With few exceptions, foreign classics found in Japan are usually so clean – either preserved or restored – and near perfection that they might be used as archetypes or museum pieces. Domestic cars can also fall into this category, but there is much more variety with those in general. Imports are rare and valuable, so most are extremely well cared-for, which means looking damn near immaculate.
The exceptions overwhelmingly include customized / slammed / rat-rod cars, mostly domestics, VWs or American cars (usually pickups). The fetishism about patina, which has become a real thing in the US and Europe, has yet to really make an impact here. So this C10, proudly displaying its faded paintjob, newly lined bed and meticulously preserved surface rust, may well be a forebear of things to come.
In French classic car jargon, the antithesis of patina is restauration à l’américaine (literally, “Amercian-style restoration”), wherein every nut and bolt is polished to within half a point of the Amelia Island concours. Garish colours, chromed accessories and obligatory whitewalls usually complete the look. In the States, these might be called trailer queens. It was certainly a thing back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when European observers lamented the pre-war classics they were happy to see rotting at home were being bought by wealthy Californian and Japanese collectors.
Although sometimes the restoration choices might have been questionable from the point of view of taste, patina and originality in those days were not as valuable as they later became. Sneering at the over-restored cars was pointless, as pre-war classics are almost always wood-framed, and thus originality with these cars is almost always an impossible ideal. This changed as people started looking at all-metal post-war cars as classics and patina gradually became a very desirable trait.
Of course, patina can be faked. I don’t really understand the point of fake patina (it’s a bit of an oxymoron, if you’ll pardon my French), but these things do happen, especially now that this aspect is deemed highly desirable. Is this what we have here? None of the chrome on this 45-year-old C10 is pitted or missing. Every single panel and trim piece (except that rear bumper…) is as straight as it was on the factory floor – perhaps straighter even, given when this truck was made. It’s all starting to look rather suspicious…
The interior is similarly a bit too perfect to be honest, though the faded top of the driver’s door card, where you can almost see the driver’s left elbow, is a great touch. The non-original steering wheel, on the other hand, adds nothing. The original one is also rather ugly and boring, but if you’re going to put another one in there, why not find something that is worth the trouble?
The bed cannot lie: this truck has had some work done. This looks like some kind of rubber/vinyl covering – certainly not something native to the ‘70s, when that stuff only belonged on car bumpers. Of course, this is probably a good way to preserve the sheetmetal underneath, but it only adds to the overall feeling of faux.
Genuine patina looks good, no two ways about it. But like a senior citizen in torn jeans and a hoodie, this truck is just trying too hard. It’s too bad, as the vehicle underneath that Funky Cold Patina is pretty nice, especially in this colour and trim. So far, this is the first of its kind I’ve seen here. It will be interesting to see if more of these crop up on this side of the Pacific – or if JDM versions of this treatment start becoming a thing. It’s so against the grain for Japanese folks to have rusty / unkempt vehicles that I can’t see it becoming a very popular trend, though. Torn jeans haven’t caught on in these parts – hope this won’t either, beyond the odd few.
Curbside Classic: 1977 Chevrolet C10 Pickup – GM’s Deadly Sin #33 – Where’s the Damn Extended Cab?, by PN
CC Capsule: 1977 Chevrolet C10 – Roll On, Old Blue, Roll On, by Jim Grey
CC Outtake: 1977 (or so) Chevy C10 Pickup – It’s Not Only Old Ford Pickups That Are Still At Work, by PN
Kinda looks like this one….
Yes, the patina looks like it was done GMG style. Not really what I would do, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess.
The steering wheel looks like it came from an Astro/Safari. Maybe it was used because Astro parts are more widely available in Japan than C-10 parts?
Anybody notice how huge the C-10 is compared to the humble Bongo type mini truck parked next to it? It would be even worse if it was a modern full size bro-dozer.
And that’s not even a kei truck.
I think it’s a GMT400 pickup steering wheel, and the seat came from an ’81-87 Chevy pickup.
Sure looks like clearcoat over the rust on the hood.
Nice truck, but the 1980 style mirrors are not a correct add on. I’m not a huge fan of patina, even in this side of the pond. Also not a rat rod nut though I can like some of them where true ingenuity is displayed. Meaning they truly built the car themselves and the car is soundly engineered and safe.
But it is a nice piece of rolling history and I give credit to anyone putting in the effort to recycle these workhorses.
American type pick-ups are rare outside of North America.
No mystery to me why this Chevy C10 showed up in Japan and remains–the best looking truck of all time!
Did you notice the international Texas sticker (TX)on the rear bumper? I wonder if the truck spent any time in the Lone Star State or if that is just an affectation the owner liked.
It merely appears to be a well preserved truck from a part of Texas ? (see bumper sticker on left of rear bumper), in an area which sees sun bleaching but no ocean spray fallout nor road chemical uses. It wears a steering wheel from a medium duty size GM truck (Kodiak ?) or van (Safari AWD) and mirrors from a ’80s-’90s GM pickup or van. The bedliner texture appears to have a fair amount of sun loading effect and may have been applied years ago by a previous owner/updater to either protect or preserve the flaky painted bed or to hide bruises from light use. It has ‘greyed out’ in harmony with the patina on the interior doors fake wood trim caused from arm sweat, sun, and normal wear and tear. The bed net used keeps light cargo from self unload mode during transit. (Do any other pickup owners notice open beds are an invitation for passersby to throw their butts and scrap into ?) The clear coating of old exterior paint is somewhat popular in certain American locales but called out and detested in others.
I have a similar era flat-nose, low mile, Ford F250 with a same tone of aging, attributed by it’s single previous ownership by an older driver. No rust though from flaking metallic paint which this era was known for.(because it’s solid white). I give credit to the fact this Chevy is appreciated by it’s new owner simply because most of these dissolved to iron oxide within a few short years. Other than the clear coating of flaky peeled paint, I find it appears to be a solid survivor with modest, non-standard, but at least genuine GM fitments. Not what I would choose, but nothing appears too fake to me, just individual styling statements. I bet the new owner has a bagful of yen spent into it, including import costs from America ….. (just my 2 cents)
That’s precisely my take on it too. Just a decently preserved old truck with some natural patina along with a newer seat and steering wheel. I see them like this quite often.
mrgreenjeans reminded me of something regarding my limited experience with these Chevrolet pickups – the original steering wheels always felt greasy. My experience is based upon a ’79 my grandfather had and two or three other brief interludes along the way.
The steering wheel on this example does appear from an Astro or ’88 to ’94 light duty pickup. My experience with these is somewhat greater and these wheels never felt greasy. So the swap is rather justifiable.
Otherwise, this thing is in shockingly good condition. Way too many of these prompted concerns with tetanus by an inappropriately young age.
I remember reading in an enthusiast magazine ( AutoWeek ? Road and Track ? Car and Driver ? ) a review which said the mix was wrong on the steel content in these trucks, Vegas, and a few other GM products of that era. I seem to remember the gist was: too much recycled material and a too high oxygen content in the body panels, poor galvanizing, poor primer, and an early learning curve on applying water based paint were the co-conspirators to early rust thru. It is really a shame as some of these designs were some of the very best we had to choose from in the ’70s and ’80s. I am also an owner of an ’81 – C70 tandem using many styling cues from the ’73 and up ‘Square body’ pickup, Blazer, and Suburban with material used which never stood up well to the environment.
Fortunately my truck was not used in winter and lived a dry existence so cab corners, floors, and firewall fared well. Along with an all composite front clip on it’s tilt nose, it has no rust issues while my neighbor’s grain and sugarbeet trucks have holes you could throw a softball thru.
It does my heart good to see one of GM’s problem child (bodywise) vehicles still with us today, without a fender flapping in the wind or a cab listing to one side because a structural element gave up the ghost……
The rust was the worst on this bodystyle from 1973-75. They had issues with poor body drainage after dirt soon clogged the too small weep holes, causing early rust-through around wheel openings, in front of and behind the wheel on front fenders, and door corners. Fleetside beds also trapped dirt in the leading edge of the bedside, with rot eventually causing it to separate from the front panel and flap in the breeze. They made some modifications in 1976 that helped a little, and finally started using galvanized steel and body cavity wax in certain places. By the time that they did the facelift in 1981, the trucks held up decently where I lived, which had a lot of snow, but no use of road salt.
Interesting bit on the poor steel alloys… I also remember GM’s Colonnade cars rusting horribly, too, to the point that El Caminos in those years were rotten to the core when they were 10-15 years old. I can only imagine that the process was in fast forward where road salt and chemicals were used.
Oh, and it looks like you’ve got a little rip in your jeans there too. Yeah, that’s rebellious. You’re a bad boy. Society wants your jeans to be intact, but you’ll have none of it will you?
Stewie Griffin, 2006 Harvard Commencement Ceremony
East meets West in the wabisabi of an old Chevy Pickup.
The patina looks real for a change I saw a Bentley Continental in a car yard recently with a wrap done in pale faded metallic blue complete with surface rust.
Most of the wear on this one looks like it was earned over the last 45 years, though the layer of clear coat on the hood sorta wrecks the effect. The tailgate appears to be left as found.
Like, if you’re gonna go to the expense and bother to buy paint and paint something, why would you want it to still look like it did before you painted it? I know. It’s a fad right now… but I’ve always tried to avoid fads. I’m running into this with my own Chevy truck, which is 10 years newer than this one. It’s still under 100k miles and sporting its original 1986 GM paint, which either oxidized or peeled off in sheets, depending on color. The top color is the former, and I’ve managed to wash and wax almost through to the primer in spots over the last 20 years, but I’m trying my best to save that last molecule of red paint, as I can’t swing a repaint right now. Fortunately, the charcoal grey second color only comes off in small chips, so the whole thing still looks passable at a distance.
That seat material is being sold as “reproduction” by at least one major parts vendor, though I’m not remembering a 1973-87 GM truck that came with it. The basic fuzzy velour does look a bit like what they used from circa 1983-87, but the pattern doesn’t match what’s in my memory banks.
I think it falls between two stools (perhaps in more than one sense of the last-used noun). It seems to be a nicely-preserved old dullard that has also had Rust Curation. If the latter were not so and it was God itself who had removed paint by use of Her sun, then the roof and pillars would have suffered in a like fashion, yet they and the rubbery bits holding the glass on board gleam virginally.
I must say that I am more of the old European sensibilty which found garish the chromed nuts and wires of the US school of restoration thought – or lack thereof – and therefore favor the Faded Glory image which they did (whilst noting that their particular enthusiasm for such was probably sourced as much by the comparative penury for the rich in post-war old countries as it was for the look itself, that and their same-sourced “liking” for inhabiting crumbling inherited ruins). For this reason, to curate one’s rust strikes as somewhat heading towards the crass, if not the generally idiotic (I mean, whatever then next, the preservation of the unholy pong of the rats which lived inside?)
I do hope the sometimes-eccentric yet ancestor-respecting Japanese do not continue down this path, as it is one that is far more affectation than reverence.