Chevrolet started selling their first truck in 1918; the same year Chevrolet became part of GM and a year after they produced the first V-8 engine! The first trucks were built as work trucks and were sold minus the bed. The customer bought the cab & chassis from Chevrolet and then went to the aftermarket for the bed which was usually made of wood. This changed little for many years….in fact during the 20’s the trucks used the ‘car’ chassis and cab and all the controls of the model 490 car. (490 was how many dollars the car sold for new!) As other manufactures of the time did, Chevrolet used their roadster model car for their light duty delivery trucks….which was kinda cool. So all the T-Buckets with the little short pickup bed could be correct! From the late 20’s until the mid 50’s the Chevrolet pickup was considered a work truck and as such was a most basic form of transportation, almost Spartan. In the 50’s to 1966 Chevrolet made their pickups a little lower and a little more stylish. They even offered air conditioning in 1965 but they were still a work truck first and everything else was secondary.
In 1967 the “new generation” Chevrolet pickup was introduced and this ushered in the concept of the pick up as a pleasure vehicle OR a work truck. They even had a “CST” model, the Custom Sport Truck. In keeping with the pleasure vehicle concept almost all Chevrolet pickups had coil rear springs for a softer more civilized ride in comparison to their cousins at GMC which had rear leaf springs for their load carrying capabilities at the sacrifice of ride. The GMC was considered a “work truck” and the Chevrolet was considered more of a truck that could double as a car….this would change years later….like a rock…. The 1967 model year also introduced the four wheel drive system to the lineup as the K model. The interiors started getting nicer and more “car” like then in 1970 Chevrolet introduced the AM/FM radio in the pick up! Remember that in 1969-70 FM radio was broadcasting mainly “long hair” Classical music and album rock was just starting up on FM…. This was not the kind of music usually associated with a truck! The step side was standard since the 1920’s and was continued as the base price pickup. This gave Chevrolet lower price point advantage for competitive government bidding. The wood bed floor was still standard in the step sides but now was an option in the fleet sides….and as a note the wood was always painted the body color, never varnished or cleared.
In 1967 Chevrolet offered the 250ci inline 6cyl and the 283ci v-8 as standard but had the option of a 327v-8. In 1968 the inline 6cyl remained the same but the 283ci was replaced with the 307v-8, the 327v-8 was still offered and the new 396ci v-8 rat motor was introduced. In 1969 the 327 was replaced by the 350ci motor and the 396 was retained till 1971 when it became the 402ci motor. The 350 was to remain the motor of choice for many years…in fact that is what Bill has in his pick up.
Bill was looking for a suitable pick up and in 2002 he found a farm truck in North Carolina, a 1970 Chevy Stepside, which met his criteria. He began planning and executing the work that would transform his farm find to one of the nicest Chevy pickups around. Bill designed, fabricated and completed all the body work as well as the interior. David Jones of Stafford laid on the House of Color Tangelo Pearl paint. The wood in the bed and the center console was built by Bill using red oak with Pecan stain. Bill lowered his truck by installing Western Chassis dropped spindles and springs. He built the 350ci motor with Edelbrock cam and dual EndraShine 500 cfm carbs. He used a Crossfire HEI ignition and Hedman headers and did not spare the bling bling on the rest of the engine compartment. I especially like the body color painted brake booster. The truck has been featured in Classic Truck magazine in August of 2007 which should be no surprise after you see it in person.
Bill drives his truck to most of the local cruise-ins and goes with us on our over the road cruises….in fact he was one of the few people that brought out their “special” vehicle on the recent Country Roads Rally….it’s a driver and a very nice driver at that. He attends most local shows and is seldom disappointed when the awards are given out. The Flowmaster exhaust system has a unique sound, not too rowdy but growling enough to be respected. I think Bill's truck has made the transition from work truck to pleasure ride....if you don't think so just ask him to haul some gravel for you....grin If you see Bill and his orange beauty at a show or cruise stop by and talk….he loves to talk about his truck. Be sure to click on the images for much larger ones.