15,000 Mile Work Truck: 1976 Chevrolet C-10 Pickup

By Jeff Bennett

While it is not uncommon to find a car with low mileage, finding a truck with low mileage is a pretty rare event.  While I expect that future collectors will find a number of 1990 and later trucks with low mileage due to the shift trucks have made from work vehicles to personal vehicles, trucks built before then primarily had to earn their keep.  This fact makes the truck you see here all that more unusual.  While it is obviously a bare bones work truck, it obviously wasn’t used that way.  Found on Craigslist in Cleveland, Tennessee, this 1976 Chevrolet C-10 has just 15,000 miles on the odometer.  This orange hauler is really impressive, but is it $12,000 impressive?

Looking over the photos of this truck, you can’t help but like the color combination.  The deep orange exterior with white wheels and bumpers is probably not a combination that you would order on your own, but it looks good nonetheless.  Of course, this truck is in Cleveland, Tennessee, which is just about one hour away from Knoxville, the home of the University of Tennessee.  Maybe this truck was ordered in this color combination by a rabid fan.

Looking closer, we can see that the truck is a plain Jane model with a six foot bed.  It is a bit hard to tell, but I believe something must have spilled onto the bed side.  Look closely at the top third of the bed behind the tire in the picture above.  It may be a reflection, but it looks like the paint is not quite right there.  Other than that, the paint looks shinier than it should.  Perhaps it is a metallic paint, because it seems to change the way it looks based upon how light falls upon it.  The DuPont paint guide states that the color is Tangier Orange, but makes no mention of it being a metallic.

The only blemish we can see from the rear is that the rear bumper needs to be sanded down and repainted.  The tailgate looks to be dent free, as does the rest of the body.  Once again, we see that the paint looks different depending on how light falls upon it.  If there are problems with the paint, it would have been nice to get pictures of the truck in full sunlight.  The grove of trees looks great as a background, but they make photo analysis difficult.

Inside, other than some damage to the rubber mat to the right of the driver’s seat and fading of the door panel, this one is in great shape.  The brake pedal arm may be rusty, and there may be a spot of surface rust by where the mat damage is as well.  The extra pedal and a lack of a floor shifter pretty much confirms that this is a “three on the tree” manual.  The ad lists the truck as having a six cylinder, so we are dealing with the base “stovebolt” inline six cylinder engine and three speed manual transmission here.  While the combination is short on excitement, you probably couldn’t get a more reliable powertrain combination.  This truck could easily rack up 250,000 miles without any major repairs, provided you drove it sensibly and kept up with maintenance.

So, how did this truck end up with so few miles?  Was it so boring and plain that nobody wanted to drive it?  Was it Grandpa’s last truck, and it ended up sitting after he passed?  Or, was it owned by one of those solitary types that just didn’t go to town much?  The ad gives us no clues, and the plethora of collectible vehicles in the background of the photos suggest that this truck was purchased by the seller to “flip.”  There is nothing wrong with that, it just makes getting a good deal as a buyer difficult.  As to the question of whether it is worth $12,000, where are you going to find another?  In fact, a used car buyer with access to this kind of cash may find it to be a great deal.  If you just wanted a reliable truck without all the fancy gizmos and gadgets to break down, this one would be the bee’s knees.

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  1. rough diamond

    Nice stripped down Chevy truck, however, I cannot see it bringing that price. Also, it’s color is not anywhere close to Tennesse Big Orange.

  2. Blueprint

    The wood grain on the passenger side of the dash is not typical for a basic “custom deluxe”. Dog dish hubcaps were std IIRC. Still, an 8′ bed away from perfection to my eyes!

  3. Dave

    A short stepside bed would look nice on that truck.

    • cudaman

      Dave…..you mean like this????? Owned it 20 years……

  4. Steve Turner

    The motor is not a stovebolt. 1962 was the last year for the 235 cubic inch stovebolt. This truck probably has the 250 cubic inch six. I bought one similar in 1975 for $3419.14. It was also red.

  5. SanityFactor

    Those look like Scottsdale seats but i could be wrong…

  6. JW

    Well for half his asking price I would paint a rebel flag on the roof and a big 01 on the doors then put a loud pipe on it and take it to cruise night.

  7. Joe

    I have my doubts of this being original. IMHO, it looks like a decent repaint, and that glow in the paint looks like there’s pearl in the clear coat. Maybe Hugger Orange? I’d want some documentation that the mileage is true.

    • Marathon Martin

      I agree…repainted. Nice truck for sure.

    • Nrg8

      When have you known GM to paint the cab interior metal different to the exterior. You can actually see the tape line on the rockers where the color changes. Brake pedal looks kinda rusty too. Maybe a 15k truck, but from what I recall, this was the starting vintage where the sheet metal would rust blister from the inside out. Even if it kept clean, there should be at least one or two ulcers. Need more info and pics, almost looks like one of those house of color candy pearl colors.

  8. Steve R

    Short bed fleetside is where the money is. Pictures of the bed floor would go a long way towards verifying the trucks condition. Eight to nine thousand would be more realistic.

    Steve R

  9. STEVE

    My brother had a 76 custom deluxe lwb that was this color or a little more orange, IIRC. It had tan interior, but same pattern. It was originally a small block v8 truck with an auto trans and ac. When we bought it, someone had swapped a BBC 454 LS5 out of a Chevelle or monte carlo into it. With that engine and the 3.08 rear gears, the truck would go as fast as you could hold it on the road. we buried the 120 speedo several times, and the front end would get really light. LOL. It was a tough old truck. He put it through hell, then passed it on to me, unfortunately, we swapped the 454 into my dad’s 80 GMC one ton welding truck, then rebuilt the 350 out of the GMC, installed flat top pistons, comp 268H cam headers and aluminum intake Holley 650 and swapped it into the 76. Still ran pretty good!

  10. geomechs

    This is one highly desirable pickup! I’d easily take it as is, 6 cyl. motor and all. One of my favorite demos that I drove when I worked for the GM dealer was a 6. I only drove it for a couple of weeks before they sold it out from under me. I yearned for another one and finally got one in ’79. I picked it off the lot and had it in the shop, PDI’d, and was installing the 2-way radio when the GM sales manager came out with a customer. Five minutes later he told me not to bother installing the radio; he’d just sold it. I went back out to the lot and picked out a Sierra Grande with boring 305/350. Ran that one for four months before they sold it….

    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, I thought this truck would hit a nerve with you. While clearly a refurbishment of a pretty clean truck to begin with, there’s just not enough info to prove it’s original. I think someone babied the heck out of their truck for 115K miles. Engine and underside shots would prove.
      BTW, it is a 3 speed column, you can see the shift lever next the steering wheel. Nice truck. Rare, LIKE THIS??? You bet. $12g’s??? sigh, I suppose, they aren’t that rare,,,yet.

      • geomechs

        Hi Howard. While I’d rather have a Granny 4 speed, the column shift 3 spd. is OK too. Working for a GM dealer made me appreciate the six cyl. motors a lot more than I used to; they were so much easier to work on and keep tuned up. I had customers who were excellent with their maintenance; their trucks looked great, even long past the 100K mile mark. Had one customer who managed to drop his truck through the ice into a high-in-alkaline lake. After an extensive cleaning (the truck, originally pale green, was alkaline white and had to be washed with vinegar) and an entire electrical system replacement, the owner always kept the truck clean and polished. And it was a basic knockoff farm truck! The guy is gone now but his son is just as particular….

  11. Rod444

    Well, the seller is a bit optimistic on price, but given that these Chevy’s are getting harder to find in rust free shape, there’s nowhere to go but up on the pricing. It’s nice to see one that wasn’t beaten to death as a farm or work truck. Id buy it at 7k and hang on to it for seven years and double my money.

  12. Pharmag8r

    I’d like it to do the body swap on my 1959 but it is way too pricey for that…

  13. DaveT

    I’ve been looking for a ‘76 short bed Custom Deluxe for a long time. My dad had one with AM radio being the only option. I don’t think this is a C/D, seats and dash are different. I’m willing to get the best truck I can find and continue to spend on it to restore it. $12K is, well, it’s a lot.

  14. Joe Haska

    Price seems high, but depending on what you plan to do with it maybe not. I always suggest to buyers, to buy the best example you can find, you will save money later. However , if your plan is a total rebuild, replacing and exchanging everything, why bother? Buy a POS and throw wheel barrows of money into it, and try to figure out how you got so upside down in it.

  15. Gene Parmesan

    Another one from my neck of the woods if anyone is interested and would like an inspection. Sweet rig (dig those plaid seat inserts!) and the ol squares are certainly becoming more and more collectible, but I just can’t get my head around the mileage claim or the crazy asking price.

  16. CMARV Member

    LS2, 6 Speed . Rally wheels . Drive it .

  17. Patty

    I had one just like this, model wise but it was pretty beat up, body wise. It was converted over to a floor shifter, which I liked. This truck was bought and used for cheap transportation and easy to fix anything on it. We didn’t have the money to be fussy. If it had four wheels that moved and got us where we had to go, well, that was good enough.

  18. Tyler

    I have a serious weakness for C10’s, especially 67-72’s & squares. But the seller of this one must of promised his wife he would put it up for sale, as there is just no other explanation for the asking price. Yes it’s a mostly rust free (ad says it has a rusty fender) & the interior is pretty nice, but it is a nothing special plain Jane work truck. It’s a $5-6k truck, $7k at the very high end of the spectrum if the engine is a 292 instead of a 250.

    For $12k, I’ll put someone in a fully loaded rust free 85 GMC Sierra…


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