Sassy Short Bed: 1986 Chevrolet C10 Silverado

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Lately, there seems to be increased interest in these “square-box ” versions of the  Chevrolet C-10 ½ pickup trucks. Nicknamed square-box for the obvious reasons related to the body design, these 1973-1987 used to be everywhere with supply seeming greater than demand. The situation has finally reversed with the end result of increasing value for the survivors. Here is a really nice one, located in Charleston, West Virginia and placed for auction here on eBay. The auction at the time of writing has a high bid of $4,200 reserve not met with a buy it now option of $10,500. With 7 days left we could just see this option used.

This color just seems to suit the truck well. A second repaint, it still shows nice gloss.  Even though there are no pictures, It looks like it was also painted inside the bed. The truck is a Silverado, which in these years was a GM designation for silver side panels between the top body line and the body trim. Although the truck looks nice in monotone, the two-tone paint would look even better. Aftermarket parts support for these trucks are excellent and I would track down the thick body trim for sides. It abruptly ends at the box corners and should travel down the length of the truck. This trim is readily available in either pre-cut or rolls and would provide a finished look.

Overall the body is very good, the seller describes it as never being used in the road salt. That claim is believable when you look at the edges of the wheel moldings. There doesn’t seem to be any visible rust in the cab corners, the bottom of the doors, the bottom of the box. Of course, a repaint can hide things, but I don’t think it is the case here. The truck is just too straight to be hiding major work. For me, the only cause of concern is the stain on the driver’s floor. This could be a leaking cowl or possibly a windshield gasket, both of which require glass removal, with the former requiring rust repair. Or possibly the seller just spilled his coffee!

The interior looks very nice just like the exterior. GM plastics of the era would become brittle and disintegrate. This truck must have been kept out of the sun. Even the dash is not cracked, although it could be a cover or replacement. The owner reveals some wiring issues, but these should be easily overcome. Compared to newer cars, the wiring is just not that complex.

The engine compartment is clean and the 305 V8 said to work well. The owner has confidence a potential buyer could fly in and drive home. He also states it would be a good candidate for an LS swap, but I would leave it alone if what he said is true. Early 305 v8’s had a habit of wearing cam lobes,  by 1986 that issue was cleared up. There is some criticism about the usefulness of a short bed truck, but the working days of this truck should be over. It is too nice to risk damage. The BIN price may seem a little steep, but I don’t think another could be restored to this level for the same money.

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  1. ghalperin Glenn Halperin

    I’ve heard of “square body”, not “square box”.
    Where is that nickname used?

    Like 10
  2. local_sheriff

    The square body designation sure fits this generation, though GM called it rounded line back then – I cannot see there’s really anything ’round’ about these trucks though!

    I’ve driven, worked on and also owned 70s and 80s Blazers and trucks of this generation, and they’re brilliant! Easy and fun to work on and parts are available everywhere at decent prices.Their sheet metal does rust (like all vehicles of this vintage)but that’s the only behemoth I can think of.If you can locate a vehicle not cluttered with power everything that eventually will fail, these are extremely reliable and cheap trucks to own.

    Like 5
    • HoA Howard AMember

      All true, except you pay for that simplicity at the pump.

      Like 2
      • Dustin Lisner

        Its well worth the price though

        Like 4
      • local_sheriff

        Agree with you both,but is it REALLY that much difference between a 30 year old truck compared to a newer one?
        When I 20years back dd’ed a 77 C5 Blazer with a 250 six and 3spd manual it gave me consistent 23mpg.It weighed 3.750 lbs.My 05 Ram 4×2 with 5.7 Hemi/5spd auto averages 18.5mpg.It weighs 5.400 lbs.While the Ram has some 2.5 times more HP than the Blazer, it’s also a much heavier vehicle.I’ve only managed 23mpg on the Ram twice under extremely careful(read:boring) driving.
        As long as you can live with a six or moderate SBC coupled to a manual in your square body they have no bad consumption for a hobby vehicle!

        Like 4
  3. Martin Vogel

    That’s not a Silverado, it just has Silverado fender badges.

    Like 0
    • Miguel

      Silverado is the interior package, not the name of the truck. The other two interior packages were Scottsdale and Custom.

      Like 6
  4. Miguel

    These were the most useless trucks on the lot. Not many people wanted the short box when the long box was available to haul more stuff.

    Like 2
  5. Gary Numan

    Lots of errors in this article and the truck itself. Those who truly know these trucks will quickly figure it out. The pros? 33 years old, desirable shortbox and yes, it appears solid and not to have been in too much salt as you can see the paint on the frame.

    Comments, issues with this truck? Plenty:

    It is NOT a Silverado. It is a Scottsdale. No carpeted floor or door bottoms, no headliner, no back of cab trim surround. Front seat was originally vinyl, look at the SPID in the glove box. Tailgate trim center panel was not standard on the Scottsdale either but this has it. SPID lists chrome rear step bumper but this one appears painted silver. Dash bezel is a Silverado item and was a free-flow option that could be added to a Scottsdale.

    “Square box” as a nickname doesn’t exist for this generation, Square body has emerged as a nickname. The dash is cracked at the center speaker grille. It did have the am/fm stereo option and the rear speakers are correct for this vintage.

    The front right lower headlight does not fit well in the housing, that jumped out at me right away, upon looking closer at the image of the inside of that fender, it is not blue. It has been replaced. Front fender badges are Silverado which are not correct. It may have had a hit on the right side or the whole front. Buyer beware.

    Front seat was originally vinyl, look at the SPID in the glove box.

    This may make a good project truck but there is a lot of wear and items to address. Look at how the paint is worn off the rocker panels on both sides from feet draggers.

    Like 10
  6. Maestro1

    Thank you Gary, well done. All I can say is I can buy decent trucks on the Left Coast where I am for less money. I’m afraid the Seller has an exalted view of his
    merchandise. But I am not a truck person; I would buy one to use it. I have done so.

    Like 1

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