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I was not really looking for another truck. (pics)..
#1375282 Sat Aug 29 2020 08:06 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 199
Shop Shark
but this one is really a once in a lifetime old truck if you are from the Midwest (Illinois) and fool around with old vehicles at all. The backstory.... I have a little vacation camp in northern Michigan in the Manistee National Forest and travel there several times a year now that I am retired. I was in the Ludington, Michigan area and saw this old 1971 Chevy pickup sitting in a front yard of a well kept rural home with a for sale sign in the window.

I usually ignore for sale vehicles in my area of northern Illinois as rust or covered up rust is the norm. Over the years I have saved/restored a few vintage vehicles but found them in other states and made the journey to drag them home and save myself lots of aggravation and some money as the bodywork is the enemy of the budget usually. You know the story...hidden rust..covered rust...bondo...chicken wire and newspaper with filler.. Disaster and extra work.

This truck looked a little beat up, faded paint and some scratches and dents.... but the original paint and patina looked just old and I was amazed that the cab corners and wheel wells were not bubbled or rusty. I saw a hint of light SURFACE rust in a couple of spots but nothing else. The underside was AMAZING... sandy soil near Lake Michigan and the sandy road had left a pretty fair amount of fine sand all over the underside. So now I am intrigued....

I call the number and speak with the older than me gentleman...also retired.. a school teacher... and learn all about Old Yeller.... In 1971, his father orders this truck from the Ludington, Michigan Chevy dealer close by. The family has a fruit orchard with 2 seasonal roadside stands and they need a truck for the working of the fruit harvesting and hauling to the nearby farm stands. His dad ordered the stock 6 cylinder 250 engine, manual 3 on the tree, manual brakes basic truck. He optioned the truck with a heavy duty clutch, heavy duty rear springs, a full foam seat, black vinyl trim, a front chrome bumper and the white factory pin stripe on the solid Ochre color. He splurged and went for the Chrome hubcaps. He had the dealer install a rear step bumper for the workers. Basic work truck.

Okay now here is the really cool stuff (to me and some of you I bet).. this old work truck is still in the family.. (dad passed away in 2006 at age 94 and the son is who I am talking to) has 25100 ORIGINAL MILES ON IT. That is 25 thousand original miles from nearly 50 years ago... I am not convinced as any of us would be many times have the ads all said...blah blah blah and its turned over or been broken or worse just liars. ESPECIALLY a truck..they got the wheels driven off them back in the day as nobody was thinking low miles...they were WORKING. So I jokingly ask the gentleman what was so broken for so long that the truck sat for years unrepaired or stolen smile.. he laughed and said Dad bought the old hard to steer and brake Chevy truck for the Orchard and Farmstands. The family worked hard every summer for over 40 years in that little orchard business and every late fall the truck was put in the barn and backed up to the doors so no one could get in and the family wintered in Clearwater, Florida for 45 years. THE TRUCK NEVER EVER SAW SALT OR WINTER since new. When his father left him the truck he occasionally took it out in the summer but did not like driving it, so with the exception of gas and a little annual exercise for the last 14 years it was mostly stored in a metal building with concrete floor..... And this man and his wife STILL go to Florida every year also and he is sneaking up on 80. He said the truck got about 500 miles a year for about 45 years or so in the orchard to farm business.

When he finally decides to sell "Dad's truck as the family called it (key tag still said Dad's truck) he did so after he asked the original dealership if they wanted to buy it for display or reference as he knew it was unmolested and sold by them. They did not want to give him a fair price as they said it was too much of a stock basic truck. He said his daughter had no interest in the truck and he knew it was time to let it go. I will tell you I paid twice what it probably was worth to most folks but glad to do so. There are folks in other parts of the country that may run across rust free, low mileage, one owner etc. but not me and I have been in the hobby for 40 plus years.
I test drive the truck and it is amazingly tight, runs good and only needs a tailpipe and new tires that I can determine. (more to come)

I promise to keep the family updated and me and Old Yeller head for home. I have this true survivor with no restoration plan except to enjoy and maintain with a few well deserved perks.... adventure update to follow.. Apologies if this was too long but Old Yeller, the survivor needs the story told. :-)

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Rasman 1971 Chevy C10 stock 260 6 cyl 3 on the tree manual everything.
1959 Chevy 1/2-Ton []

Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375285 Sat Aug 29 2020 08:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 199
Shop Shark
The original unmolested stuff is amazing to me as I have never found one that somebody had not already altered, changed, cut, fixed, replaced, or was just missing. I get the truck home and have to prove to myself that 25,100 miles are all that is on this truck. Let's do some forensic examination...

So I pull the front wheels and wonder if 25000 miles would mean original disc brakes.....71 was the first year on the truck. Oh my goodness...original slot rotors and ORIGINAL pads with about half or less gone. WOW! The date code on the tires were from 1989 so the second set..after 18-19 years or so on the originals. I find the CANADA built Chevy truck still has the made in Canada light bulbs throughout the whole vehicle.

The service record provided by the seller shows the dealer serviced oil/lube the truck every few seasons only due to no miles. Someone disconnected the first year (71) monojet carb emissions line and plugged it. Everything else including the canister and lines are intact and working from the gas tank and PCV valve.

The exhaust system is original with a needed new tailpipe and the muffler pipe needs to be replaced probably. My local exhaust guy is almost my age (63) and he says he cant remember seeing original hangers and stock system for YEARS. He points out the original spiral body shock absorbers and confirms the factory sticker on them and says they are not leaking and solid.

I replace the exhaust system and drive to the local tire shop to put some new tires on the old worker... I pick out a normal to me profile set of 235/75/15 to fit on the factory rims. The tire shop has 4 or 5 working bays of mostly young guys who hustle and are good at their job...HOWEVER not one of them knew how to drive a 3 speed manual (3 on the tree) and the manager asked me to pull it in and out. (Retirement Reality Check.. REALLY ?)

I find that the original GM radio from 1971 was dealer installed and the optional antenna was not selected. The dealer had one of those thin wire antennas under the dash and the reasoning was the orchard branches had routinely scratched the fenders, knocked off the mirrors every few years as well as crack the plastic grill in a few spots. The son remembers listening to Paul Harvey in the truck many times. (Google.. if you don't know of him sadly :-) The bed of the truck was OBVIOUSLY used for crates of fruit as years of work patina could been seen and enjoyed!

I find one ORIGINAL headlight is not turn signal bulb (Canada original) not working and the ORIGINAL wipers need replacing. Oh my.

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Rasman 1971 Chevy C10 stock 260 6 cyl 3 on the tree manual everything.
1959 Chevy 1/2-Ton []

Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375286 Sat Aug 29 2020 08:41 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,213
Moderator - The Electrical Bay and Rocky Mountain Bolters
Wow. NICE find! I like the mileage.. 25 and 292.

Last edited by Rusty Rod; Sat Aug 29 2020 08:41 PM.

Another quality post.

Real Trucks Rattle

HELP! The Paranoids are after me!
Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375289 Sat Aug 29 2020 08:55 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 199
Shop Shark
I do some basic cleaning and marvel at the original floor mat condition...the seat is used but wonderfully preserved and not torn. The seat belts were tucked away and like new once I cleaned them up. I decide the old retired truck need some well deserved and hard earned dressing up that would make the original look just a bit fancy. I put on a set of thin chrome wheel trim rings after I spend a day cleaning and polishing up the original chrome hub caps cant get these anymore. They went from dingy to somewhat outstanding after a couple hours of elbow grease and blue magic and brasso. I had the tire shop put the white letters in and went with the old school worker truck look. :-)

I replace the cracked egg crate style plastic grille with a brand new chromed plastic that looks terrific in my opinion (non original I know) with the factory chrome front bumper. I retire the old crooked beat up dealer installed rear step bumper with a new high quality correct factory style chrome one and license plate bracket and light. The original FACTORY harness had the plug in still for the new light after the dealer provided short harness for the work bumper was removed. NO TAPE..NO CUT WIRES..NO SPLICE.. original... I am amazed.

New factory style side view mirrors finish up the outside for now and Old Yeller is stylin....So off we go enjoying a few local rural roads.. vent wing open window down arm on the door and its the 70's... So them we need gas.... fill her up... oh boy...... more to come.

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0829201206_HDR (1024x768).jpg (156.95 KB, 201 downloads)

Rasman 1971 Chevy C10 stock 260 6 cyl 3 on the tree manual everything.
1959 Chevy 1/2-Ton []

Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375290 Sat Aug 29 2020 09:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 199
Shop Shark
The truck with new tires and an oil change and grease job drives like new, handles well and is so nostalgic I drive with a smile for about a 50 or so miles before the quarter of tank of gas needs to be filled.

Of course it never occurred to me that MAYBE the 50 year old tank had not had more than a few gallons of gas in it for YEARS... yep filled it full and drove about 2 miles back out to the country before it clogged the carb filter. I limped it home and almost for sure knew... pulled the fuel line from the pump and cranked rusty and kinda sandy gas into a quart container.... Okay... a new tank and a couple fuel lines and carb work rebuild will be in order and about 2 weeks later it is like new. I am here to tell you that ethanol is a pretty good rust remover and maker in old metal stuff not being used a lot... just like they say. Rubber stuff was all replaced too. I put a shiny new cap on the new tank and kept the original body paint color one for posterity.

The tank and lines was pretty easy and once the seat was out I found the cab corners were PERFECT and not a hint of rust. The ORIGINAL cardboard tank cover behind the seat with factory yellow (Ochre) over spray still on it was carefully removed and reused.

I replaced the fuel pump originally (Another post) but the rebuilt Rochester Monojet carb kept flooding and after several trys realized the new pump was the problem...too much Chinese pressure I learned... cleaned the original up and pumped lots of clean gas through it before hooking up and good as new!

It is running like 1971 again and every time I take it out somebody smiles and waves. The young guys want to hot rod it and slam it but still like it in spite of the long bed and strasight 6. My age group marvels at the original condition and tell stories about the old 6 cylinders they had or drove. Some folks want a lesson on the 3 on the tree deal and it is amazing how often it is the topic of discussion. It will stay in the survivor mode for now. It made it this far and is appreciated just like it was and is.

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0829201159_HDR (1024x768).jpg (106.7 KB, 206 downloads)
0829201200a_HDR (1024x768).jpg (168.43 KB, 198 downloads)

Rasman 1971 Chevy C10 stock 260 6 cyl 3 on the tree manual everything.
1959 Chevy 1/2-Ton []

Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375294 Sat Aug 29 2020 10:19 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,195
Housekeeping (Moderator) Making a Stovebolt Bed & Paint and Body Shop Forums
That's an amazing truck. I had a 72 that had been beat to death back in the mid 70's and that one looks very much like mine, but WAY prettier. thumbs_up
Thanks for the story and the pics.

First car '29 Ford Special Coupe
#2 - '29 Ford pickup restored from the ground up.
Newest Project - 51 Chevy 3100 work truck. Photos []
Busting rust since the mid-60's
Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375316 Sun Aug 30 2020 03:36 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,752
You definitely got a good one. Congrats!!


'47 Loadmaster []

1947 Chev. Loadmaster

1959 Chev. Viking 40

Genie: "I am the genie from a magic lamp and I have the power to grant you three wishes."
Me: "I want to be rich."
Genie: "OK, Rich, what's your second wish?"

Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375340 Sun Aug 30 2020 03:59 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,153
Workshop Owner
My first truck was almost your trucks twin. Mine was a '72 C10 Custom, same color and white pin stripe. Bought it in '75 and sold it in '76 after I bought a '68 Chevy short box step side. Thanks for posting the story and the pics, it brings back memories.

Congrat's on your find. thumbs_up


Last edited by J Lucas; Sun Aug 30 2020 04:02 PM.

J Lucas

1941 Chevy 1/2-Ton
1942 Chevy 1.5-Ton SWB
1959 Chevy Apache 31 Fleetside
1959 Chevy Apache 32 Fleetside
1959 Chevy Viking 40

My Flicker Photos! []

Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375347 Sun Aug 30 2020 05:34 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,277
Crusty Old Sarge
Absolutely amazing. Your so right to just keep it original, what a great find...


Come, Bleed or Blister something has got to give!!!
59' Apache 31, 327 V8 (0.030 over), Muncie M20 4 Speed, GM 10 Bolt Rear... long term project (30 years and counting)
Re: I was not really looking for another truck. (long story)..
rasman57 #1375357 Sun Aug 30 2020 08:46 PM
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 697
Well.......,I have to say wonderful AND congratulations, what a great find and obviously to a great new owner. Victory tastes so good. Doc.

Currently making 1954 3100 better than new and Genetics
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