Curbside Classic: 1983 Chevy C10 Step-Side Scottsdale – I’m Ready To Be Its “Driver”

(first posted 10/18/2017)        Perhaps it was the oncoming traffic, or maybe my attention was towards a convenient parking spot, but arriving on my birthday to a favorite restaurant with my wife, I was slow to notice a very familiar, not to mention favorable shape.

Favorable, because would you believe this just might be my dream classic, the one I’d like to own the most? Sometimes I’m baffled by it, knowing and adoring so many classics over the years, this is where I ended up; at a simple pickup. But I did come up with two very good reasons for owning a classic truck, both are self-afflicted of course. More on that later- now I’ve parked so let’s get closer to that Greeeeeen:

Crossing the street and looking into that aftermarket grill, I seem to detect the 1983 vintage, unequal-sized stacked headlight+indicator on either side of the front. A closer look reveals another pair of LED lights inside. The license plate tells me it’s a “new” import, arrived to Israel very recently.

Other side looks very much like the first. Were those color-coded wheels offered originally?

Final look at the back of what appears to be an almost original Scottsdale. That tow bar looks to me like an Israeli addition.

Back to my two reasons for owning a classic truck, and here’s the first;

You see, a truck is mostly devoid of that niggling responsibility you sense when you own a GTO or maybe even a Continental Mk V (just random examples). There’s a limit you “may not” cross in regards to changing the car to fit your needs. For example, I have no problem buying a 6 cylinders C/K10 and dumping its engine in favor of a better, 8 cylinders unit. The same goes for its looks- why should it carry the high 4X4 stance if it’s a 2X4? Lower the thing, with no strings attached.

The Second reason is this:

I believe most of us know this well enough: That red C10 is one of the stars of the 1978 movie “Driver”. I’m not going to get into the plot which you can read on Wikipedia here. Just say that in my mind, the movie features some of the most realistic car chase scenes you’ll ever see on the big screen. Also, this has to be Ryan O’Neal’s best role, stepping out of his comfort zone (usually he would star as the likable hero in romantic dramas/comedies). In this movie, he played the Driver without an ounce of sympathy. And you’ve got the magnificent Bruce Dern as the nasty Cop. In short- if you haven’t seen it, you should, if only for its CC heaven.

The film’s final car chase has O’Neal in the C10 chasing the Baddies driving this:

First time I saw the movie, I (naturally) wanted this 1976 T/A, custom paint and all. I was a teenager after all, and Firebirds like this one were Da Bomb!

I mean, how cool is this? You can bet the tail will be swinging out in a glorious over-steer. Oh, indulge yourself in CC readers’ favorite past-time, identifying the cars in the background.

But just as O’Neal was catching the T/A, so was I being convinced that I was rooting for the wrong car all along.

And this is what finally sold me the C10.  Fresh after its showdown with the Firebird which ended with a clear result, I thought it looked so good, buttered as it was after chasing and ramming the T/A all over town. In short, the movie managed to illustrate that trucks were cool (and it probably didn’t even try to).

Now lets head to some Step-Side C10s I photographed in recent years (classic meetings). Can I find anything that is similar to my “dream” truck, or at least a more modern version of it?

Take this 1980 C10, which is much more to my liking (minus the red strip) than the green featured Scottsdale above. It’s my preferred body style (pre-1981 facelift) and rides on flattering wheels. But why does it have to be this high? It’s not a 4WD.

Here’s a 1978 C10. Forget about the paint job for a moment- yes, it has the older body, and (for me) a better fascia than the striped truck above. But again, it rides too high, has non-related modern wheels and those are too narrow.

At last, I find a truck which has a much better stance. And it’s yet older, from 1974 if I’m not mistaken, giving it the nicest fascia (yes, it’s a GMC Sierra but you don’t get to be picky when you live in Israel). But that’s still not quite it.

There! That’s just about it. I love the stance, the color and the minimalistic rear bumper. I even like the small, period-sized wheels (although I don’t think their design is period).

As for the Chevrolet C10 / GMC Sierra trucks in Israel- those were imported pretty much regularly from the very early Apache days right up until now, being marketed as a (for lack of a better word) luxurious pickup truck than the rest of the competition, if only for their size and being “American cars” (I wrote about the position of US cars in Israel here). The competition was mostly Subaru Brat, VW Caddy and the immortal Peugeot 404/504 Pickup, all smaller and more spartan than the C10.

Of course, most C/Ks or Sierras were purchased as Fleetsides rather than the Step-side shown above. Here are some photos of Fleetsides that were more common in Israel:

This 1975 Sierra is probably the most common way those trucks were sold, as a long bed Fleetside. Most buyers reckoned that more loading area was essential.

This is another example of an original, unmolested Fleetside (I believe from 1979), although it sports a short bed, and needs a bit of TLC.

And here we have a very original, imported when new 1981 C10. Very well kept, this looks like the owner hasn’t changed anything at all. Oh, again I spot a tow-bar.

Some K10s arrived in Israel too, but those were extremely rare (besides the IDF’s surplus purchases, of which very few found their way into the civilian market. And that was later, in the 1990s). Buyers who considered Ks, would mostly prefer the much-loved Blazer. This 1983 K10 is an exception, and as you can see is tooled up for occasional off-roading.

I’ll finish off with this 1983 Fleetside, a much cared for truck I’ve known and seen for years, over which the owner replaced the wheels, bonnet and front grill (like the one on the featured green truck- must be a 1983 favorite). Other countless add-ons adorn this C10 which has had a much better fate than some of its peers.