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Out to Strike it Rich

Jeff Ekberg is a regular guy who found himself on the outside of the custom truck world looking in. For the longest time, he’d been watching with admiration as guys transformed old trucks into modern street machines featuring up-to-the-minute conveniences without any loss of their vintage appeal. “After many years of sitting on the sidelines at shows and seeing others drive their incredible trucks … it was time for me to get one of my own,” Jeff said. Sometimes, that’s all the reason a guy really needs to get motivated.

DELMO’S FALFAS THROWBACKSTYLE WHEELS ARE SMOOTH AS HELL AND COMPLEMENT THE GMC’S ROUNDED BODY STYLING.

Luckily for Jeff the classic truck community is a relatively welcoming one. Well, Del Uschenko and his crew are anyway. Even if you have justa passing interest in custom trucks, when you hear the name “Del,” a certain style will begin to materialize in your mind: a clean, mean GM pickup.

His approach is simple in theory. Aside from heavy suspension overhauls and major reworking to make an old truck drive like new, surface restyling is kept to a minimum. Don’t expect to find flashy paint effects or anything that could be categorized as an experimental aftermarket accessory. Del keeps his trucks clean and reliable, but they’re still able to knock the unsuspecting onlooker back on their ass.

THE BED FLOOR WAS RAISED TO ACCOMMODATE THE REAR 4-LINK AND MASSIVE FRAME C-NOTCH. A MAR-K WOOD KIT CLASSES UP THE BED. OLD GOLD 42 APRIL 2018 | STREETTRUCKS WWW.

All of this is why Jeff was lucky that Del was the guy who invited him to observe the inner workings of what goes into building trucks. “Del actually invited me over to his shop in Burbank,” Jeff said with enthusiasm. “It was great to meet up with him and have the opportunity to tour his workspace and discuss the processes that go into crafting the trucks he has built his fame on.”

THE GMC’S INTERIOR HAS BEEN BLESSED WITH UPHOLSTERY WORK FROM PRESCOTT HOTRODS AND A CUSTOM DASH FROM DELMO’S SPEED.

Jeff hadn’t pinpointed the exact type of truck he wanted. He must’ve been thinking GM at the very least, but most likely C-10. That’s a safe assumption given the level of enthusiasm he displayed when taking a long walk around Delmo’s. If there was anyone out there who could help point Jeff in the right direction, it was Del. He set him straight and put him on the right track. “I had approached him out of the blue,” Jeff admits. “I had done my own research and read up on some of the builds he had worked on, and had even watched a couple of video interviews. When Del replied back, I was surprised at how gracious he was to give me advice regarding where I should start with my own project.”

Del must’ve taken a liking to Jeff because he made him an offer that he probably wouldn’t have extended to just anybody. Del had a ’59 GMC 100 that he had been using to run errands in and take care of general shop duties with. “This ’59 had been his stock daily driver for years,” Jeff adds. “He had used it to pull a vintage teardrop trailer around to rallies and to El Mirage for land speed racing. It was mostly stock and had been painted over a couple times. It was a cool and reliable old truck, but really nothing more than that.”

A CLASSIC 1955 IMPALA STEERING WHEEL HAS BEEN PAIRED WITH THE MODERN CONVENIENCE OF DAKOTA DIGITAL GAUGES.

The more thought Jeff invested into a possible project, the more he started leaning towards a C-10. But when Del brought up the idea of building the ’59 together, Jeff was all about the idea. Who could refuse a ’50’s GMC? Especially one in the condition Delmo’s was in.

UPHOLSTERY MATERIAL FROM A 1955 BEL AIR LENDS A TRUE VINTAGE TOUCH TO THE GMC’S SEATING ARRANGEMENTS.

“Buried” would be an understatement to describe the amount of work Del was loaded with at the time, but once he resurfaced from the depths, he sat down and brainstormed with Jeff about Old Gold, which was the truck’s name even then. “We had kicked around some basic ideas like running with an LS3 and [taking advantage of] the user friendliness of an AccuAir system,” Jeff said. “We had thrown [around] the idea of changing up the color to something like an original ’50’s GMC green, but we just had to keep Old Gold, well, golden. What we came up with was something completely different than the ’70’s version of gold it was currently in.” They chose wisely. The PPG Toyota Gold they landed on burns brightly in direct sunlight.

THIS PARTICULAR LS3 HAS BEEN PROPERLY SUITED UP AND BUILT TO RUMBLE THE BOULEVARDS.

The entire project took a year divided into two phases. The beginning was exciting for sure, but it escalated the moment Del mentioned SEMA. “The extra work was going to cost quite a bit more than we had first discussed, but debuting the truck in Vegas was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss,” Jeff said. The timeline was extended in order to finish all of the additional modifications for the big show, which added a heartier helping of anticipation for Jeff as he waited for the final unveiling of the project. Once the dust settled, it was worth all of the anxiety and sweat.

“I can’t drive down the street without getting a thumbs-up from other drivers or having someone pull up to ask questions about the truck.” This experience, along with the opportunity to work with Del and his gang of true craftsmen are at the top of Jeff’s personal highlight reel. Even though the ’59 might not have been his first choice, the truck has definitely grown on Jeff in a way he never could’ve imagined.

As for his desire to build a C-10, well, the guys have one in the works at the moment. But until it’s finished, the GMC will remain on the road for the long haul. It’ll go down as another successfully completed build in Del’s repertoire, and as a gateway drug for Jeff that’ll keep him hooked for the rest of his days.

TRUCK SPECS

OWNER

Jeff Ekberg   
1959 GMC 100
Fort Worth, TX

ENGINE

  • Shop: Mullenix Racing Engines
  • 2010 LS3 engine
  • 525 hp, 450 lbs-ft torque
  • 2010 GM 4170e auto transmission
  • Be Cool radiator
  • Holley intake with custom Tri-Power top from Evod
  • Frog mouth air scoops
  • EFI Auto Trend throttle bodies
  • Magnaflow muffler and 2.5-inch stainless exhaust
  • Powermaster alternator
  • SPAL cooling fans
  • Custom-finned valve covers
  • Drive Junky drive accessory and pulleys
  • Custom hoses
  • Wiring by Delmo’s Speed & Kustom
  • Motor block painted gold

 CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Shop: Delmo’s
  • Front narrowed IFS
  • CPP spindles
  • Narrowed tubular control arms
  • Firestone (front) Slam Specialties (rear) ’bags
  • Bilstein shocks
  • Rear 4-link setup
  • Extreme C-notch
  • AccuAir air management
  • Currie axles
  • Front and rear Baer big brake upgrade packages
  • ABS power brake master cylinder
  • CPP 20-gallon aluminum fuel cell

WHEELS & TIRES

  • 20×8 and 20×10 Delmo’s Falfa-styled polished aluminum wheels
  • 255/30ZR22 and 285/35ZR22 Delinte Desert Storm D8

BODY & PAINT

  • Shop: iKandy Paintworks
  • PPG Toyota Gold paint
  • Eddie Motorsports hood hinges and gas filler
  • Stock front and rear bumpers, grille and handles
  • Short fleet-side bed
  • Original dealer-installed bed hooks and steps left intact
  • Raised bed floor
  • MAR-K wood bed floor kit
  • Factory taillights
  • Precision windows

INTERIOR & STEREO

  • Shop: Prescott Hotrods
  • Glide Engineering seats
  • 1955 Bel Air upholstery material
  • Custom dashboard by Delmo’s
  • 1955 Impala steering wheel from Truck Shop
  • New seat belts
  • Dakota Digital gauges
  • Carpet by Prescott Hotrods
  • Vintage Air AC
  • Kicker speakers, two 10-inch subs, amplifier
  • Silent Coat sound deadener
  • Wiring by Delmo’s

Special Thanks From the Owner: “Thank you to Del Uschenko for his incredible vision and for being so welcoming into this truck world. To the entire Delmo’s crew, thanks for your passion and amazing craftsmanship.”

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