Ricky Cantu • Tuscon, Arizona
’80 Chevy C10

Ricky Cantu of Tucson, Arizona, isn’t the typical truck builder. For years, he would pore through the custom truck magazines, searching for that perfect project for himself, but it wasn’t until 2001, at 25 years old, that he decided to finally pull the trigger. He loved the ’73-’87 C10s, and he finally came across a work truck that would be the perfect start to his new ride. Along the way, the truck almost ran over one of Ricky’s friends, one of the builders passed away, and he almost got divorced—twice—all because of the little C10 that just didn’t want to be done. Good thing he’s the persistent type.

This was Ricky’s first project, so he didn’t really have a good handle on how to go about doing things. He decided to start first with the paint, so he took the truck to Joe Soto for a nice and simple spray. In the middle of the process, Joe passed away, leaving Ricky with a half-done ride that needed some help. He really didn’t know where to go, so he decided to take things into his own hands and do the work himself. He shaved the door handles, turn signals, taillights, drip rails, tailgate, stake pockets, both gas doors, and installed a ’90 Suburban front end to give the truck that special touch. An FBI rollpan with Toyota Supra taillights was welded into the bed, and a tonneau cover was installed and eventually motorized. The truck was looking trick, so he went ahead and sprayed it with Sherwin Williams Inspiration Yellow, borrowed from an ’02 Ford, with eight coats of Platinum Pearl to set it off. A white stripe was also painted along the sides, and the roof received a healthy dose of graphics with a custom two-tone separating the lid from the doors. Then the entire truck was striped with a green shade for a finishing touch.

Along the way, he built the motor as well. The tired V-8 that was in the truck was replaced with a 383-stroker crate engine that was topped off with an Accel DFI fuel injection system for extra driveability. Each and every part of the engine is either painted or chromed, and the detail shows. Little things like the leather-wrapped fenderwells, the shaved and pinstriped firewall, and the chromed booster and master cylinder make the engine bay shine like a jewel.

Ricky knew he wanted the truck low, so he decided to lay the truck out with a set of Firestone airbags and some custom fabrication. The rear was c-notched to allow some extra travel in the back, and up front DJM control arms were bolted up to lower the front and keep the camber in check. A custom four-link with Panhard bar was also installed out back, and once everything was complete, he blew the whole thing apart and chromed everything he could. The steering linkage, control arms, tie-rod ends, and everything else that’s bolted to the truck is now shiny and reflective, just like he likes it. As if that wasn’t enough, if it’s not chromed, the hardware was replaced with stainless-steel models. Now the truck lays out on 22-inch Boze Stix 5 wheels and tucks them nicely.

The interior is a work of art. Louis Vuitton leather may not be everyone’s style, but it’s tastefully done in this square-body. Every aspect of the interior is custom, from the airbrushed glovebox to the custom-built door panels. There’s a total of four monitors in the truck: one in the bed, one in the dash, and two in the headliner, which show the signal from an Xbox 360 for extra fun at car shows. A pair of JBL Crown Series amplifiers push a pair of 15-inch Kove Audio subs and two sets of Hertz components, which makes sure that everyone in the neighborhood can hear Ricky coming from a mile away.

And then, just when it all seemed to be coming to a close, well, Ricky says it best. “It just never seemed to want to get done. And when I finally painted it and had it all done, the brake pedal fell off and it slammed into a wall,” Rickey says. It took a few more weeks to get it all redone and put back together, but now it’s good and he can cruise it all day long with nothing but a huge grin on his face.

It’s not that this truck was cursed, but it sure did cause some problems along the way. Six years and lots of headaches later, Ricky got the job done and n ow he’s much happier with the results. What’s next for the man who just dipped his toes into the custom waters? Well, he just polished off a ’67 Impala SS and now he has yet another square-body in the stable that he’s going to lower on whitewalls and go for a clean driver. Here’s to hoping that this next truck gets done much, much sooner.