1966 Chevy C-10 Fleetside
17 November 2004
Here are a few pictures of my 1966 Chevrolet, C-10, Fleetside Custom Cab pickup. It has a factory 327 cid with a two barrel Rochester carburetor coupled to a granny-low four-speed.
I purchased the truck from a body shop manager at a local car dealership in Overland Park, KS. He purchased it from a body shop that was refurbishing it for the original owner. Unfortunately, the owner passed away during the process and the body shop sold it the fellow I bought it from for the price of the work they had completed. That new owner purchased it in March of 2004 and did not have the time to complete the frame-off restoration. I purchased it in October of 2004 and commenced the process of putting it back together.
My fascination for the '65 and '66 pickups started when I was in high school, some 25 years ago. My neighbor had a 1965 short box, stepside. Later his younger brother bought a 1966 long bed, Fleetside. Since he was a bit older than me, he drove me to school on many occasions. During these trips I became fond of the style of these trucks.
As my 16th birthday approached, I began scouring the classifieds of the local newspaper in hopes of finding my first truck. I located one in Harrisionville, MO (ironically my birthplace). It was 1966 Chevrolet, C-10, Fleetside, Standard Cab pickup with a straight six and a three-speed on the column. It was used as a farm truck and it showed. The owner was a retired farmer looking to get rid of some old junk. I bought the truck for $500 cash and drove it home.
At the time, I didn't have much money to do the many upgrades I wanted, but I did have a garage full of tools (thanks to my Father) and a whole lot of "want to" to get it in shape. I spent the spent the entire weekend removing grease, dirt, manure, chewing tobacco and any other foreign matter that looked out of place. I gave her a nice bath and a fresh coat of wax.
The rest is history. That truck lasted me though high school and I soon had my plans set for college. I also had my eyes on a 1965 Chevrolet, C-10, Fleetside, Custom Cab pickup owned by the maintenance man at the local Holiday Inn. He was the original owner of the truck and since he was so handy, he kept it in fine shape. It had a straight six with a granny-low four-speed in it. I coddled that truck like a baby and it lasted through my colleges years. My last semester of college, I decided to take an Auto Body course. She was starting to show a little rust in the usual places. I worked on that truck as often as the instructor would let me and on the day of the final exam, I drove it out of the shop with a fresh coat of paint. I received an "A" in the class for my efforts. My instructor told me "in his many years of teaching auto body, he had seen many students lose interest and motivation to complete their projects and he thought I might be one of them." He was as surprised as I was the day I drove it out of the shop.
Not long after I graduated from college the truck was stolen and nearly destroyed. The local police found it a few days later abandoned on someone's property. I had to go to the police impound yard to identify it. The engine, wheels, tires, seat, stereo were gone and most everything else was destroyed. I felt like I had lost my best friend.
For the past 17 years I have been without that old truck, but had many lingering memories of it and the '66 I owned in high school. A few years ago I began looking for a replacement for "Ole Red" and came across the 1966 you see in the photos. I have been working feverishly to get her back together and road-worthy.
I feel like I have fallen into the "Fountain of Youth" since I brought her home. So many memories, both good and bad, about my early experiences of owning and working on these old trucks. Unlike the early days, I have a little more money to work with, so I have added may new parts and accessories from LMC and Chevy Duty. The bed is the only area still needing attention. After replacing some bad metal, the bed will be painted to match the cab.
I recently titled, registered and licensed her. The DMV in my area issued an Antique plate. I was fortunate enough to get "LILRD66" as my personalized plate. I will forward additional photos when she is complete.
Although she isn't a daily driver, I take her out every day the sun shines. She makes this 40 year old feel like a teenager again.
Anthony S. Smith
"4-5-6 Chevy Trucks"
Bolter # 5355
Tony's got himself a nice line-up of Chevy trucks: