Brett Wilson's

1965 Chevy C-10

"Old Red"

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29 January 2007
# 1795

From Brett :

         My Grandfather's first truck was this red 1965 Chevy C-10. He bought it at an auction in 1972. The story goes that he bid on the truck up to $650. But he let it go and moved on to other things. A half an hour later, the auctioneer said that the winning bidder had driven the truck down the road and the column shifter got stuck. The highest bidder was refusing the truck and they wanted to see if Grandpa would honor his final bid and buy the truck. He did and drove away in it that day.

         The shifter got stuck in an intersection about 15 years later. Being a resourceful guy, and also at the intersection close to the Chevrolet dealership, he got out of the truck, walked into the showroom and bought a new pickup -- with the condition that they tow the one broke down to his property, of course.

         Old Red was relegated to farm tasks and used as the grunt vehicle for years before a busted brake line caused it to be parked in the machine barn. As I grew older, I would dream about the possibilities of what the truck could be some day.

         At a basketball game I told Grandpa that if he ever wanted to do something with it, I would like to be one of the first to know. He called me a few days later and we worked out a deal. One fall's worth of plowing for the truck. I picked up the truck that year and went through it and got it back on the road.

         Later I got married to a young lady that had a seriously neglected Nissan Altima. I gave up my new car for the ability to put real money into the truck and drive it daily to work -- after an engine overhaul and waterproofing the cab.

         Oh, and some great wheels and tires!

         When my wife Kristen's Dad was in town, he was checking it out and remembered that his Father had driven a truck similar to this one. We were on our way to a wedding in the town he was from and that truck was still in the place that his Dad had parked it some 30 years ago. It was a C-20 and not a lot was left. However, it did supply me with a thermostat and temperature gauge housing.

         Then when things were going well, I was driving Red daily with fresh engine, fresh interior. I was struck by a semi tractor that went through a red light on a divided highway. I was heading west on a two lane road at about 5:40. The semi was in the slow lane heading south. I was checking my oil pressure gauge and looked up to see that the light had turned green. There was another car looking to turn left after I went through. I went through three of the four highway lanes, not to mention the two turn lanes. As I cleared the car turning left, I thought I usually check this intersection to make sure everyone stops. The semi's light was red for seven seconds before he struck the bed in the last two feet. The truck ricocheted off the semi into the car turning left and wracked the frame. We are currently dealing with the insurance company of the semi for compensation.

         That left me with no truck and no chance of driving this one any time soon, if at all!

         My wife and I discussed the situation and we decided that we should look for something with a bit more collectibility. I mean more power, of course! We picked up this truck from a local guy who had put quite a bit of time into it. He told me that he had heard about my situation and the truck didn't mean near as much to him as it would to me. But when I finally got his name, it was pretty cool. He had the same name, exactly the same, as the Grandpa that I had bought Old Red from. Funny how it all works out!

         So, this new ride is a 1965 Chevy, also! It has a 283 V8 with a 4-speed floor shift transmission.

Brett Wilson
Lapel, Indiana

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