Like most CUSTOM CLASSIC TRUCKS devotees, we’re usually thinking about the next project before the current one is finished. So even before we put the final touches on our Hot Rod Hauler, the search was on for something else to build. Thanks to our buddy, Paul Willis, we found a real diamond in the rough—a ’64 Chevy C10 Fleetside pickup that came to rest in a wrecking yard without an engine, but with a title.
We parted with $1,500, hauled the truck home, and began making plans and figuring out a budget as one will impact the other. The first step with a truck like this is to take inventory to determine what’s usable and what isn’t. We started our evaluation from the ground up. With the truck on a hoist we found the frame and suspension components were solid; no signs of damage or excessive wear so the stock suspension components could be rebuilt and updated or of course we could opt for more exotic replacement pieces. At the very least we want to lower the truck and improve the brakes.
While this is by no means a complete cost breakdown, it’s a starting point for making comparisons. Obviously the amount spent on the chassis could vary greatly.
Chassis paint/products $100
Front suspension upgrades:
disc brakes/drop spindles $700
Complete frontend rebuild kit $450
Lowered rear springs/shocks $200
Rebuild stock brakes $350
5-lug rear axle conversion $500
New front suspension with r/p steering, coilovers and disc brakes $3,500
Truck arm/coilover kit $1,400
Rear disc brakes $600
9-inch rear w/o brakes $1,900
As for engine/trans combos, we found several used engine/trans combos for around $1,200, while a new crate engine and trans would start around $7,500 and go up from there. The other option would be a rebuildable core and a fresh transmission.
Our Chevy’s body is actually quite sound, the only rust is in the passenger side floor and the front corner of the hood—both easy fixes. The right front fender will probably be replaced rather than repaired, the left rear corner of the box will require some straightening, and the tailgate needs some work. A new grille and bumpers will be needed, along with a windshield.
Right front fender $230
Replacement bumpers $500
Windshield and rubber $430
Estimates on paint and bodywork range from $3,500 to straighten all the sheetmetal and put it in primer to over $15,000 for show-quality bodywork and a basecoat/clearcoat finish. Bodywork and paint is our least favorite chore, but we may try to save some money by giving it a try.
The cost of redoing the interior can vary widely—stock-style seat covers run around $250, carpeting is around $100, and the remainder of the interior could be painted. On the other end, a new leather-covered replacement seat will run around $2,500 and a full-on custom interior could cost $5,000 or more. Another possibility is wrecking yard seating from some sort of upscale car.
Wheels and tires are something else you can spend a little or a lot on. We could go with steel wheels and caps for not a lot of money, and there are some killer billet wheels and sticky tires that would look great and help handling, and we’ve also found great buys on used combos at various swap meets. Costs could run anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Of course there are a host of other items to spend money on: wiring, plumbing, even parts like windshield wipers, light bulbs, and nuts and bolts add up, but right now we are simply making a guesstimate. At the very least we figure it will take $5,500 to get our Chevy on the road and we could spend upward of $40,000 if the budget was there for it, which it’s not.
As with every project, our goal is to get the most truck for the least amount of money. If you have thoughts on the subject or specific stories you’d like to see, send your comments to email@example.com. CCT
1. Our ’64 Chevy spent the last couple of decades in a wrecking yard. Fortunately it wasn’t parted out and remained pretty much intact.
2. We can only speculate what caused the hole in the windshield. The rest of the glass is good and could be reused.
3. Most of the paint that remains is factory, and all the trim is in place and most of it can be salvaged.
4. Up front, the grille and bumper are rough, and the hood is straight and solid with one minor exception.
5. A small rust hole developed in the front corner of the hood under some bad bodywork.
6. The right front corner met up with an immovable object creating this hard-to-fix damage. It will be cheaper to replace the fender compared to having it straightened.
7. All the bed wood rotted away some time ago; however, the headgate is almost perfect. The hole for a CB antenna in the back of the cab will be filled.
8. One small dent in the tailgate will require repair; the most severe damage to the bed is behind the left rear wheel opening.
9. Although there is some surface rust, the driver side floor is solid. A huge hole was cut in the trans tunnel to install a Hurst Mystery Shifter on the three-speed gearbox.
10. Removal of the floor mat revealed rust damage to the passenger side toeboard. This will be a relatively easy fix.
11. Hard to believe AM/FM/cassette combos were once the trick sound system. Only minor hacking was done to install it.
12. The stock seat has been a refuge for mice; it stinks, but it could be recovered.
13. What happened to the original 283 is anyone’s guess. What will go in its place has yet to be decided.