I’ve passed by this lovely specimen of a truck many times, but as we’ve been on a bit of a roll with the older pickups, now is the perfect time to write it up and present it to you fine folks. As such simple, straightforward vehicles, writing about pickups presents somewhat of a challenge, but there’s genuine substance on display here, and I’d feel guilty not this one its due.
The premise of psychiatry and therapy is that one cannot thrive when withholding so much from his or herself or from others. And as we process the tortured history of many automobiles, both loved and hated, I can’t help but think that we as readers and enthusiasts undergo analysis of their character, often redeeming them.
That is very much not necessary with this truck, which suffers no tortured history from being marketed in a dishonest way or conceived to chase after an elusive demographic. Nothing to share on the psychiatrist’s couch, and no image to maintain in front of friends, family or colleagues. If it were a person, it would be described by peers as a straight shooter. And in 350, 4×2 form, certainly not a jerk. Just a reliable chap, never a day late or a dollar short.
That straightforward personality doesn’t mean a sacrifice in ambition. I was surprised to learn, while reading about the C/10, that GM engineers decided to equip this truck, as well as its 1960 predecessor, with a coil sprung rear axle, located by two very long trailing arms and a Panhard Rod. Combined with the double-wishbone front suspension which debuted on the previous Chevy truck, this was a much more sophisticated approach compared to building a truck than, say, Ford’s Twin-I beam.
New for this generation were optional auxiliary springs, perhaps a tacit admission that the coils weren’t quite up to the job of carrying heavy loads. The rear end of this truck does not appear to be sagging, but when you consider that the new-for-1971 B-body wagons and the 1973 C/10 reverted to leaf springs, its apparent that The General was done trying to make them work. The newest Ram uses coils out back. With almost five decades of development, and a five-link rear axle (two sets of trailing links plus a Panhard Rod), its likely to play out better than GM’s effort. In the meantime, the latest Chevy and GMC trucks soldier on with leaf springs.
Suspension aside, the real distinguishing feature of the ’67-’72 trucks was their style, and fans know this generation “Glamor Era” pickups. This basic body, introduced in 1967, was marketed as the Action Line and was meant to attract the growing number of buyers interested in trucks for personal use. With more power assists and trim options, these trucks marked the beginning of the pickup’s transition from a strictly utilitarian machine to personal transportation, if not all-out status symbol. The large pickup was far from reaching “brodozer” status in those days, though, so compared today’s frequently overdone offerings, this is a very honest, unpretentious device.
Capitalizing on the personal use market meant adding things like padding on the dash, available air conditioning, and increasing the availability of V8 engines and automatic transmissions. With its 350 V8 and deluxe trim package, this truck combined the second largest of five engine choices (the biggest being a 402 V8) with the model year’s most basic equipment level. Even without the new-for-1971, top-of-the-line Cheyenne trim, it would seem that the original owner chose options liberally, because this truck also enjoys two-tone paint and an Turbo HydraMatic transmission. It probably also has power steering, which was nothing to sneeze at in a big pickup at the time.
In a vehicle this heavy, you don’t need to be a retiree to benefit from power steering. In fact, it’s almost a requirement for daily use in a suburban environment, and it’d be impossible to make the transition from work truck to family-friendly, multipurpose transport without such assists. The last car I can remember being sold sans power steering was the previous generation Kia Rio, but now it’s impossible to think of any without doing some research, and I don’t even know if any cars have been sold without power brakes in my lifetime. Hopefully our commenters can clue me in on which car was the last to be sold without power assists in each respective case.
While the grille marks this truck as either a 1971 or 1972, the rearview mirror being bolted to the top of the cab, rather than glued to the windshield, means it’s a 1971. The rounded model which succeeded this body style came out in 1973 (and was also a style leader). It’s easy to overlook, but the slow addition of creature comforts is at its beginning here, as the wood-tone trim on the door panel indicates. The dashboard itself may look old and very basic, but updating in the rest of the cabin kept pace with changing demands. The seat cover here is also period correct, even if it’s not as old as the truck itself, and offers a cheap way to replicate the ambience of the then-upmarket “Highlander” trim package. If marketed effectively and sold in limited quantities, an upholstery pattern like this could successfully distinguish a small car offering today. A very basic version of an Impreza with exposed steel wheels and a durable weave like this could convince me to sign on the dotted line (just saying).
The cassette deck in the dash and these mudflaps suggest that this truck received some updates during the latter half of the ’80s and if sales of the most recent Silverado are any indication, most Chevy dealers would love to return to the “Heartbeat” era. While the slogan emblazoned on this mudflap is a good fifteen years newer than the truck it’s attached to, it’s nevertheless a fitting reminder of its cultural significance. I wish all the Curbside Classics I encounter could have the dignity of this most American of vehicles.
This was a real winner from Chevrolet, perhaps my favorite Chevrolet pickup ever. A friendly face, no pretensions of grandeur, and a cohesive theme in styling – what’s not to like about it? The ’73 to ’87 series of pickup was decent, but the early ones rusted at an alarming rate and their build quality never seemed to be as developed. And the newest ones are a convoluted mess of confusion in the styling department.
Some of my earliest and fuzziest memories are of riding in my grandfather’s ’71 or ’72; that aside, this is still a terrific pickup.
I was a child, when the redesigned ’73s were replacing these. I preferred the new look, as I found the styling on this generation, too conservative. Almost generic, compared to earlier Chev pickups and the Fords. I think the more square wheel wells of the ’73, gave them added style and character, than this vintage pickup lacked. Even though, many of the same styling cues and two tone paint treatments carried over, these looked too utilitarian for me. Though still far more modern, than say, the 1960s Dodge pickups. The Dodge defined frumpy IMO. I still found the Fords had the strongest styling. With more unique character. Though the ’73 Chev redesign, was a big improvement. I found the ’73s more defined and unique, to what these started.
Swoon. This generation of Chevy truck is my favorite truck of all time. I think these just look great. I especially like the ’71s and ’72s.
Ditto + 🙂
I’ll go with favorite Chevy, but the Mopar in me is still drawn the mid-series Sweptlines and the early new generation trucks in ’72-’73. These Chevys were a pretty efficient package, especially compared to their predecesors.
“Brodozer”! That’s a fitting term for the current crop of bloated “parade float” pickups – seeing a 70s era truck parked next to a new truck really shows how size must matter – in marketing, not utility! Guess I’m in the minority since truck sales are a steady cash cow for the car companies but isn’t it enough when you need built-in steps just to reach in the bed or climb up into the cab? Maybe the ongoing “graying” of the NA market will start shrinking our oversized trucks back to a size more like this – lot easier to get in and out of when the hips and knees start going south! Hence the AARP stickers I suppose…
This is a nicely done older Hot Rod , I too like these trucks having a 1969 C/10 short bed step side as my Shop Truck ~ it’s the base model with the 250 CID I6 and TH350 Slushbox tranny , a *very* good truck indeed .
FWIW , the ’67 ~ ’72 C Series light duty trucks could be ordered with either rear coil or leaf springs , depending on load carrying desire ~ the light duty rear coils work very well indeed , these trucks handle like cars and have good ride comfort , few pickups ever really work hard enough to need rear leafs .
This one has an added on rear sway bar and rear disc brakes , front discs became standard in the 1971 model year .
These trucks had ZERO rust proofing whatsoever and they suffer terribly from rust out , usually from inside as the cab had no primer in side the unibody parts ~ remove a sun visor and peer in the hole to see what I mean ~ rusty bare metal will greet your eyes .
The cowl also has a nice fresh air ventilation that’s got terrible dirt and leaf traps built right in to it , bad , easy to fix basic engineering there .
I owned a 1969 C-10 that came equipped with the rear leaf springs, and yes it was rusty. The cowl had a solid rust hole all the way around the top by where the rear of the hood would set. Bitter cold air constantly blew in while driving it in winter.
The rear suspension on NASCAR stockers is based on the trailing arm suspension used in these, and earlier, GM trucks. At one time the teams actually sourced the parts from junkyard trucks but now they are all fabricated. Not exactly leading edge technology from NASCAR but on the other hand, why reinvent the wheel.
Pickups from this period leave the non-partisan classic vehicle buff spoiled for choice. GM, Ford and even International had great looking ‘big utes’. Love the 67 in that ad.
Awesome truck! I would love to have one like this, except in GMC form. My dad had a 1969-70 CST10. I don’t know what the CST was, but I loved riding in it. It was a good blend of comfort and utility. 🙂
CST is Custom Sport Truck. My very first vehicle, when I was 15 years old, was a 1970 CST 10. 350, 4 bbl, turbo 350. Hugger Orange and White. Bought it for $250, and turned around and sold the tool box on it for $75. Quick set of chrome wagon wheels and I was the envy of all my friends. I broke a transmission mount drag racing a brand new 454SS Silverado. I miss that truck – a LOT.
Ah! Ok. I remember my dad’s truck being a CST. I don’t remember what Chevrolet called the colour, but I remember his being an orangish red. It had a 5.7 litre (350 cid) V8 engine under the hood.
Owned a 68 and a 69 C10. Both were great but more truck than I needed so I regressed to Datsun/Nissan half tons. I could not overwork either of the chevs. Fill the back with rock and it didn’t care. Inherited the 68 from my Dad and it was a camper special with an overload welded bar for when it was loaded too heavy. I wish I had a digital camera back then.
They had leaf springs on the heavier ones. I think 3/4 ton but maybe just l ton. Too lazy to look it up. I don’t think I’m a big fan of the trailing arms and that’s mostly because I’ve been exposed to some with major rust. Could have happened no matter the design.
The trucks were good. The standard 307, not so much. Worked like a six and drank gas like a big block in the examples I had. Of course I drove them too fast. Couple friends had 350s and got mileage just as good. literally YMMV.
Bare bones trucks built the country. Too many today just carry air IMO.
I totally agree. My dad’s truck had rear leaf springs for suspension, if I remember correctly. I’m rather old school when it comes to cars and trucks. Trucks are utility first, fun second. That’s not to say that they can’t be comfortable. If it ain’t comfortable, you’re not going to enjoy working with it. 🙂
I guarantee someone was complaining about these fancified new trucks in 1967 in much the same way that we complain about each new generation of trucks today (although I do agree that the proportions have gotten all out of proportions – I yearn for the days of sensible sized trucks like my GMT800 🙂 )
I do love the late 60’s to late 70’s pickups though – they make you feel like Clint Eastwood driving to his job on an oil rig. There are two really nice trucks from that era in my neighborhood – a two tone cream over green F100 XLT that never moves since appearing last year and a two tone brown and tan Cheyenne that is a daily driver.
I know what you mean. I remember when the compact truck first hit the US market. While I like full-sized trucks, I know that not everyone needs or wants such huge truck. Sometimes a small (smaller) truck is perfect for the job, depending on what the job is. When I was a boy, my stepdad had a 1978 Toyota Pickup truck. It was perfect in size. It had a 2.2 litre 20R 4 cylinder engine that would run forever, with little maintenance required, other than oil checks, etc. I loved that truck, I miss that truck. I’d buy another if allowed the opportunity. 🙂
Nice write up Perry on one of my favorite trucks. This was the first vehicle I ever drove at age 10. It was as silky as a Cadillac. The Blazer version is what got the SUV thing started in America.
This era is my favorite for pick-ups, and this generation of GM trucks are at the top of my list. I think these were much cleaner styled than the contemporary Fords. I prefer the 1973-79 Fords over the 1967-72 Fords.
The coil springs on these trucks may not have a ton of capacity, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they still carry more than a late model Ram. In a recent Car and Driver test the Ram 4-door only had an 800 lb payload! My old Oldsmobile wagon could carry more than that! But I will admit the new Rams are very smooth riding, just not a good truck if you actually use it for work.
Mine too. My uncle had a GMC pickup truck of this generation. I’m too young to remember everything about it, as I was only 4, maybe 5 yrs. old at the time. But I remember its distinctive grille that I found to be the most attractive part of the truck.
This exact vintage, with that grille and those colors, is my favorite truck of this era. Best looking truck ever, except for the real old timers. Make mine a C20 with the 292 six, please. It would just need an overdrive or 5-speed implant.
I love my Ford, but I’m an equal opportunity lover when it comes to these Chevies. And they don’t rust here in Curbsidelandia.
Funny thing you should mention that Paul ~
I have a 292 I6 and a rebuilt TH350C (lockup torque converter) to replace the current 250 I6 and TH350…..
Great minds think alike .
Except the part about the automatic 😉
Well Paul ;
Due to my injuries I don’t get along with the clutch pedal like I used to……
Life goes on .
Tech question: Would a 292 fit under the hood of a Nova that currently has a 250? The block is taller, right?
You would need to measure to make sure. The 292 has a taller deck height than the 250, but I don’t know how much more. I would think that it would fit but obviously it depends on how much underhood clearance there is.
At least 10 years ago Kiewicz (sp) article in car craft put a 292 into a mid sixties era el camino. A 66 or so. The hood on that looked at least as low as a Nova of 68 on. I would think that the worst you had to do would be to get creative with air cleaners. According to him IIRC, they aren’t identical regarding the accessories. You now know everything I think I know about the 292 except that it’s a gas hog and the ford 300 seemed to do better there.
The air cleaner is the pinch point .
Don’t forget to get that passenger side motor mount , it’s different .
Remember too that the 292 CID I6 engine is a true truck engine , meaning it gets the additional displacement from increased stroke (unlike Ford’s 300) so revving it like a Hot Rod will kill it pretty damn quick .
I see lots of 292’s in poseur mobile Hot Rods these days , what a piss poor choice .
Umm; the 300 is just a stroked 240; same bore.
What’s wrong with a 292 in a hot rod? I don’t see anything wrong with that. They can be made to be very powerful, and even rev well enough. It’s a very comparable engine to the Ford 300, gobs of torque and yet capable of impressive power with the right mods.
Put a Gear Vendors splitter and make it into a six speed. My buddy has it on his Lincoln MkV and it is very cool.
’67-’72…all time favorites. Great trucks…
I own a ’68 CST project, but after much soul-searching, time-searching and budget-searching have come to the conclusion that it’s time to let go.
The ’57 Handyman project residing next to the ’68 in our family garage is the reason…if I can have only one, the Handyman wins hands-down.
I have a buyer for the ’68 and am working out the details as we speak.
” I don’t even know if any cars have been sold without power brakes in my lifetime.”
How old are you? I had an ’84 Ford Ranger that had power steering but manual brakes. Later, I had a ’95 Ranger that had power brakes but manual steering.
Chevettes were available until the ’87 MY without power steering or brakes, although I think both were optional. My ’84 had no A/C, 4-speed and power nothing. Probably why it was so reliable.
My first car, a ’71 Galaxie 500, also had manual steering and manual drum brakes, but was an automatic with (non-functioning) factory A/C. Talk about a handful to drive in town!
I’m 43. The only vehicle I’ve ever driven that didn’t have power brakes is a 1980 Pinto that my grandmother owned when I was in my teens and early 20s. Like eggsalad’s ’84 Ranger, it did have power steering.
I don’t “think” any US vehicles since 1970-something have had disk brakes without vacuum boost, certainly including an ’84 Ranger. But if I’m wrong the CC crew will set me straight 🙂
I’m inclined to agree. My ’68 Peugeot sedan 404 had un-assisted front discs, and the pedal pressure was decidedly higher than the 404 wagon with drums.
Drum brakes typically have inherent assist, known as self-servo. The friction acting on the leading brake shoe creates a moment (torque) around the pivot point of the shoe and adds to the braking force. This is the reason that many (especially American) drum brakes may seem grabby and prone to rear-wheel lockup. Just before disk brakes became commonplace, some motorcycles used twin-leading shoe brakes. Applying these brakes if rolling backwards down a hill, for example backing down a steep driveway, provided very little stopping power because in reverse the self-servo action worked to decrease braking force. DAMHIK. Disk brakes have no self-servo action since the friction “force” is perpendicular to the rotation of the disk
True, which made me wonder what the point was of power assisted drums. They were very sensitive; it took some serious adjusting to switch from a non-assisted car.
My Peugeot 404 wagon had very large drums on the front, with twin leading shoes. I suspect some other European manufacturers might have done so too. I loved those brakes; they were very powerful, but their feel was superb; the response was so linear. My favorite brakes ever!
Paul, Have you ever tried the hydraulic brakes on a Citroen DS? surprisingly linear, too.
Weren’t disc brakes available as optional equipment if someone wanted it? I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Chevy Cheyenne and GMC Sierra and Sierra Grande were available with optional front disc brakes.
It’s my understanding that front disc brakes went from uncommon to near-universal in American cars over the course of a fairly short period between the mid-1960s and mid-1970s:
1965: available on only a few luxury or high-performance models
1969: available as an option on most cars
1972: available on all cars; starting to become standard equipment on some models
1975: standard on just about everything
The last American cars to come with front drum brakes were the 1976 Mopar A-bodies. Discs were a common option and were actually mandatory on cars ordered with V8 engines.
Some trucks/imports may have been available with front disks later than 1976; I don’t know.
That last line should say: “Some trucks/imports may have been available with front *DRUMS later than 1976; I don’t know.”
My ’73 Buick Gran Sport and shorty ’81 Chevy Kidnap Van are both equipped with manual disc/drum brakes.
My MIL’s 86 Chevy Spectrum had manual steering and likely manual brakes. It was a horrid little car to drive. Come to think of it, Dad’s 81 Datsun King Cab 4×4 was the same way.
MCT: Don’t forget the discs available across the board on the 1963 Studebakers, even the lowly Lark.
Makes me miss my 1982 Ford F100 Fleetside short bed.. a real strippo….no headliner, vinyl floor mats, standard trans…..I worked that baby, and she never let me down. Blew-up the motor at 185,000, coming back from a job:-(
Replaced with a new 1997 Ford F150, nice….but not the same….
1967-72 Chevy/GMC truck – Simply the nicest-looking trucks ever built.
I agree. 🙂
The first thing I learned on my 70 C10 with “armstrong” steering it DO NOT stick your fingers between the center spoke and the rim. One nasty chuckhole and you quickly learn why! Thanks Perry, I just got over missing mine after 30 years. Bought it in 76 for $1000, sold it in 06 for $1500, not bad if you don’t consider inflation. All the build sheet had was 3 options, Custom cloth interior, Chrome front bumper and Heavy Duty rear springs. They were still coils, however. The 307 V8 was not listed on the sheet, but I’m sure the standard engine was a six. I installed some additional coil spring overloads that attached to the axle tube with U bolts, the top of the spring met the frame. They kept it from dragging it’s ass when overloaded, but if you got too carried away they would collapse and were basically a spacer holding up the rear and it could get a little bouncy. But I made it from California to Washington with a 29ft 5th wheel and my Yamaha 700 Maxim (with the wheels removed), and all my tools. I by that time had installed a Saginaw 4 speed on the floor, the extra gear made all the difference. The Titan I have now has brakes that stop, steering that wont break your fingers, this thing called AC, cruise, tilt, ABLS (Automatic Brake Limited Slip), 6 speaker CD, air bags, carpet, 5 speed Auto, back seat, but I bought a “base model” (how times have changed), and got to keep my roll up windows and push button door locks. And I installed the factory ‘off road package” wheels that remind me of the old steel white spoke wheels I had on the Chevy. I really miss the low lift height of the Chevy, but the advantage is the tiny wheel housing’s in the bed that take up a lot less space then the Chevy’s did. The Titan is better in every way, but it lacks the Chevy’s “personality”.
I like everything about these trucks except the gas tank being inside the cab, directly behind the seat.
Safety first? Maybe third 🙂
The Rio was indeed the last car sold in North America without power steering. The last one I ever drove was a 2005 Toyota Echo I was testing out while new car shopping. It was a little heavy at low speeds but nothing excessive since the car was so light. However for city driving I wouldn’t have bought it. However for a prairie bomber a strippo Echo would make a heck of a ride.
71-72 chevs are the looking pickup trucks ever in my opinion. Followed by the advanced design and task force generation chevs.
And the current silverado and f-series are the worst looking. I miss the era of the simple, honest, and non-pretentious truck
*best looking. That’s what I meant. It’s hard to type this stuff via iPhone. It wants to ‘correct’ everything.
same with the frigging iPad.
As far as power steering goes, it’s still an option on the smart fortwo.
I like the earlier 60-66 body better than these. The 67-72s seem a bit too jellybeanish for a truck.
As many know, Im firmly in the tank for Mopars but this is easily THE best looking chevy truck ever made. Id put it up there for one of the most timeless pickups ever in terms of styling. Clean and simple, these ‘bullnose’ models have always managed to turn my head whenever I see them. The Blazers and Jimmys of this era are even better. With the clean topless profile (no half cab or door frames) those are what SUVs should have never gotten away from! Even my favorite, the RamCharger/TrailDuster, is maligned by the doorframes remaining on the rig when the top gets popped off.
Nice find, Perry!
One of these was the first really nice pickup I ever saw, air conditioned and everything. I preferred these to the 73 model almost immediately.
In my area, these had the reputation of being a little on the soft side when it came to hard work. However they were also considered much more pleasant to drive than the Fords. It is nice to see one that is not orange or black and that does not sport the ubiquitous Rally wheels.
I’d much rather have a ’67 or ’68 Chevy to one of these. The front-end styling on the ’71-’72 is just ugly to me.
as for me I thought the 1971-72 front end styling was the best looking of the bunch and the 1969-70 front end styling was my least favorite ones of the bunch, I would much rather have a 1967-72 Chevy/GMC pickup over a Ford or a Dodge pickup of this vintage.