Cruising Through 41 Years in a Big Block-Powered, Longbed Bow Tie Beauty
When you have owned a 1972 C10 truck for more than 40 years, it’s difficult to not have a lot of it. Memories from the first time it graced your driveway, the many times you cruised it on familiar terrain and the many times you turned wrenches on it with Dad to the customizing stages and how it has evolved over the years all seem to enter the psyche every time the key hits the ignition and the air-fuel mix exits the pipes.
For Charles Mudd of Mesa, Arizona, the bond with his 1972 Chevy C10 longbed couldn’t be stronger. While in the Navy, Charles purchased the truck in 1978 at a local Chevrolet dealership in San Diego where the original owner had just traded it in. The timing was perfect, as Charles as a young man always loved the ’67-’72 body style and at that age gave no mention to a long- versus shortbed. As vehicles shuttle us through time periods in our lives filled with career changes, moves and family life, the C10 did the same for Charles. “His baby,” as it were, no matter what was going on, the truck was a consistent and reliable source of pride, fun and self-fulfillment.
As with most enthusiasts and long-term vehicle ownership, the truck went through “phases” as time would allow. Charles personalized the truck to his taste, never straying too far from what the Chevrolet gods intended when they created this beauty in ’72. An upgraded AM/FM cassette and some aftermarket speakers mounted in the B-pillars were the first modifications. After all, Charles needed rock music for the long coast-to-coast trip back to his duty station in Norfolk, Virginia. Charles had one scheduled stop in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and then all the way to the Atlantic coast. Today, as an older enthusiast, Charles still cringes to this day when he thinks about the holes he made in the inside of the cab and dash to accommodate the new sounds. Luckily, a steady hand and a clean installation make that a slightly less regrettable act—hey, it’s what you do when you’re 20 years old: cruise and play music loud.
After getting out of the Navy in the early ’80s, Charles migrated back to Tucson to begin his post-service life. He lived in a townhouse back in ’83, and during his daily morning jog, he kept noticing an unsightly green oxidized ’69 Chevrolet Caprice four-door in the parking lot. He didn’t think much of it until one day, a pair of 427 flags on the front fenders caught his eye. He opened the hood to find a box-stock 68,000-mile 335-horse 427 backed by a Turbo 400. Suddenly the old Caprice was pretty cool and Charles went on the hunt to find the owner. A deal was struck and the Caprice was relieved of its big block and Turbo 400 slush box.
After the 427 was plucked from the undeserving Caprice, Charles’ dad, Mr. Mudd, set up the heads for unleaded fuel, replaced a few seals and dropped the big-block and three-speed combo into its new position of power in the ’72. Years of reliable service followed with minor additions of a Transgo shift kit, Hughes aluminum trans pan and an HEI ignition. Otherwise, the big block runs like a stopwatch and Charles will challenge you to feel it idle. With the correct, stickers, hose clams and a A/C Delco battery, the look under the hood is very factory original, as if GM put the big cubes in there in ’72 when the truck was born. A dual snorkel air cleaner is the only non-stock appearance item.
An aluminized exhaust echoes the big blocks bark while a clean exit behind each rear tire emulates the way Chevy did on its SS line of Chevelles. As the owner of an extremely low-mileage Hemi survivor and a really trick ’56 Ford, big window hotrod, he says it’s the ’72 that consistently gets the looks.
After the motor swap in ’83 Charles’ dad rolled the truck into the family carport one morning at 5 a.m. in Tucson and freshened up the factory colors with single stage Hugger Orange and White. That same paint work Dear Old Dad lovingly laid down in ’83 still shines bright on the truck today.
Fast forward to the mid ’90s, and the truck received its next phase of mild customizing in the form a 4/6 suspension drop using parts from Early Classic Enterprises in Fresno, California. Circle Racing Wheels cut the 17-inch Rally’s to emulate a factory Rally wheel, which are shod with Michelin tires. The conservative stance and factory-like wheels and rubber give the truck a nice balance of OEM heritage and aftermarket classic style, making the truck a hit wherever it goes.
Around 2005, Charles delivered the truck to John Sewell at Hi-Speed Customs in Tucson for some mild bodywork. John filled the stake bed holes, mirror holes and removed the auxiliary fuel tank fill door on the driver’s side. On the passenger side resides a rare factory tool box. Following the mild metal mods John re-sprayed the bed so it looks like the mods are factory. The inside of the steel bed floor was painted as well for a clean factory-like appearance.
The interior was re-trimmed in a very factory-esque pattern and style with the original door panels and sun visors dyed to match the fresh seat cover. A new radio was installed in the factory hole to emulate the original AM/FM slider bar unit.
Charles Mudd has achieved a well-balanced classic truck in his 1972 Chevy C10. The memories created in his youth driving this truck cross-country and working on it with his dad are priceless. Charles is quick to point out that he enjoys driving the truck every chance he gets as getting behind the wheel connects him to the past, simpler times and all of the great memories on the road. There is just nothing in the world like cool old trucks! Check out other C10’s here!