04 October 2015
1965 Chevy C-10
More pictures of my old truck
From Chaz :
The way I found this old truck is a long story.
I have been into old cars and trucks since I was a kid (like most of us). I was more into cars when I was younger, mainly because my Dad was more into cars. We were living on Long Island, New York, in the '80s and '90s, and not a lot of guys drove trucks.
So I had been driving old cars (mainly beaters) since I figured out how to drive. It was the classic story of driving something until I finished it, got sick of it, or broke it beyond repair -- that definitely applied to me.
Fast forward to 2001. I was stationed out in California and I got my first pickup truck. Nothing to run home about, really. It was an 1988 D-50 that I got for free from a buddy. I built the entire truck and it came out pretty good. So I decided that my next one was going to be something to remember.
I thought about building a truck, but the car thing took over and I bought a 1953 Pontiac Chieftain (which I still have). I’ve had a ton of cars and trucks in the meantime, but that one has always remained “my permanent project.”
Well, since that little pickup truck I built, I have always had some kind of truck. Some old, some new, but always had something. I came off of cruise in 2012 and realized that somewhere in all the chaos, I found myself without a truck.
I took that opportunity to search for an old truck (Chevy, of course) that I could drive, build as I drive and still use it as an everyday driver as I was doing this. I looked around quite a bit. I knew I wanted a Chevy, but I wasn’t sure of what style. I love the ’41-’47 years, but the lack of heat, defrost and electric wipers were something that I didn’t want to deal with on a daily basis -- not to mention the lack of room in the half ton trucks back then.
The Advance Design were another one of my favorites, but had the same deterring factors that the earlier years had. It was soon obvious that I wanted a C-10. So I began my search.
I looked at a few 1967 and newer trucks and I was thinking of going that way until a friend of mine hit me up and told me that he was looking at an old truck and wanted me to go and check it out with him, since it was going to be his first old vehicle.
We get there and here was this 1964 Chevy C-10 Stepside. Such a beautiful truck. It had the size and commodities of the ’67 and newer trucks, with the style of something much older.
It was then that I knew what I had to find. I knew I wanted a 1964-1966 C-10. I looked at a few of them, but every one I found was either a Stepside, a long bed or was all chopped up. I wanted a shortbed, Fleetside, small window truck and I wanted one as original as possible.
I almost bought a ’64, but luckily my wife talked me out of it. Just when I was ready to widen my search because I wasn’t having any luck, my 12 year old son say’s “Hey dad, is this what you want?”
There is was ... the exact truck I was looking for 35 miles away in Fresno, Ca. I went to look at it with my wife and fell in love with it immediately.
I left a deposit and went back with my son to pick it up and drive it home. Figured since he was the one who found it, he should get to have the first ride in it. During that ride is when we found out that the gas gauge didn’t work, so we ended up on the side of the road, waiting for my wife and daughter to bring us some gas.
The truck was in really good shape when we found it. It was a 32k mile farm truck that had never been out of Fresno, California. In fact, the farmer had an old log book in the glove box with all the maintenance he had done to the truck dating back to the '90s when he removed the Inline 6 and 3 on the tree to put a 350 with a granny 4 speed in the truck.
I bought it from a guy who owned an upholstery shop, so there was a complete new interior in the truck when I got it. There wasn’t much for me to do besides fix the gas gauge and cruise it. That’s exactly what I did for about two months.
One morning I was headed to work and I noticed the radio going in and out. About that time, I noticed that smell you never want to smell… ELECTRICAL FIRE!!
I immediately hit the shoulder and popped the hood. There were wires sizzling on both sides of the motor, but especially in front of the radiator. I ripped the wire off the battery and everything calmed down.
After I got it towed home, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Someone had tried to “make” a 1-wire alternator and one of those connections came loose. Easy enough fix. I put in a new REAL 1-wire alternator and replaced all the wire that was affected.
Two weeks later, right in the same patch of highway, I heard this loud whine and I felt like the truck was really holding back. When I pushed in the clutch, I realized that the motor was that whine … The temp spiked and the cab began to fill with smoke. I hit that so familiar shoulder again and as I popped the hood, there was white smoke coming out of every spot imaginable. The motor was toast.
As luck would have it, the same tow truck driver showed up again (’67 C-10 owner) and we discussed how I needed to go through this truck. Well, as I explained earlier, this was my daily driver, so that had to happen quickly.
Luckily, I hit Craigslist and found a running 350 out of a ’72 C-10 listed about 45 minutes away. I went that weekend and grabbed it and me and three of my friends did the swap (after re-gasketing the new motor). Monday morning came and I was back on the road!! Leaking a fair amount of oil out of the front of the motor, but back on the road.
I dealt with the leak for a few weeks, then I thought I had it pin pointed to the timing cover, after all, that was the only gasket I didn’t change. Well, I was wrong and the leak continued to get worse. I kept thinking about the fact that I knew nothing about this motor and that the harmonic balancer was pretty beat up when I pulled it to change the timing cover gasket. So maybe I should go through it.
It was summer time in California, so riding my motorcycle seemed like the perfect plan while the motor was being built.
I yanked the motor and took it to the local machine shop to be re-built. As you can imagine, no gearhead worth his grease would have it built stock… I went with a mild SBC build, bored 0.30 over, RV cam, ported and polished heads, Edelbrock Performer intake and some Ram Horn headers so it can breathe, but still be nostalgic.
The builder took a lot longer to do the work than he estimated, so I ended up riding my bike though a Lemoore winter (which I don’t recommend).
After a while, I was getting nervous because I had orders to Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland and still no motor for my truck!!
In all, it took nine months and I got my motor back just two weeks before I needed to be on the road to Maryland. So I dropped the motor between the frame rails, put the truck on the trailer behind the moving truck and headed East.
My good luck continued as I rolled into Virginia and the transmission on my wife’s car let go. After a few phone calls and some favors from friends, we got the trailer she was pulling to Mechanicsville and all of our vehicles there too… eventually.
So now here we are, just arrived in an area we have never been to before and absolutely no transportation besides a Penske truck! The few people I did know here had ZERO automotive knowledge, so I was on my own.
My wife, son and I unloaded and returned the moving truck and as my wife and son were setting up the house, I was in the garage getting this motor assembled and put in the truck. I already had that motor out, in and back out, so everything was bagged and tagged and I didn’t have to battle any rust or stuck bolts along the way. Not only that, the engine fired perfectly and everything broke in without a hitch.
This was just done in November 2014 and it’s been my daily driver again since.
I’ve been changing little things as they are needed (e.i., starter, horn relay, ignition switch, battery, heater core) but I don’t mind ... It only makes it more reliable in the end.
The truck just turned 37k on it and I will be doing the first oil change on the new motor since I dumped the break in oil.
As you probably suspected, I have a lot of plans for the truck. I want to make it more driver friendly, with things like disc brakes, new performance suspension (the guy that owned the upholstery shop heated the springs to lower it), maybe a 5 or 6 speed and swap out the stock 4:11’s in the rear for a more highway friendly posi. Of course, that will also induce a wheel change. Once that’s all done, maybe some air conditioning. Paint and body will be last, but I love the color combo (especially with the original 1965 California black tag on the back bumper) so I don’t see me changing that at all.
in early September, some clown on Rt. 5 (one of the main roads here in "the county" ~ Editor) decided to cut me off at the last second and forced me into another car. Luckily, just the front left fender of my truck, the corner of the hood and some scuffs on the bumper, were damaged. I'm still able to drive it. To add insult to injury, the guy that caused the whole thing took off. Luckily no one was hurt and I was not at fault. Glad I didn't paint the truck yet. Haha!! There a pix of the damage in the Bolt Bucket.
As soon as I get my kid's truck on the road, my '65 will be back in the garage for some body work and new suspension over the winter. I'll have some more pics then.
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