01 November 2015
1965 Chevy C10 Shortbed 1/2-Ton Stepside
From Jay :
On September 18, 2011, I pulled home a very original truck -- a 1965 Chevy 1/2-ton Stepside. She didn't run but she was a good candidate for a full rebuild. (Here's Jay's original post when he joined the forum ... but you'll see from his years of posts, he's got a lot of good information about this truck! ~ Editor)
I found the truck listed on Craigslist and it was just outside of Columbia, South Carolina. The fellow who had it was flipping it. He got it from someone who was just going to crush it and this seller wanted to save it. He put it in his front yard and listed it on CL. I was the first one to call and we made a deal that same day. That makes me the third owner of this old truck.
Of course it didn't run and I had to bring it home on a tow dolly.
The old truck was definitely all original, even with the carburetor with a tag. The only thing missing was the original bench seat. Someone put in little bucket seats out of an S-10 or something. They weren't even bolted down correctly.
I have another classic, a 1966 Ford Galaxie 2-door, that I got when my two sons were in high school. They thought it would be cool to have a hot rod older car. When they saw how long it would take to get the restoration done, they lost interest.
For the Ford, I had all of the "serious work" done by local shops and that was very expensive. This time, I was determined to do ALL OF THE WORK to bring life back into this 1965 C10 Shortbed.
There were lots of dents on the truck body and the engine didn't run. Fine! I can learn bodywork and the engine would probably run since it had only 88K miles on the odometer.
Right from the start my mantra has been, "If I ruin something trying to do it myself, well . . . that's OK. I'll fix it. It's a truck after all, not a Ferrari."
I am doing this to learn; not to earn a trophy. I have picked up a lot from forums and the knowledgeable people who have been down this road. I have become good friends with Alvin "A Chipmunk" Parris (the Stovebolt Welcome Centre moderator ... and happens to live in South Carolina, too. ~ Editor)
Next week, Tramp, a guy from Stovebolt that Alvin knows, is bringing me an engine for my truck.
I research everything. I read and read and read before I do anything. I have a friend down the corner who is a hot rod guy from long ago. He helps me a lot. Hot Rod Lincoln has been a great help, too.
My way of giving back is the T5 transmission stuff that I have learned. I have worked and worked to understand how the T5 will and will not work with our trucks, especially the In-line 6 engines. These guys who have old trucks and want to do better than 55 down the highway, they constantly come to me looking for help. I have a separate blog dedicated just to the information I have gathered on the T5. My passion has been T5 transmission modifications so they bolt right up to these older Chevy trucks.
The learning curve also includes plenty of trail and error. And there is nothing better than a very supportive spouse, for encouragement.
After four years of hard work, I finally had a driving truck. Everything came off the frame and was cleaned, rebuilt or replaced if needed and then reassembled. The first three years of work were done under a shade tree in the yard. Once the cab was set in place, it came into the garage until the front sheet metal was in place to cover the engine.
By late August 2015, four years after the purchase, I was finally able to drive the truck for the first time. All of my hard work was rewarded with a very nice, driveable truck that was much more pleasurable than I could have imagined. First time out, nothing fell off. Third or fourth time, well those were different stories! I have had to eat some humble pie in my posts in the forum! For example: I had a badly adjusted brake pedal ... not good!
To make my goal, I hurried through a few bodywork issues, but nothing crucial.
The truck has a transplanted 1971 250 cubic inch Inline 6 that needs a rebuild and a T5 transmission.
The sheet metal is all original with a few 1964-66 era pieces from the salvage yard, plus a few patch panels. There's plenty of body work left to do.
The GMC hood makes it a little different and I have a C50 grille that may find its way onto the truck soon.
The aluminum slots are vintage 1970's Jeep Wagoneer with 235/75/15 tires and a factory stance.
Sticking with my original plan, I've done 99.9% of the work myself. Through it all, I've learned how to weld sheet metal and do body work, how to rebuild a T5 transmission, build a wood bed, completely rewire a truck, bend and flare brake lines.
I've documented many of the steps of this project on my BLOG. The BLOG is there to amuse, teach, and inspire others as they see me, a true novice, tackle the 1001 steps involved in bringing my truck back to life.
I'll drive it in primer for now and once the body work is done I'll paint it myself. I've never painted a truck before, but why not? It's a truck, not a Ferrari. I can do it . . . . with a little help from my friends, namely a bunch of great Stovebolters who are very knowledgeable, helpful and encouraging.
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