For many of us, being in, around, and even helping work on vehicles that our father, uncle or a family friend owned often sticks in our minds and leaves a lasting impression that sparks an interest in custom vehicles. We often carry the memory of a specific vehicle with us until we can get a car or truck of our own. All of those memories came rushing back at once to Joe Yezzi of Cave Creek, Arizona in his early 30s. Joe had never paid too much attention to custom trucks and cars, preferring to wrench on Harley’s instead. Until one day when he happened upon a used car lot. The lot was doing some work on their facility and some of their personal vehicles were out on the front line.
One particular truck caught Joe’s eye, a 1973 Chevrolet truck that reminded him of the truck he spent most of his childhood in. His father picked up a 1973 Chevrolet long bed work truck brand new when Joe was just a baby. Growing up, Joe would spend time with his father going from construction job site in that truck. Many of his early memories involved riding shotgun on the old bench seat.
Everything from the “skinny key” to the distinct tick of the turn signal, to the way the interior smells was like comfort food for Joe. He had to have the that truck, but as it was a salesman’s personal truck, the guy wouldn’t sell it. The orange and white truck would stick in Joe’s mind and he hounded the man for months until he finally gave in and sold the truck to Joe. Joe then began performing some minor mods including lowering and cleaning up the rest of the truck. At the time, not many were restoring these model trucks and Joe figured he was one of the few in the C-10 crowd that was into Sqaurebody trucks. He started up the page @squarebodysyndicate and it took off as the truck, dubbed OJ found its way onto the cover of the Brother’s Truck Parts catalog.
From there, Joe went full bore and got involved in the custom truck and hot rod scene. At one time, Joe had 6 square body trucks in his possession. Several Cadillacs and other trucks including Poncho, have passed through his hands as either projects or flip jobs. However, he tends to stick to 1973 and 1974 trucks as those were the years featuring the recessed grille and interior that his father had. They are also amongst the most rare as a body panel recall due to improper coating caused rust on many early trucks.
“Squarebody trucks were like factory hot rods, they had control arms, independent front suspension, and air conditioning, everything you would want to do to an older truck.”
Most of the square body trucks that Joe has owned have been originals, fully restored or mildly customized. Now is the time that Joe plans to break out of that mold and go more modern on the underpinnings while keeping the classic look and feel that he has come to love intact. He plans to install a Chevrolet Performance ERod LS3 engine under the large hood while dropping the suspension using a Porterbuilt Fabrication Dropmember surrounded by Delmo Special 22-inch billet smoothie wheels.
His one regret is selling the truck that sparked his love for Squarebody trucks, OJ, to Australia as it would be too much work to get it back in his hands. However, his latest creation is a full frame off restoration from start to finish that will never leave his possession. Especially since it wears a similar paint scheme to his father’s first Square.