Original Paint: 1978 Chevrolet C10 4×4 Shortbed

It’s no secret that Chevrolet’s “squarebody” trucks are seeing a rise in both popularity and prices, even though the company sold this generation of the C/K Series truck for nearly 20 years. This 1977 Chevrolet Silverado K-10 Shortbed that Barn Finds reader Dayle G. found here on eBay has some period-correct modifications under its belt, but it is also a project that will require plenty of attention before hitting the road again.

This Silverado is available in Tucson, Arizona with a clean title. Supposedly, the seller bought the truck from someone who purchased it with a mere 500 miles on the odometer, but unfortunately, that owner parked the truck for 13 years after what they believed was a blown head gasket.

Luckily, because this truck lived its life in Arizona, it did not succumb to the rust issues that most Squarebodies do, but there is still some surface rust in the bed and bottom parts of the vehicle. While the truck features its original paint, the sun created a patina effect, and the hood has a crease in the middle from someone attempting to close it after it was ajar for many years. Additionally, the passenger door has a dent, there is a crack in the windshield, the trim has some damage, and the passenger taillight lens is broken. On a positive note, this truck does feature some upgrades, such as Warn locking wheel hubs, a Rough Country 5″ lift kit, and a chrome roll bar.

While vehicles from areas like Arizona aren’t as prone to rust, the interiors fall victim to sun damage, which is the case here. The seats are torn, the dashboard material has cracks, and the wood trim is very faded.

Under the hood, there’s a 350 cu.-in. V8 engine, which pairs to an automatic transmission and a four-wheel-drive system. The drivetrain has 140,000 miles on it, but unfortunately, a blown head gasket took this truck off the road over a decade ago, and it has not run since.

At the time of publication, bidding is at $4,050 with the reserve not met. Considering this is a rather extensive project, I found the price surprising, but 22 bidders feel that this truck has clean enough bones to make it a worthwhile venture. What do you think of this project pickup?


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    We sold lots of SWB 4x4s back when the paint on this was shiny. I was never much of a fan of lifting these up as they were high enough from the factory and I wasn’t fussy about buying Universal joints by the case lot. I freak right out when I see locking front hubs on trucks like this. It usually means that someone converted the transfer case from full-time to part-time. Trouble is very few people know that you still have to have the transfer case engaged in 4-wheel-mode so that the chain can bring lube up to the gears and bearings in the top. I’ve overhauled more than my share of NP203 transfer cases just because of that. Some of those failed catastrophically. Of course, there’s the outside chance that the owner changed to the 205 transfer case as well. The 205 was available with an automatic in ’73 but the 203 came out later, making the 205 available only with the manual.

    Like 3
    • crahm

      I have an 87K5 with converted-to-manual lock front hubs. I don’t understand your point. If the hubs are unlocked, and you’ve backed out of the drive of the hubs, what is the problem with the transfer case?

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Your ’87 will have a 208 transfer case with a shallower slope. The oil level will reach the rotating apparatus whether engaged or not. Therefore it doesn’t need to have the chain to bring the oil up to the gears. The 203 case is absolutely dependent on the chain turning because that oil level is way down there. Your truck likely came from the factory with automatically locking front hubs which a lot of people changed over to the manually locking variety. It wouldn’t have been anything I would have done but some thought it was good.

        Like 1
  2. Turbo

    Prices seem high lately. Not sure, maybe because people are losing perspective with everything going on in the world. Corona virus, the election, the economy. Things seem kind of surreal. Maybe people with jobs or incentive checks are feeling like spending some money because they have been stuck at home not going anywhere. Just seems like project cars today are approaching prices asked for ‘drivers’ less than a year ago. Tell me if I’m nuts, but thats how it seems.

    Like 1
  3. bobk

    Rode hard and put away wet. I suspect the buyer will find more wrong than meets the eye.

    Like 4

    Besides scads of little details that need attention, there are three big red flags jumping out at me. One, the tach reads just over 1,000 RPM; either it stuck there, or the seller is risking further damage by running a known bad engine. Two, there is mystery wiring hanging from the dash and what appears to be an aftermarket speaker behind the seat (automatic deal-breakers for me). Three, it appears to have an NP203 that was converted to part-time 4WD. All things considered, it seems to be bringing pretty strong money.

  5. grant

    I just don’t get the draw of these. I’ve owned a few, they’re good trucks. But they’re the definition of “generic, government issue pickup truck.” And TBH, they’re kinda bland as far as styling goes. But this one will undoubtedly sell for stupid money.

    Like 1
  6. TimM

    I liked these body style Chevy truck and as always geomechs said it all!!! If the transfer case is wasted or excessive worn due to lack of lubrication it’s going to set you back a bit for a used one and from what I see the belt is missing on the A/C compressor so it could be it leaked the gas out and it’s an R-12 system and he didn’t convert it to 134-A (not sure what year vehicles started coming from the factory with 134-A) or it could be a bad compressor!! A place like Tucson you want to have A/C!!!

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I noticed the A-C belt missing too. I think R134 came out around ’93 if I recall correctly. I would never change this system over to 134; I would use the R-12 substitute which has the same cooling characteristics plus uses the same oil as the original R-12 system used. Some people have asked me where to get the substitute. I’ve seen it at Auto Zone and O’Reilly’s. I’m not sure if I’ve seen it at NAPA but I’m sure if the others can get it in, NAPA should too…

  7. TimM

    I’ve done my fair share of conversions geomechs and if there not done right it causes serious problems!! R-12 uses mineral oil, R-134A uses a polyester oil!! You must remove the compressor and dump the oil then use a
    R-11 flush on the rest of the system sometimes it’s apparent you need to remove your expansion valve before you flush!! If you don’t get all the oil out the two oils combine turns into paraffin wax and it gums up the system causing compressor failure!!

    Like 2
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      That’s one of the reasons I won’t change them over. Unless you’ve got a way of getting every shred of oil out of the system you risk waxing your system up. Running expansion valves is risky at best. The systems like this truck has with just an orifice might be a little easier to flush out but I think why go to all the trouble? Put in the replacement and everything works. IHMO.

      • TimM

        I agree 100%

        Like 1

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