Black And Blue:Darren Sammartino’s Diesel-Powered ’70 Chevrolet

About three years ago, we discovered this build. It was such a unique truck, we couldn’t pass it up. Now, years later, Sammartino’s truck is still turning heads and is being featured in this year’s virtual SEMA 360 show. We caught up with Darren once again to see what was new, what the future plans are as of now. It’s not every day you see one of these old-school 1970 Chevrolet trucks with a Cummins engine crammed into the engine bay.

“Back in high school is where my love for diesel engines really started to develop. I could get online and watch videos of guys making some serious power on a fairly untouched engine and I just knew that I needed something like that of my own,” Sammartino said. “Also, a classic was an absolute must. So, here we are. I’ve mashed them together.”

When asking about the future of this build, Sammartino was excited to let us know there is more to come. “Right now, the truck looks great and functions. I want to widen its capabilities. The plan is to add an intercooler and possibly set it up for towing a small camper.” I don’t know about you guys, but I would flip if I saw a truck like this towing through the hills. Talk about nostalgiac.

Body And Suspension

This forty-year-old truck obviously isn’t exactly how it was back in the day. In fact, Sammartino knew exactly what vision he had and stuck with it. Coated in a beautiful Grabber Blue paint from a 2011 Ford Mustang, this 1970 C10 is hard to miss. Riding on a 3-inch Composite body lift, a set of RBP 20-inch by 10-inch Cobra Bead-Lock wheels ride wrapped in Interco 37-inch Cobalt M/T tires.

Offering a wider stance and more aggressive look, Big Blue features FarFromStock HD aluminum wheels spacers too. Other exterior features this build features are Chassis Unlimited’s Pre-Runner style bumpers, a Kobalt bed-mounted toolbox, Gen-Y 3-inch drop-hitch, and his own shop’s, Mad Cow Customs, receiver, bed-mounted spare tire carrier, and bedside stiffeners.

This truck isn’t just appealing to the eye either. Physically, the ride quality is nice too. Riding on approximately six inches of lift, the Carrier Suspension custom leaf springs and the set of Fox 2.0/2.5 performance shocks are to credit on that cloud-like ride. “To compensate for the weight of the engine and its size, Carrier suspension built these rate-adjusted springs. Something cool to add is they also made the springs for Ironhide, the Transformer movie truck!” said Sammartino.

Blue uses a factory GM steering column but with the help of the Borgeson Heavy Duty telescopic steering shaft, the tires turn with ease. PSC Motorsports quick-ratio HD 2WD steering gear, Ruff Stuff Specialties 1-ton Crossover steering, and Tie-Rod kit are also on board.

Pop The Hood

When you see the outside, you know under the hood has to be impressive. Tucked under this old steel hood and just behind that RBP grille is home to a 1992 model 5.9-Liter, 12-Valve Cummins engine. Sammartino linked up with multiple companies to get this truck performing as well as it looks. Who did that involve?

With enough power to get this truck moving in a hurry, this 5.9 Cummins engine is outfitted with a performance-built injection pump, BD Diesel Performance Fuel Pin and 4K Governer Spring, Industrial Injection 50-horsepower Prince Of Darkness Injectors, 60mm turbocharger, DieselSite Wicked Wheel compressor upgrade, and it’s all backed by the early Getrag 5-speed transmission.

Underneath the C10 features an NP205 gear-driven transfer case with Mad Cow’s custom mount, Dana 60 kingpin front axle, 4.10 gears, GM Corporate 14-bolt, Trac-Loc rear differential, and custom differential covers with Lube Locker gaskets.

Other modifications include a Mishimoto all-aluminum four-core radiator, PureFlow AirDog Fuel System, K&N custom intake, MBRP exhaust with 8-inch stacks, and a South Bend adjustable hydraulic clutch.

Electronics / Interior

Wanting to keep the truck clean inside and out, even down to the electronics is show-quality. “It all starts at the Optima Red-Top battery in its Chassis Unlimited tray and makes its way to all of the electronics I have on board. Using a Painless Wiring GM wiring harness and fuse block, we’ve got the power to the KC Hilites LED headlights, KC Hilites LED Rock LIghts, KC HiLites Gravity Lightbar, and the Hornblasters Tug-37 232 Tug Horn Kit.”

Continuing on, this SEMA-featured build uses LMC truck carpeting, BS Sand Custom embroidered bucket eats, KC LED interior lights, Mad Cow MultiCam door panels, B&M shifter, Mad Cow race pedals, Grant GT steering wheel, Phantom II gauges, Kenwood Radio/DVD player head unit, and the sound comes out of a Kicker Audio system.

Creating something like this takes a lot of time, help, and money. For Sammartino, there were quite a few people involved. “Special thank you goes to my dad and Chris Payne. Dad, for all of the late nights giving me a hand, working on the truck, tossing me heavy parts, thank you. Chris, also known as Truck Guru, he’s helped quite a bit with connecting with manufacturers and sponsors.”
Huge shoutout to Darren Sammartino for taking the time to talk to us and give us the scoop on his incredibly cool build. Stay tuned to Diesel Army for more part reviews, truck features, and event coverage.

About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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