1961 Chevy K-10 4 x 4
09 January 2006
I have owned this truck (VIN Number 1K144L-112529) since 1985, when I got my driver's license. The truck is a 1961 Chevy K10 (4 x 4) with a 235 I-6 motor. My Dad and I purchased the truck in Arizona (where I was living at the time) from the Prescott Fire Department at an auction they held to liquidate old equipment. I think that I paid ~ $450 for the truck.
The truck had been used in the mountains doing forest fire reconnaissance, for surveying fire roads, and delivering firefighters to wildfires. Prior to its life in the Prescott Fire Department, I believe that it was used by the U.S. Forest Service in the Prescott National Forest.
When I bought the truck, it had been painted "day-glo" yellow; the same color that many fire departments use for their vehicles. The transfer case was missing, as were the rear drive shaft and the jack shaft between the transmission and transfer case. I sourced and rebuilt a transfer case, and had the shafts made at a local machine shop. I also removed all of the extra wiring that had been added for various lights, radios and other equipment.
After this and an oil change, the truck was ready to go as a daily driver. The truck also made regular camping / 4-wheeling trips into the mountains with my buddies and I. It's a solid driver, with a lot of usable low-end grunt.
In 1987, I stripped the many layers of Fire Department yellow / Forest Service green paint off the truck and prepared it for new paint. I found that the truck's base color was a Navy gray color - and I found Navy serial numbers stenciled on the doors and tailgate (after all of the other paint had been removed.) Based on this discovery, I think that the truck was originally ordered by the Navy from the Los Angeles assembly plant.
I repainted the truck the current orange / red color in the winter of 1988 and it's had the same color since then. I had the motor rebuilt back in 1997 by Fred Mikkelson in Chino Valley, Arizona. I've put about 4500 miles on the truck since then, plus another ~ 50 hours of running time when I start it up in the garage.
The truck is ready to be re-restored and I have slowly been gathering bits and pieces for that. The truck is mostly original, except for small things like a steering dampener and a bolt-on addition of power steering from a '78 Suburban. The truck has rust in the usual spots: the rocker panels, the lower front part of the doors, and the lower rear portion of the front fenders. Aside from that, the metal is complete and unaltered.
The truck currently lives inside my garage in Northern California.
Great site and a great resource, thanks!
Bay Area of Northern California
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