We might be full of it, but it seems like in the 21st century there's a lot more fullsize pickups on the road used mainly for pleasure than there ever was in the in the mid 20th century. A theorist might contend the trend started to build momentum not long after the end of WWII because nearly a decade of development was lost to the war years. In the aftermath, the pressure was on for Detroit to catch up and deliver some new and exciting trucks, and it came through with flying colors. Once people got a taste of V-8 power and creature comforts that rivaled fully equipped cars, the luxury pickup race was on.
For Jim Adams III of Pleasanton, California, a man who made his living around the big-rigs he and his lovely wife, Marlys, were in the market for a heavy-duty pickup to bear a cabover camper and tow their motorboat with ease. In 1975 when Jim ordered his Chevrolet 1-ton dually the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) for a bare-bones C30 Fleetside pickup was $4,163.04. The base model C30 did include a V-8 engine, but that was about it. Since Jim and Marlys wanted to enjoy traveling a plain Jane truck was just simply out of the question. With that in mind Jim walked into Dailey Chevrolet of San Leandro, California, and ordered the truck of his dreams. For power he spent $382.00 and got an option code LF8 454-inch big-block with a Quadrajet carburetor. The M20 compound four-speed transmission didn't cost a penny extra, but $48.00 was spent for a GT5 rear axle with 4.10:1 gears. To help handle engine heat a KC4 engine cooler cost $74.00, and to chill the cab's interior an outlay of $458.00 bought C60 All Weather Air-Conditioning. The R05 Dually option cost an additional $395.00 and the NL2 auxiliary fuel tank drained $93.00. Kicking out the jambs and springing for the YE9 Silverado equipment package sucked up $424.00. Chevrolet must have decided $61.00 was a good price to charge for the TP2 auxiliary 61-amp battery because the numbers matched. The Z81 Camper Special equipment came to $135.00. A V22 chrome grille was only $22.00, and the BX6 cab back panel appliqu molding was even less at $20.00, such a deal. By the time all of the options Jim ordered were tallied up the total came to $2,986.69 which brought the window sticker up to $7,579.
Around the time Jim's heavily optioned C30 hit 136,000 miles he decided he'd like to freshen the old workhorse up. Being one of those picky guys that like to take care of their stuff, the Chevy wasn't in all that bad of shape, but as a sidebar it's interesting to note most of the 1-ton GMC and Chevrolet trucks from that era lead hard lives and usually died at an early age. Couple this with the fact very few were fully optioned to include the Custom Camper and Silverado package Jim's C30 is a rare bird to say the least.
First on Jim's list was to handle the C30's upholstery. Historically speaking this is where things get interesting. Jim took his '75 C30 to Armand's Auto Upholstery in Walnut Creek, California, which has been in business since 1897 when great-grandpa Armand first opened the doors in Sacramento. In 1916 the shop was moved to Oakland, and then made the final move to Walnut Creek in 1971. Armand III re-covered the original A52 front bench seat in a beige vinyl with a special accent color specified by Jim's wife Marlys. Next, Jim went after the paint and bodywork and got in touch with David Rodriguez at D-Rod's Street Rods in San Jose, California. Jim stuck with the original Midnight Black color scheme he'd ordered new, but the $116.00 YG1 body side upper and lower moldings were shaved. With the moldings shaved D-Rod's stripped the body to bare metal, laid a skim-coat on the entire truck, and then got busy block-sanding. Once the '75 rolled out of D-rod's booth in a straighter-than-new shade of Midnight Black, David and his crew reinstalled the $56.00 V43 painted rear bumper that was beautifully chromed by Superior Plating of San Jose along with the original front bumper Superior rechromed. With the '75 now sporting a show-quality finish, pinstriper "Real" Ralph Newman of Boulder Creek, California, added a few tasty accents and the exterior touches were done.
To handle matters under the hood Jim looked to Groth Brothers Chevrolet in Livermore, California, to install a Goodwrench 454, but insisted the engine color remained Chevrolet Orange instead of the standard black. By the time Louis Aguirre had finished applying eight coats of Chevrolet Orange engine enamel the other mechanics were calling him Picasso. Nothing had to be done to the M20 option code four-speed transmission except fill it with fresh gear oil, and stuff a new clutch in between it and the Goodwrench 454. These days the General bides its time resting in its own barn Jim and Marlys added to the side of their property, and only has to fire up when it's time to move on with the marker lights lit.