No matter what it is, when something gets stolen you feel a multitude of emotions-surprise, anger, vulnerability, and helplessness, just to name a few. Unfortunately, none of these feelings will help bring back what was taken and the more valuable the item, the more painful the sting is on the old pocketbook. Back in 1990, Samuel Fernandez of Torrance, California, became the victim of grand theft auto. His '70 Chevy shortbed was shanghaied from the curb of his own house by someone who thought they needed it more than he did. Not only was the '70 gone, but so was the wind in Samuel's sails.

That same year, Samuel was riding with a co-worker down Telegraph Road in Santa Fe Springs when a decent '72 Chevy truck passed in the opposite direction. His sharp-eyed co-worker saw a "For Sale" sign in the window and before Samuel knew it, they caught up to the owner at a liquor store. Long story short, Samuel got the guy's number and was going to look at it the following week, but lost his info by then. He even got clearance from "the boss", although his wife knew he would probably buy another truck regardless of what she said. Now the search was on for another one. As luck would have it, the same '72 popped up in a local paper and a deal was struck this time. Samuel was fairly happy with his purchase of the respectable old truck, but his wife and son thought it wasn't such a peach. Regardless, Samuel had a vision.

At first Samuel fiddled with the minor things the truck needed, like aligning the passenger door, replacing the light switch, and throwing on a new set of Cragars. A couple of years would pass before Samuel dropped the truck off at a shop to have it painted. A whopping year later he picked it up and was more than unhappy with the job they did. At this point, he didn't really care, he just wanted the truck back.

Eventually Samuel changed jobs and started in the motion picture industry working long hours with little time off. It was after this in 2001 that he decided to send the truck to Paco and Ricardo Lopez at Universal Auto Body in Gardena, California. The shop came with good recommendations and the guys were actually excited to work on the '72. Everyone sat down and laid out the scope of the project and decided on a few clean body mods and, most importantly, the color. This was the hardest part for Samuel, as he knew that the paint color would make or break the C-10. After much deliberation, the choice was made to go with House of Kolor's Candy Cobalt Blue.

While the bodywork was under way, Samuel sent the stock small-block to Bob Knolls at Gardena Engine Supply for a bit of machine work before Samuel put it back together with a few goodies like an Isky cam, Weiand intake, and Edelbrock carb. After that, he added a B&M Shift Kit to the Turbo 350.

As far as the suspension goes, Samuel installed a set of DJM lowered control arms using the stock spindles and brakes. The rear suspension was set up with parallel leafs and Firestone 'bags to hang the stock 12-bolt with a C-notch for clearance. The airbag components at all four corners came from Master Image Customs and Samuel's good friend Sal Aguilera helped with the installation. For rolling stock, he chose 18- and 20-inch Esajian wheels wrapped in ZR-rated Toyo Proxes IV tires.

Late that December, the dust cleared and Samuel finished the '72. Now his wife, son, and daughter-who wasn't born when he bought the truck-all think the truck is far from the piece of junk that he hauled home years before and are all quite proud of him. These days, Samuel and his family enjoy the truck as often as possible, taking it to any cruise-in, show, or stretch of open road they can find.