smile from ear to ear.
The red-on-red interior was stitched by the local crew at Big Daddy's Custom Upholstery in
The center of the grille was painted titanium gray to match the wheel center spokes. Mark
To get the rockers to lay out and suck up those Coddington 20s, a new back-half frame was