Cruising Through 41 Years in a Big-Block Powered, Long-Bed Bow Tie Beauty
Nostalgia. When you have owned a truck for over 40 years it’s difficult to not have a lot of it. Memories from the first time it graced your driveway, to the many times you cruised it on familiar terrain to the many times you turned wrenches on it with Dad and the customizing stages and how it has evolved over the years all seem to enter the psyche every time the key hits the ignition and the air-fuel mix exits the pipes.
For Charles Mudd of Mesa, Arizona the bond with his 1972 Chevy C-10 long bed couldn’t be stronger. Charles purchased the truck in 1978 off of a Chevrolet dealer lot in San Diego, CA where the original owner had brought the pickup in on trade. The timing was perfect as Charles was in the market for a truck and the C-10 pulled his focus. As vehicles shuttle us through time periods in our lives filled with career changes, moves and family life the C-10 did the same for Charles. “Old reliable” as it were no matter what was going on the truck was a consistent and reliable source of stress relief, fun and self-fulfillment.
As with most enthusiasts and long term vehicle ownership the truck went through “phases” as time and money would allow Charles to personalize the truck to his taste never straying too far from what the Chevrolet Gods intended when they created this beauty in ’72. An upgraded AM/FM cassette and some aftermarket speakers mounted in the b-pillars was the first modification. After all Charles needed the soothing sounds of Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen and Mick Jagger to accompany him on his long journey back East in ’83 stopping only in his hometown of Tucson, AZ for a few days of reliving the “glory days”. Charles still cringes to this day that he drilled holes inside the cab to install the speakers. Luckily a steady hand and a clean installation make that a slightly less regrettable act-hey it’s what you do when you’re 20-cruise and play music loud.
After getting out of the Navy in the early 80’s Charles migrated back to Tucson to begin his post-service life. While living in a Townhouse back in ’83 in Tucson on Charles’ daily morning jog he kept noticing an unsightly ’69 Chevrolet Caprice four-door in the parking lot and didn’t think much of it until one day a pair of 427 Flags on the front fenders caught his eye and he opened the hood to find a box-stock 68,000 mile 335 horse 427 back by a Turbo 400. Suddenly the old Caprice was pretty cool and Charles went on the hunt to find the owner. A deal was struck and the Caprice was relieved of its big block and Turbo 400 slushbox.
After the 427 was plucked from the undeserving crew cab Caprice Charles’ Dad Mr. Mudd set up the heads for unleaded fuel, replaced a few seals and dropped the big-block and 3-speed combo into its new position of power in the ’72. Years of reliable service followed with minor additions of a Transgo shift kit, Hughes converter and an HEI ignition. Otherwise, the big block runs like a stopwatch. The look under the hood is very factory original as if GM put the big cubes in there in ’72 when the truck was born. A dual-snorkel air cleaner is the only-non-stock appearance item. An aluminized exhaust echoes the big blocks bark while a clean exit behind each rear tire emulates the way Chevy did on their SS line of Chevelles.
After the motor swap in ‘83 Charles’ Dad rolled the truck into the family carport one morning at 5am in Tucson and freshened up the factory colors with single-stage Hugger Orange and White. That same paintwork Dear Old Dad lovingly laid down in ’83 still shines bright on the truck today.
Fast forward to the mid 90’s and the truck received its next phase of mild customizing in the form a 4/6 suspension drop using parts from Early Classic Enterprises in Fresno, California. Circle Racing Wheels cut the 17-inch Rally’s which are shod with Michelin tires. The conservative stance and factory-like wheels and rubber give the truck a nice balance of OEM heritage and aftermarket classic style.
Around 2005 Charles delivered the truck to John Sewell at Hi-Speed Customs in Tucson for some mild bodywork. John filled the stake bed holes, mirror holes and removed the auxiliary fuel tank fill door on the driver’s side. On the passenger side resides a rare factory toolbox. Following the mild metal mods, John re-sprayed the bed so it looks like the mods are factory. The inside of the steel bed floor was painted as well for a clean factory-like appearance.
The interior was re-trimmed in a very factory escque pattern and style with the original door panels and sun visors dyed to match the fresh seat cover. A new radio was installed in the factory hole to emulate the original AM/FM slider bar unit.
Charles Mudd has achieved a well-balanced classic truck in his 1972 Chevy C10. The memories created in his youth driving this truck cross country and working on it with his Dad are priceless. Charles is quick to point out that he enjoys driving the truck every chance he gets as getting behind the wheel connects him to the past, simpler times and all of the great memories on the road. There is just nothing in the world like cool old trucks!
1972 Chevrolet C-10 Long bed
1969 427 CI big block from a ’69 Chevy Caprice
Turbo 400 Transmission
Early Classic Enterprises 4/6 drop-drop spindles, gas shocks, sway bars
Wheels & Tires
17-inch Rally’s by Circle Racing Wheels
Body & Paint
Shaved Stake Bed Holes, Shaved Mirror Holes and Shaved Auxillary fuel tank door
Metal Work by John Sewell at Hi-Speed Customs-Tucson, AZ
Hugger Orange and White Paint by Mr. Mudd-Charles’ Father
Fresh Trimmings Returned to Stock
Original Style AM/FM Slider Bar Radio