Here’s a challenge: Name a generation of Chevrolet trucks that can’t be transformed into a head turner with little more than some bolt-on hardware. The answer? There isn’t one. From the Task Force models to the C/K series, to the S-10, Chevrolet has consistently delivered fodder for purists and hot rodders alike for over 90 years. This award-winning 1966 Chevrolet C10 Custom is a great example of a lightly modified early C/K with plenty of updated conveniences. The recipient of a nut and bolt frame off restoration, the truck features a warmed up small block, factory front disc brakes, air conditioning, and a timeless style that simply can’t be found on today’s truck market. Ready for a hauler you can be proud to show? Take a closer look at the ’66 C10.
Sometimes you can just look at a vehicle and know it was special to someone. This C10 certainly has that presence. It was saved from a dealer lot back in 1995 and kept safe from the elements until restoration efforts began in 2000. The truck was officially buttoned up nine years later and the effort shows throughout. Despite their squared overall shape, there are a lot of curves on these trucks that could certainly throw a lesser body man. This C10’s sheet metal is impressively straight all around. Both the front fenders and tailgate are NOS pieces while the front bed panel is new. Other than that, all the sheet metal is original to the truck. The whole thing is topped with a coat of red paint that shows well from all angles. Everything fits together well and makes for a great introduction the pickup.
By 1964, Chevrolet had mastered the styling cues of their first C10s, so the body styles carried on without any major changes through 1966. Looking over the details on this pickup, it’s easy to understand why they didn’t want to mess with a good thing. From the front, the truck looks well dressed but sturdy thanks to a narrow egg-crate grille framed by round headlights in squared chrome bezels. A show-ready bumper hangs below, free of the dreaded license plate recess. The hood has a pair of nostrils in the center with the direction signals mounted at either side. While the ’67-72 models were nicknamed the “glamour pickups”, this ’66 certainly doesn’t lack style. The full-length side trim is reminiscent of GMs 1950s output, and the Custom cab with it’s large back window and ornate molding is just plain cool.. Out back, the tailgate has its Chevrolet branding painted white, surrounded by small factory tail lights, even smaller reverse lights, a new bumper and chrome latches. Inside, an oak bed floor with polished stainless straps lets you know this truck’s working days are officially done.
For 1966, engines options started with the 292 I6 and worked their way into the small block family. This C10 keeps the specs page looking authentic with a 283ci. The block is a 1958 casting with a DB suffix code to show it’s always powered one of Chevrolet’s workhorses. Bored .40 over and dressed in fresh orange paint, the block is topped with mid 1980’s GM heads, a factory intake, and a Holley 4-barrel carb. At the front of the engine, the accessory drive turns a power steering pump and alternator alongside a Sanden air conditioning compressor while a Harrison-style radiator works in harmony with an engine-driven fan to keep the bay cool. The compressor is clearly new and the points-style distributor has been swapped for an electronic unit but, overall, nothing looks out of place here. The dual snorkel air cleaner assembly sports an appropriate 283 decal and nearly all of the ancillary pieces look the part. Even the new NAPA battery is tucked beneath a tar top battery topper. Turn the key and the trusty small block starts with ease, settling into a comfortable idle.
The lightly modified theme continues underneath where the sturdy original frame has been dressed in a fresh coat of black. The floor pans are undercoated while the underside of the wooden bed floor serves as a great back drop for the rear suspension. In the center, a GM TH350 3-speed automatic takes care of shifting for you, channeling the small block’s output back to an open 12-bolt rear with highway-friendly 3.08 gears. The front suspension consists of 1971 components which, while very similar to the ’66 pieces, allow for factory disc brakes. Out back, truck arms with a factory panhard bar are a little closer to the ground thanks to lowering blocks. Both ends have been converted to 5-lug, so wheel choice certainly won’t be a problem anymore. In addition to the upgraded front disc and rear drum brakes, the truck features power steering for some added convenience. The current wheel and tire combination keeps the factory look with painted steel wheels which are completed by new beauty rings and hubcaps. A fresh set of Uniroyal tires connect the updated chassis to the road.
In the 1960s, trucks were about utility – not glitz and glitter like so many modern trucks. That’s why it’s so refreshing to hop in the cab of this C10. The door panels are metal and finished in silver paint. Should something break, two pieces of hardware and 12 Phillips-head screws are all that stand between you and the problem. The headliner is simply the underside of the roof, finished in a matching shade of silver. Seating is provided by bench seat wrapped in an attractive mix of cloth and vinyl. The pattern offers varying shades of brown and gray that tie in with the fresh carpet below. The view from those seats is equally plainspoken, centered on a simple rectangular dashboard. The upgraded instrumentation is focused around a horizontal speedometer with a small round tachometer to the right. Temperature, battery output, oil pressure, and fuel are all measured in smaller rectangular gauges below with a bowtie logo in the center. The center of the dash is occupied by an ash tray and an AM radio while the king-size glove box takes up most of the real estate in front of the passenger. It’s a simple set up, but there is plenty of style to be found. The chrome bowtie door sills are great pieces, matched by the deluxe steering wheel. Best of all, everything fits well and presents as new throughout.
The sale of this ’66 C10 includes an original owner’s manual as well as build receipts that provide some valuable insight into the restoration process. There’s also a trophy from a 2009 Lions Club show where it was honored with Best Interior.
With its spec-sheet correct 283, updated brakes, lowered suspension, and show-winning stock interior, this is one desirable pickup. Fully finished and well-executed, all it needs is a proud owner to cruise it to the car show. If that sounds like a job you’re ready to handle, give us a call and put your name on the title of one fine C/K.