The Work Truck With a Heart of Gold

Street Trucks - - BROWNSTONE - TEXT AND PHOTOS BY KEVIN WHIPPS

IT’S BEEN HIP TO BE SQUARE FOR DECADES NOW (THANKS, HUEY LEWIS), BUT THE SQUARE-BODY TRUCK SCENE HAS RE­ALLY TAKEN OFF OF LATE. Why? Well, many truck builders tend to be guys in their late 20s and early 30s, and if you do some quick math, you’ll fig­ure out that they were around when there were 1973-87 Chevy trucks all over the road. Heck, maybe even one of their fam­ily mem­bers owned one, and they’re nos­tal­gic for the old Bow Ties. In the case of Dustin Adair of Mesa, Ari­zona, that was cer­tainly the sit­u­a­tion. Dustin’s dad owned a square-body back in the day. It was an ’86 work truck that he used for his plumb­ing business, and af­ter putting sev­eral thou­sand miles on the clock, he passed it down to Dustin, and it be­came his first truck. He sat be­hind the wheel of that thing all through high school and even a lit­tle bit be­yond, form­ing a bond along the way, as one does with their first ve­hi­cle, par­tic­u­larly one with a deep fam­ily con­nec­tion.

WE’LL WISH BROWNSTONE A HAPPY LIFE WITH DUSTIN, AND HOPE TO CATCH IT CRUIS­ING DOWN THE STREETS AS ITS OWNER TAKES HIS DAUGH­TER TO SCHOOL OR HEADS TO THE OF­FICE. THAT’S WHAT IT’S SUP­POSED TO DO, AF­TER ALL. IT’S A WORK TRUCK.”

Let’s get some­thing clear right off the bat: Brownstone is not that truck. No, his dad’s work truck went the way of the di­nosaur years ago, and since then Dustin has been working on tak­ing care of his daugh­ter and build­ing a plumb­ing business of his own, the ap­pro­pri­ately named Plumb­ing 2.0. So even though hav­ing a square again was some­thing he thought about a lot, it wasn’t any­thing that he could com­fort­ably pur­sue un­til rel­a­tively re­cently.

That was when a buddy of his, Ma­son Wright, the owner of Na­cho, in­tro­duced him to Del Uschenko of Delmo’s Speed and Kus­tom. We don’t have to go into the specifics about Del if you’ve been read­ing this mag­a­zine for more than a minute, but suf­fice it to say, he’s a pretty big deal. Not only are trucks built by Delmo’s ex­cep­tional, they also turn heads like noth­ing else. Be­cause he’s picky about what he works on, Del won’t take on just any­body’s truck. So, would he build a square for Dustin? It took some con­vinc­ing, but he agreed, and things were good to go. They just had to find the right truck.

A good one turned up in cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia around that time, and Dustin flew out from Ari­zona to check it out. The thing was a real odd­ball, a C-20 with a 454 big-block. But it’s

also a stan­dard cab short-bed with­out a ton of op­tions other than the two-tone brown and cream paint. It ran and drove just fine, and the owner even dis­counted the price a bit to cover Dustin’s flight out. But what about the flight back? No need, be­cause Dustin flew to Cal­i­for­nia one-way, and knew he’d have to drive the truck six­plus hours back to Phoenix. The re­turn trip, for­tu­nately, went off with­out a hitch. Af­ter a brief stay in Ari­zona, back to Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia, the truck went, and Del and his team at Delmo’s tore into it.

The thing that makes Brownstone so spe­cial is the truck it­self. A stan­dard cab short-bed truck with a 454 is pretty hard to find, much less in de­cent shape. The patina is just so per­fect for a truck of that era, that, when com­bined with the two-tones, it cre­ates a pris­tine pack­age that wraps looks and style with one pretty bow. Af­ter Delmo’s team worked their magic, the truck was that much bet­ter. Sit­ting flat on 22-inch rollers, the Sil­ver­ado gets plenty of at­ten­tion on the road.

Ul­ti­mately what is so ap­peal­ing about this truck com­pared to sim­i­lar ver­sions that you’ll find on In­sta­gram is that it’s sim­ple and clean. It could’ve been re­painted to per­fec­tion, and the bed tie-down holes could’ve been welded up. But in­stead, it’s just per­fect the way it is with its still-us­able

body-dropped bed floor and faded door pan­els that are com­plete, even though dry rot should’ve claimed them in the ’90s. There are a mil­lion things that Del and Dustin could’ve done to this truck, but it was their sense of re­straint that makes it a shin­ing ex­am­ple to square-bod­ies ev­ery­where. And that’s per­fect.

As for Dustin’s fu­ture with the truck, well, that re­mains to be seen. He loves it and still drives it all of the time. In fact, he seems com­pletely sat­is­fied with its cur­rent state, and has no plans to change a sin­gle thing or move on to another truck. That’s prob­a­bly a sign that he’s done some­thing right, and it’s hard to dis­agree with that idea, so we won’t. In­stead, we’ll wish Brownstone a happy life with Dustin, and hope to catch it cruis­ing down the streets as its owner takes his daugh­ter to school or heads to the of­fice. That’s what it’s sup­posed to do, af­ter all. It’s a work truck.

LEFT. THE 22-INCH DELMO SPE­CIALS COM­BINE THE OLD WITH THE NEW, US­ING ORIG­I­NAL CHEVY HUB­CAPS WITH A SMOOTHIE FIN­ISH.

OTHER THAN A STICKER FOR HIS COM­PANY, PLUMB­ING 2.0, AND A DELMO’S BADGE, THE EX­TE­RIOR OF THE TRUCK IS AS STOCK AS IT WAS FROM THE FAC­TORY.

ABOVE. THE ORIG­I­NAL 454 V-8 WAS RE­MOVED, FRESH­ENED UP AND RE­PAINTED BE­FORE RE­IN­STAL­LA­TION, AND IT’S JUST AS RELI­ABLE AS EVER.

RIGHT. BROWNSTONE’S IN­TE­RIOR IS PRETTY SPAR­TAN, BUT THAT’S DE­CEP­TIVE. VIAIR GAUGES ARE IN­TE­GRATED INTO THE STOCK GAUGE CLUS­TER, AND THE SWITCHES SIT UN­DER THE DASH.

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