Since the dawn of mankind, or about a score ago. Many have pondered and questioned who is Delmo? What is a Delmo? How did that lovable, scruffy Canuck get his start? Where did he come up with his classic style and inspirations for trucks? And of course, what is his favorite food to eat off of a truck tailgate? We often wondered the same, so we decided to follow Del around for a few months as he not only completes one of his most detailed and powerful builds yet for SEMA but heads out to meet up with some of the truck friends and builders he has met along the way. All while thinking about pulling up roots and heading to the land of the dry heat for the next stage of Delmo’s Speed & Kustom.
Del Uschenko grew up in Alberta, Canada building hot rods, pro street trucks and snowmen. He had a small shop churning out some traditional hot rods and whatever else Del fancied. This including a pro street truck that screamed 1995 (or it could have been built in 2005 with the exchange rate of style and everything up there). He built a mild custom lowrider Impala that was picked up by ZZ Top front man Billy Gibbons and looking to further his business and get to the mecca of car culture in Los Angeles, Del and wife Ola moved to Burbank, California. Del first picked up work at Hollywood Hot Rods and then worked with Bobby Green that had Old Crow Speed Shop next door. Traditional hot rods and bikes were his forte but he always loved trucks. He opened up Delmo’s Speed & Kustom shop, and every shop needs a good shop truck.
The traditional hot rod cues were taken and applied to a classic and considered ugly ducking truck at the time, a 1965 Chevrolet C-10. The baked patina was left for budget and character reasons but underneath was all new with Porterbuilt and Accuair air suspension powered by VIAIR and freshened motor. The crowning mark was a set of 22-inch billet smoothie wheels with an old school center cap. The look bucked the system at the time as it had all its original factory parts just modernized and updated. The trend hit and it hit huge. Del capitalized on this with over a dozen full truck builds for customers over the next few years and many other trucks built with parts and wheels from Del that mimicked old styling for modern components such as the DelS3 motor package that combines a crate LS3 with script Chevrolet valve covers, cast manifolds and old school air cleaner with modern reliability and performance.
With the latest build on Tino Garza’s truck, a ’65 as well. Del stepped it up yet again with a custom Mullenix Racing Engines built 408 stroker LS topped with a Magnuson Heartbeat supercharger tuned to hit 700-1000 HP. A fresh Fawn paint job by Lewis Milinich Body shop erased the old finish outside with a Fat Lucky’s interior inside. A trip was made to Hanford, California to the Milinich shop with the completed rolling chassis to assembly the body and trim pieces. A few issues were quickly resolved. The radiator issues on the trip home with the truck through the grapevine had to be quickly resolved about 12 or 13 times. Final assembly happened with Devin and Josh back at the shop. The use of Porterbuilt, Accuair, VIAIR, Currie Enterprises and huge 24×15-inch Kompression and Delmo Special wheels sealed the deal of a modern, brand new truck that was christened by a tailgate full of NYPD pizza at Dino’s.
La Fawnda made its debut at the SEMA show in AccuAir corral. But both builder, owner and public awaited Dino’s Git Down party for the truck to sit amongst C-10 royalty. There Del met up with the Arizona guys including Sam Castranova, Dino, Joe Yezzi and bike builder Jesse Rooke who recently finished his twin turbo’d LS autocross C-10. Looking to move the business to the next stage and spend more time with the dogs and wife; Del was thinking of moving out to Arizona. With a big network and group of truck friends in Phoenix, it seemed like the logical place so after Dino’s and Goodguys; Del decided to check out some shops around town including Tre5 Customs.
Jeremy Rice of Tre5 Customs (he still won’t tell us what it means) recently opened his shop after years of building tons of cars and trucks out of a large garage. He hit the first year with a bang with two full SEMA trucks including his own 1949 pickup with LS1 engine and coilovers dubbed Cindy. Also in the shop awaiting pickup was the recently finished square body owned by Shane Rodriguez, better known as Primo from Carlsbad, New Mexico. The truck was fitted with all top of the line parts with a clean classic paint job by Frank at IKandy Paintworks down the way.
After the cruise and road trip back home, the plan to move to Arizona was set in motion and projects were finished up and the shop was moved along with the dogs and wall art to Prescott, Arizona. See what happens next!