Go to any car or truck show and it’s easy to see why there is no denying that some of the most popular trucks you will see on the custom classic scene today are of the 1967 through 1972 Chevrolet C10 variety. The General’s second generation of C-series pickup trucks have seen a growth in popularity that is currently unparalleled.
A Legend Begins
Way back in 1967, General Motors was building on the success of the first iteration of the C-series pickup when Chevrolet introduced the redesigned version in 1967. This second generation might have carried over certain aspects like the coil springs that were still positioned all four corners, but the crisp and cleanly-designed new body shell appeared. Both a Stepside and Fleetside were still available on the C10, and subsequent grille changes continued to represent new model-year calling cards up through 1972.
Subtle grill changes distinguish this ’69 model from a ’70 model.
The 1969 and 1970 C10 models are barely distinguishable, unless one has intimate knowledge of the various trim pieces. More importantly though, is that the 1969 model year was the first to feature the ubiquitous 350 cubic-inch small-block. This year, the new engine replaced the previous year’s legendary 327ci engine. And what many saw as a change to outmaneuver Federal emissions restrictions, 1969 would also be the last year the 396ci big-block was placed in the C10. The 1970 model saw the introduction of the 402ci engine, and many Chevy truck buyers were confused by the size, since it was marketed and badged this year as a 400.
The new C10 truck small-block option was available in Turbo-Fire, and a High Torque version. Both featured a four-barrel carburetor, but the Turbo-Fire version squeezed a 10.25:1 compression ratio, while the High Torque model delivered 9.0:1. The Turbo-Fire’s output was 300 gross horsepower at 4,800 rpm, and 380 lb./ft. of torque of 3,200 rpm. The High Torque engine delivered 255 gross horsepower at 4,600 rpm, and 355 lb./ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm. You read that correctly, according to the Chevrolet truck manual for 1969, the high torque engine actually produced less than the Turbo-Fire.
I saw the truck parked at the hotel. It didn’t have a for sale sign on it, but I had to take a look at it anyway. – JB Gregory
When it came to trim designations, until 1970, the CST was the top of the line truck. The CST (Custom Sport Truck), which could be identified by the CST/10 nameplate on the front fender, had a custom woodgrain insert and front side marker lamps with chrome trim. The CST package not only included the standard interior equipment like a bench seat with vinyl trim, Deluxe Air heater/defroster, backup lights, painted front bumper (chrome bumpers were a separate option), two-speed windshield wipers, and directional signals, but for an additional $161.00, the CST package also brought Western style vinyl seats, roof trim molding, carpeting, and pedal trim.
Finding A Survivor
That segway takes us to JB Gregory’s Custom Sport Truck. JB found this classic hauler the way many find their hot rod, driving around the country by avoiding the Interstate highways. He told us, “My brother and I had been out driving around looking for a classic car or truck for me to bring back to Florida, we headed out early on a Wednesday morning, and eventually ended up near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.”
Whether planned or not, as luck would have it, The NSRA street rod show was happing that very weekend. JB continued, “The rod run was occurring that weekend, so I was just hoping to find something as we drove into town.” Again, luck was on JB’s side, and as the team passed by a local hotel, he spied something that immediately caught his attention. JB Affirmed, “I saw the truck parked at the hotel. It didn’t have a for sale sign on it, but I had to take a look at it anyway. The owner came out as soon as I started walking around the truck, and I asked if he was interested in selling it. When he sighed and said it could be for sale, I knew it would be mine.”
This is when the owner began to relay the history of the truck. As the owner was waxing poetic, JB continued to look the truck over, and he found gas receipts in the ash tray from the original owner. Unfortunately, the original owner was only able to enjoy the Chevy for a scant four years, and then he passed away. That’s when JB says the then current owner stated that he and his wife would like to do some traveling, and he put a price on the truck. The deal was made, and JB drove his new/old “survivor” truck back to Florida. JB also told us, “The truck was in dry storage for most of his life, and was only brought out on occasions to drive around the small town in Georgia where the second owner lived.”
We say this C10 is a survivor, because this truck is displaying a mere 23,000 miles on the odometer, and it still carries 90-percent of the factory-applied Black lacquer paint. But, that doesn’t mean this is a park-it-in-the-garage-and-don’t-drive-it vehicle. According to JB, “The truck is a blast to drive since it came with air-conditioning, power disc brakes, and all the amenities of a Custom Sport Truck.” We were actually surpised at the absence of a tachometer in this “Sport” edition.
The bolt-on engine enhancements were installed by the previous owner.
As Factory Delivered – Almost
That never-been-overhauled engine under the hood is a first-year 350 cubic-inch mill that has seen a few, simple bolt on upgrades. First is the Crane hydraulic flat-tappet camshaft. JB is not sure of the specs, but states, “It sounds better than stock.” The stock intake and carburetor have also been changed in favor of an Edelbrock Performer intake and a Holley 750cfm carburetor. The exhaust also benefits from upgrades like the true 2 ½-inch duals with headers and Brockman Mellow Tone mufflers. But, the original engine parts are still available to put in action.
When it comes to the interior, the factory installed maroon door panels and bench seat have been replaced with factory black items, and the stock AM/FM radio is still belching out the tunes through the not-so-high-fidelity factory speakers.
The not-so-hi-fi radio is still in place.
Like many fans of Chevy’s C10, JB also instilled a little modernization by way of larger diameter wheels. With a truck that has only traveled 23,000 miles, you wouldn’t think the wheels and tires would be in bad shape. Well, they might not have been worn, but time definitely takes a toll on vintage rubber. It doesn’t take much to notice that the rolling stock is now a set of 20×8 and 20×10 Ridler 695 Wheels with 275/40 and 245/45 rubber air-retaining rollers.
We applaud JB for taking something that has “survived” for decades and making a few tasteful upgrades that do not permanently hurt the truck’s originality, yet give it just enough modernization to be enjoyed whenever the need for a cruise is realized.