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V.I.S.I.T: A ’75 Chevy C10 Stepside

It gives me a warm feeling inside whenever I get confirmation that I’m not the only crank in my postcode who finds a shabby forty-year old American truck an object of desire. This ’75 Chevy C10 was ready to greet me when I popped to my local supermarket, while its owners were presumably in search of root beer, chewing tobacco and shotgun cartridges.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist taking a few snaps of a vehicle which fits in to the North Essex motoring scene like a blob of Wasabi paste sits on an iced cupcake.

If there’s one thing that the C10’s European contemporaries lacked it was massive, ornate model inscriptions. Being both Custom and Deluxe, this would have seriously outshone any of the pickup trucks you could buy in England in 1974. I can think of nothing that would directly compete with the Chevy – the MK1 Ford Transit dropside is probably as close as you could get.

And that certainly wouldn’t have had a V8.

This one does. Running the registration plate through our Government’s handy dandy lookup system tells us that there’s 5,700 cc of meaty goodness under that big ol’ hood, though there’s obviously nothing to confirm what state of tune it’s running in. Even a choked down 350 still makes a lovely noise, though – it’s a shame I didn’t witness it driving away, it was gone when I returned to my car ten minutes later.

The Government lookup system also reveals that the Chevy has only been in this country since August 2016. It’s presumably been freighted over from the USA in the condition you see it here, which is sound but shabby. I rather like it.

Stepside pickups have a certain appeal over their flat-flanked Fleetside brethren, and provide a more square freight area thanks to the wheelarches not intruding into the loadbed. But what are the drawbacks? Well, no doubt some of our more pickup-savvy friends will come up with a list in the comments section below.

I’m pretty sure that the majority of those I’ve seen preserved have been of the Stepside persuasion, though. Probably for reasons of aesthetics alone.

Speaking of aesthetics, is there another wheel and tyre combination that would suit this rather impressive slice of Americana any more than these classic slot-mags?

(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2017)

  • Alff

    The aftermarket grill is a nice period touch. Extra points if it’s a Stull.
    Aesthetics aside, stepsides negatively impact usability. You may still get 4′ between the wheels, but with no place to toss your assorted sundries as you slide that sheet of plywood in.

    • Must admit, that thought crossed my mind just as I hit ‘publish’. Not everything is 6’x4′.

    • It depends on the use. Stepsides are nice for stuff like gravel, for which (a) one probably won’t be hauling all that great of a volume anyway and (b) it would be just that much more awkward to unload it around the intruding wheelwells of a wide bed.

      This is why I’m a geologist who owns a wide-bed pickup, of course. I’ve learned to prefer catch-and-release when it comes to rock samples.

      • Vairship

        As long as you park on a really steep hill your bed will still empty easily…

  • Your Britishiousness is showing: If they’re driving a Chevy, it’s rifle cartridges but shotgun shells.

    I do see that they went to the trouble of acquiring an N-suffix 1974 registration, though. I can relate to such dedication to an otherwise mundane cause.

  • 0A5599

    While one might easily jump to the conclusion that a Custom Deluxe badge indicated something really special, it was actually the base trim level, without frills like carpet or headliner. Silverado was a trim level back then, and the one to order if you prefer Chevy trucks with car-like features.

    http://73-87.com/7387info/7387trimlev.htm

  • Batshitbox

    I had a Ford that was badged “Sport Custom” and “Camper Special”, making it both custom and special!

    Stepsides, I don’t like ’em. They’re okay for hauling aggregate, as pointed out by mdharrell, but mostly they’re owned by people who like to dress up their pickups.

    That pickup has some good points: The CB antenna, the ridiculously massive step bumper, the rolled edges on the tops of the sides, and chains to hold the tailgate (they can be unlatched to form a ramp for your peastone.)

    What it needs now is an American style RV (or ‘caravan’ as the Brits call them) with 6 wheels and some overcompensating macho name like “Raptor”, “Grizzly” or “Conquest”, and to be hauling ass in the passing lane with Jeremy Clarkson riding shotgun.

    http://d34ra0wvwxc5ex.cloudfront.net/qQAfxN/likFB5/2007_Keystone_RV_36_Raptor_Toy_Hauler_Trailer_2f1Yio.jpg

    • outback_ute

      Or a slide-in camper!

  • boxdin

    How cool that truck ended up there. Some of you may know the origins of the step side were the farmer carrying feed hay bales in the bed and as the truck idled in granny first gear and the wheels were in the forrows/rows to steer straight, he walked along side and stepped up to get hay and then get down again.

    • outback_ute

      My grandfather used to feed stock like that, but with a Subaru Brumby so the bed sides weren’t too high to climb over (they didn’t have the little pocket steps like the Brat had unfortunately). When I was about 6 years old on school holidays I was able to help by turning when we got to the other side of the paddock (I couldn’t reach the pedals), but otherwise it was one of some of the seriously OHS-dodgy work he did.

    • wunno sev

      i’ve heard a lot of stories about the origins of the stepside. that’s one of ’em, another is that it’s easier to shovel out dirt and gravel when there’s no wheel wells in the way, etc.

      tbh, and i don’t mean to say that the farmer story isn’t a plausible use of the stepside, i’m kind of doubtful of all of the origin stories involving the practical benefits of the stepside.

      the story that seems most likely to me is that they’re a holdover from the earliest pickup trucks, when the entire volume of most cars – engine compartment, passenger compartment, cargo area – sat between the wheels, rather than over them. as cabs got wider, truck beds took a while to catch up, and some people preferred the old-fashioned look of the “step side”.

      • ptschett

        I’d agree with that origin theory. It’s the utilitarian part of a utilitarian vehicle.
        My understanding was that the styleside boxes were an extra cost option originally; then eventually became the default, presumably for cargo volume and aerodynamics; then there was that weird phase from the ’90’s into the ’00’s where the flareside was an extra-cost stylish option. (And now the latest thing seems to be a square main cargo hold with storage compartments over the top of the wheelwells, e.g. Rambox.)

  • Maymar

    http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h208/84400/P1010144.jpg

    I think I might prefer wagon wheels to slot mags, but there’s a general rightness to both.

    • ptschett

      I think the wagon wheel is more right on the 4×4 offroader and the slot mag more right on the 4×2 street truck.