There is no denying that the Chevrolet C10 is experiencing a resurgence of popularity. But, The pickup was not always something revered and sought after. If we take a trip in the way back machine to October 1, 1896, we would be able to meet a German engineer and industrial designer by the name of Gottlieb Daimler. That date was the day he created what was known in production records as “Motorised goods vehicle, order no. 81, vehicle no. 42.” Although not given a catchy name, vehicle no. 42 was essentially the world’s first truck.
It was equipped with a two-cylinder engine that delivered a mind-blowing four horsepower that was actually installed in the rear of the vehicle. The “truck” could, according to Daimler, carry a load of 3,300 pounds. In reality, the vehicle more closely resembled a horse-drawn cart than a truck as we know it, with the driver seated in a coach-box positioned forward of the front axle, out in the open. It was a crude design, and thankfully, the concept of a truck has seen many design revisions since then.
Chevrolet first began selling pickups in 1918, the same year that the Chevrolet Motor Company became part of General Motors. The first Chevrolet truck was the Model 490 Light Delivery. The half-ton rated truck was delivered as a chassis and cowl only, which included the chassis with engine, transmission, and the front sheetmetal: hood, front fenders, grille, and headlights. The instrument panel, steering wheel, foot pedals, and shift lever were the same as those used in cars.
The Chevrolet pickup truck has evolved immensely from its humble beginnings as nothing more than an agricultural beast of burden, and has become “mainstream” with the majority of them now serving as daily transportation for those that simply drive to and from work. The pickup has gone from being a symbol of utilitarianism to that of a luxury and class.
I definitely wanted a truck. I had previously owned a Chevelle, a Monte Carlo, and a Camaro, and it was time for something different. – James Vinciguerra
The popularity of the truck is acknowledged each time you drive through any suburban locale. Just look in the driveways of the gathering of homes, and it’s almost guaranteed that you will see a pickup in 90-percent of those driveways and garages. There is a pickup styled for every buyer from the humble rancher to the big corporation’s CEO. Albeit the latter does require his hauler to have a few more creature comforts than the rancher.
Thanks to them being the hero of the blue-collar world and their ever-increasing standards of luxury, American’s have transformed the lowly pickup from that of a workhorse to a civilized status symbol. Their popularity has made them as desirable as they are capable. In short, Americans really like their pickups, and James Vincigurerra affirms that feeling with his classic ’70 Chevrolet C10.
It was way back in 2001, when James was looking to find his vision of the perfect hauler. Actually, his search was focused on him locating a ‘67 through ‘72 Chevrolet C10 pickup truck. James told us, “I definitely wanted a truck. I had previously owned a Chevelle, a Monte Carlo, and a Camaro, and it was time for something different. I also wanted that truck because it was the same year and style as the first new vehicle my parents purchased.”
The search was exhausting, but with the help of a good friend, he was able to locate what turned out to be a very nice, unmolested C10 of the 1970 variety. He was told that it had the original paint, but did have some damage on the passenger’s bedside. Undeterred, James took the time to go and inspect this titan of transportation.
As soon as he laid eyes on the truck, it was readily apparent that it needed some work. Other than the aforementioned bed side damage, the C10 also had a little rust on both front fenders, as well as in the rocker panels. James is not one to avoid a challenge, and since he had owned and restored other vehicles in the past, he knew what needed to be done to fix it.
Work Gets Underway
Immediately upon getting the truck relocated to his humble abode, he disassembled the truck and then cleaned and media blasted the frame. Once stripped of the years of dirt and goo, the frame was coated with POR-15 rust neutralizer to guarantee a nice finish that will last for a very long time. He then reassembled the frame with all new components from Classic Performance Products (CPP), which included their Grand Slam suspension kit, dropping the front end of the truck 3-1/2 inches, and their Totally Tubular front control arms. Lowering the front of the truck also means the rear needed some attention to avoid looking like you are perpetually braking, so a set of CPP rear springs lower the trailing edge of the hauler 4 inches.
Once the chassis was painted and reassembled, James placed the C10’s body back on the frame and took everything to Jeff’s Paint and Body in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, to complete the finish work. The contrasting medium blue and white give the truck a classic and great looking appearance.
The chore of powering this little hauler is tasked to a 355 cubic-inch small-block built by S&M Performance of pilot Mountain. The mild small-block is filled with a stock crankshaft and connecting rods slinging a set of Sealed Power pistons. A Comp Cams hydraulic stick that is custom ground on a 108-degree LSA assures the ported cast-iron heads are properly moving air. Ingesting that air happens through a Holley 670 cfm Street Avenger carburetor and an Edelbrock Performer intake. While this engine might not be a high-RPM tire fryer, it does have more than enough umph to help James enjoy the drive.
Since this is a true cruiser vehicle, a Turbo 350 automatic transmission is the shift maker of choice. Built by Simpson Transmission in Ararat, North Carolina, it features a 12-inch Jeg’s torque converter and a TransGo shift Improver kit. To finalize the driveline, Advance Driveline of Orlando, Florida, rebuilt the GM corporate 12-bolt rearend by filling it with a set of 3.42 gears and Moser axles.
The Chevy C10 – Vintage Luxury
If you look in the cab, you’re met with a very classic look with a medium and light blue combination of vinyl. That is, until you spy the dash and steering column. James deviated from stock by adding Flaming River steering column with tilt, and a wood encircled steering wheel. The custom dash cluster is a Classic Dash original that houses Auto Meter gauges. Finally, tunes are a must in this capable cruiser, so he installed a Pioneer head unit with six speakers surrounding the seat. But, there is one thing that James would like to add, and he chuckled as he said, “Being in Florida, I’m definitely adding air conditioning!”
Although the family pickup truck has continually gained in popularity, the modern versions have become upscale and very expensive. In fact, some don’t even use them as trucks anymore. All of the big Three make basic work trucks, but it’s ever so tempting to pile on the options if you are designing your personal hauler.
While James may have forgone the many comforts afforded by purchasing a new, high-priced hauler like a Denali or fully-loaded Silverado, but what his truck might not carry in creature comforts, it more than makes up for with class. His ’70 Chevrolet C10 comes from a time when the pickup was a workhorse, and although his CST was considered upscale for the time, its minimalistic design and good looks make an enthusiast’s dream today.