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Norm Zabala's

1964 Chevy Crew Cab Longbed

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09 February 2005

From Norm: 

      Howdy Folks @ Stovebolt!

      I own a 1964 Chevy, three door / Crew Cab Longbed pickup. I purchased it on January 4, 2005 in Lower Lake, CA near the Napa wine country. It was just a few days after parting with my first '64 C-10 Custom Cab fleetside longbed. This picture was taken the morning of my purchase in just before I handed over the $$ and drove it away. You'll notice it does snow in California. Thank God the sun is right behind it each time it falls :-)

      My interest in the '64 came just after I had wrecked a '91Burban in 1999. Not wanting to pay the foolish price for another late model truck, I opted to hunt for something more my style. Ya see I had a pair of '60's Caddy's in the garage at the time -- 1963 Coupe and 1965 Eldorado - both gone now.

      In January of 2000, I stumbled upon my '64 C-10. It was just off the San Joaquin Delta in the town Bethel Island located in East Contra Costa County. I was hunting for a '50's Caddy for the then President and CEO of Gilroy-based Indian Motorcycle Company. Well, the car we saw was not up to par. It was restored twice with bad work done each time. Too much work to redo. While leaving the Caddy sight, on the right side of the road was a pair of Chevy trucks: a '64 and a '53. The '64 had a "For Sale" sign in the window. I asked to stop the Suburban we are in so I can take a look. I was told "if we stop, you better buy!" It was a joke, but I did buy it a day or two later.

      During that time and being the "geek" I am, I did some research on the '60's Chevy pickup. I came across a picture of a 3/4 - rear shot of a green/white 1965 4-door crew cab. I went crazy. I said to myself "I gotta have this truck!!!!" So I searched and could not fine one - then.

      I got my '64 C-10 and was the happiest kid on the block. It had been "teenaged" for the past decade or so. Meaning it was different shades of gray primer. Had to fix lots of the electricals - i.e.: three colors of wire in a 1-foot length. Redo the floor shifter -barely worked, suspension had heated coils. Also did a swap out of the cracked 283 for a 400 stroked small block and 4.11 from a '67 Chevy 3.07 rearend. Turned out to be a great runner and OK looker by the time I was done in late 2002. Drove it till I sold it December 30, 2004.

      Now comes Holiday Season 2004. My neighbor is buggin to get a '60-66 Chevy Longbed Pickup. Mine was parked across the street from his home every night. I did not want to sell mine so I told him to pick up a "trader" rag to see what was there. He fumbled around - hemmed and hawed at a few Chevy's and F@&%$ in the paper. I took a look at it to see what the big deal was and flipped the page to one before. Well there it was - a 1964 Chevy Crew Cab with three doors and a 350/350 combo.

      I instantly called the number and the guy said he still had it. He said it was kind of rough but ran well. He purchased it five year's prior from the wife of a guy who had done the motor and tranny swap as well as done other work too - cruise control. Don indicated that most called from Southern California about the truck. Apparently these folks did not have the time or want to go to Northern California in an area two hours from San Fran to see it or pick it up.

      I indicated to Don that I am originally from the San Fran area and would be up there for the holidays. He offered to send me a few pics in the mean time. Well I get the pics before "Turkey" Day and already made my decision to sell my C-10 and my '63 Caddy so I can get this RARE '64 Crew Cab. I was not able to make it up North for Thanksgiving. I indicated to Don I wanted to make an offer and give a deposit. He said yes and I sent off the $$. I did not make it to No Cal till Xmas eve.

      The day after Xmas was my b-day and I wanted to finally go check out this running '64 Crew Cab, one I've hunted for quite sometime. I drove my '64 C-10 the two-plus hours in the heavy rain to Lower Lake, CA. I get to the property to see this rig. Don is not there but I speak to him on the phone and he told me to fire up the C-20. I did and it was better running than my C-10! Called him back and indicated that I'd be back as soon as I sold both my '64 C-10 and '63 Caddy. Told him it may be a couple of weeks. He said he'd hold the truck for me till March 1st 2005. Nice guy!!

      Well on the way back to my folk's home near San Fran, I stop for gas. A guy pulls up and says "How much for that truck?" We talk a bit and I find out he owns a '65 C-10 around the corner that he's been working on to get it to look like mine - black and white primered "rat truck" with wide white walls. I told him the price and we agreed to talk it over the next few days.

      December 30, 2004 -- I drive to drop off my '64 C-10 to this guy and he drops me off to get a rental car so I can go home to So Cal. I get home late that night. Wake up the next day on December 31 - New Years Eve. A local guy stops by to check out the '63 Caddy. We go for a test ride and it's gone. He hands me the $$ and I give him the keys to a Caddy that I was the second owner of for the past 10 years. I then call Don - the owner of the '64 C-20 Crew Cab to say I'll be there on Tuesday to pickup "my" pickup. He says "GREAT!!!!"

      On Monday January 3, I hop in a rental SUV with a buddy and my Boxer to head North AGAIN. We get the truck on Tuesday January 4. We head back to So Cal on Wednesday only after having to swap out the front wheel bearings that Don warned me about. I did it. Then we were on our way home. Snow was melting off of the roof and bed. Critter "stuff" was fallin from the headliner too. We stopped before we hit the highway to remove the headliner and clean out most of the "stuff."

      It drove (and drives) great. Nice and strong all the way (700+ miles) home at almost 70-80 mph most of the time!! Better on gas than the C-10 was for sure! The crate 350 has only bout 20,000 miles on it! Only problem on the 700+ mile trip home was a ripped belt in Camarillo.

      Well it's been a few weeks and I have done only a tune up, cleaned out the cab, engine compartment and put on the stock rear wheels. Not a bad rig at all. Glad I got it and now I'm planning on the "reconditioning" of the beast. Not gonna go for show or stock. Just a fine running "rat truck" is all I want. Will do some body and suspension this year. Next year .... well stay tuned.

      Here is the web site I've started for my 64 C-20 with pics of the former '64 C-10 and other stuff too.

      I'd like to hear from anybody else, especially others that may have a '60's Crew Cab. Not sure why I never saw The Stovebolt Page before, but be sure I'll be back!!

      That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Thanks for readin' my ramblins.

"Crew-zin 64"
"The Grumpster"

Norm Zabala

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