In Motion Capsule: 1971 Chevrolet C-20 Custom Fleetside – Old Bluey

042 - 1971 - '72 Chevrolet Custom 20 CC

You can’t easily fake or manufacture the kind of patina this truck proudly exhibits.  It’s called “character”.  I spotted this pickup in traffic only a few blocks from the upscale shopping district of Michigan Avenue referred to as the “Magnificent Mile”.  It stood absolutely no chance of blending in with the Toyotas, BMWs and Porsches moving alongside it in traffic.  I wonder where the driver was headed and how she liked driving it.  There’s a seeming honesty about this Chevy that’s as all-American as a pair of faded overalls or “Sad Papaw“.  As such, it probably offered a much more unique and exclusive driving experience than the cars around it on this particular day in 2014.

While I was fiddling with my camera trying to get these pictures, I was unable to take a snapshot (mental or actual) of this truck’s front grille, which would have given me some clue as to whether it was a ’72 (with a black-finished grille surround) or a ’71 (without).  So, I’m going with ’71 – and if that is correct, this example would be one of about 72,500 C/K Fleetside pickups produced for the model year.  Two-wheel-drive models were designated “C”, with “K” representing four-wheel-drive models.  In its most basic form in 2WD configuration, it weighed almost exactly two tons, and went for prices starting at $3,058 (about $18,000 in 2016).  For comparison, the most basic 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 carries a base price of $27,095 – a figure which is, curiously, almost exactly 50% more than the ’71, adjusted for inflation.

045 - 1971 - '72 Chevrolet Custom 20 pickup CC

I don’t know pickups like some folks, but this one appears to be an 8′ bed on the longer 127″ wheelbase versus the 115″ length also offered, judging by pictures I was able to find on the internet.  There was also a 133″ wb Longhorn offered with an extended 8.5′ bed, designed specifically for slide-in campers.

These trucks came standard with a 250 c.i. 6-cylinder, but could be ordered with a V8 in displacements of 307, 350, or 402 cubic inches.  I feel the battle scars on this one only add to its cool-factor.  It just looks like a hardworking hero – an interesting character that would have a good story to tell.

Downtown, Near North District, Chicago, Illinois.
Saturday, May 20, 2014.