Big 10 Survivor: 23K Mile 1980 Chevy C-10

This 1980 Chevrolet C10 pickup is a desirable “Big 10” edition with under 25,000 original miles. The Big 10 package was a bit of marketing genius on the part of GM, which offered the trim level as a way to sell a heavy-duty half ton pickup with no catalytic converters. The seller notes it remains true to factory condition and shows no major alterations from stock, and that the previous owner used it as a summer driver in Minnesota and then wintered in Florida, protecting its sheetmetal from the snow and slop. Today, it comes with all of its original books and sales purchase paperwork and is listed here on eBay with bidding to $8,700 and no reserve.

By creating the Big 10 trim, Chevrolet was able to produce a truck with mildly enhanced load carrying capacity and better performance without catalytic converters getting in the way. Getting just above a certain weight threshold was key, as federal standards at the time dictated that any truck with GVW ratings of 6,000 lbs. and under had to be equipped with cats. With the Big 10 trucks nudging just past that rating, Chevy could effectively sell a “light” truck that avoided the emissions penalties of that classification, offering customers more options in the showroom if they didn’t need a thee quarter ton (or heavier) model. Ford followed a similar playbook at the time.

As you might expect, the truck presents as-new throughout. The interior shows no visible signs of wear and tear, with the bench seat looking as if it’s never been sat in. The door panels and carpeting follow a similar theme, with any indication of use no readily apparent in photos. Despite the original owner’s efforts to avoid use in the snow, the Chevy does have some minor rust bubbling up in places as noted by the seller, including the bottom of fenders in front of the wheels; minimally behind the passenger side rear wheel; and under the driver’s feet that is contained to a small span piece from the rocker to the floor (and not the floor itself.) The truck has been undercoated since new.

The 350 is said to be a strong runner that does not burn and oil or lose and fluids. It is hooked up to a TH350 transmission that shifts smoothly and without any issues. The seller notes the truck benefits from recent brake work, which included replacement of the front rotors and calipers. In addition to the Big 10 trim, the Chevy is also equipped with the Silverado package which includes A/C and a tilt steering delete, an interesting choice by the first owner that most drives typically want in their new vehicle purchase. With the heavy duty features and less restrictive emissions, this survivor Big 10 would seemingly offer the best of both worlds.


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  1. Jamie

    That’s the truck from Youtube channel ‘Vise Grip Garage’. If you’ve never watched his channel you should, funny as heck and he knows his stuff. More for entertainment than actually fixing vehicles, but it’s worth the watch. He did a couple videos on this truck, and it is as it claims in the eBay ad.

    Like 11
    • Russell Glantz Staff

      Thanks Jamie, I was just going to comment similarly. It’s a neat truck and the videos show some of the recent fix-up on it.
      I’m a fan of that channel!
      “Well I’ll be DIPPED!”

      Like 10
    • Kevin

      I was able to get a few tips on repainting the steel wheels, from when he was sprucing this baby up.

      Like 3
    • Jimmy B

      I thought so too

  2. Daren

    Same truck that Derrick refurbished on VVG?

    Like 2
  3. Mark P

    Big 10 was the same as Ford’s. Creating the F150, larger payload over the F100 getting them into no catalytic converter range.

    Like 1
  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    The Big 10 and Heavy Half options were mostly trim packages. There was a code that began in ’77 (I believe) called F-44. It upped the GVW to 6000+ which exempted it from the passenger car emissions. It also gave you a 350 with Four-Bolt-Mains and exhaust valve rotators. For about three years you could also get a dual exhaust system. Beginning 01/01/79, the Cat-free/EGR-free bets were off changing the emission regs to include everything under 8000 GVW. A heavy 3/4 ton was still exempt but the 1/2 ton fell victim. The F-44 package remained but you got the anemic emission controls. I might add that the General sort of slipped that in without saying too much. 1980 dropped ALL 1/2 ton GVW to 6100 max (my ’79 is 6400) and Cats and EGRs were mandatory up to 10K GVW. This particular truck would’ve had a Cat from the factory. Seeing the fuel gauge calling for ‘Unleaded Fuel Only’ confirms that.

    Aside from that, it looks like a nice truck. We sold a pile of them in this color and with the same hubcaps. I liked the trim package because they started bringing trucks in with a massive vinyl side molding that warped and buckled within the first month making many a whizzing contest in the warranty arena…

    Like 9
    • PH

      What the heck does that mean “whizzing contest in the warranty arena” ??

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I was just trying to tone down what I wanted to say for the sake of a PG13 rated publication. Back in the day GM was very good with warranty and policy adjustments but one place it was reluctant was body work. GM had two major screwups: paint coming off in large chunks and the wide vinyl side mouldings. The General acknowledged both but it was chintzy as hell in what it was willing to pay. And there was ZERO consideration if you were beyond the 12/12. I don’t think that was fully resolved and we lost some lifetime customers over that. Then there was another monkey wrench in the works: GM came out with an extended warranty called CPP (Continuous Protection Plan) which was in reality an insurance policy. People expected CPP to cover the paint and body mouldings which nothing could be further from the truth. By the time you got through the deductible/approval/rejection stage CPP covered NOTHING! We finally took the signs down and quit offering CPP.

        Like 1
  5. Jim C

    Wow. That is nice. So good to see an older pickup that hasn’t been modified (trashed). That interior is pristine. And I love the hubcaps!

    Like 5
  6. Comet

    Not so sure about the salt free claim. The rockers are rust free and show well? Are we talking about the same truck?

    Like 1

    vice grip garage? yeah that guy could get a long dormant wonder bra running good.

    Like 2
  8. Little_Cars

    Not enough red. PASS.

    • PJH

      Gotta say, it’s much better then the yellow and white 2 tone with the tan n brown interior they had here a few days ago!
      Putrid colors there.
      The red is tolerable, for my stomach anyway.
      Still, I need a 4WD myself.

  9. Little_Cars

    Am I seeing paint overspray along the pinch weld below the cab doors? Would the brake pedal pad have that much wear on the right if the mileage claim was correct? Did all square bodies have that seam sealer along the firewall? That seems rather primitive, even for GM at the time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in that deep of red. Drove a 1980 for work during college and it was fleet white with no accessories but air.

    Like 1
  10. Dirtymax

    Nice rig but no AC. Look at the dash panal. Dont need AC on a nice old truck like this, just roll down the windows and enjoy the ride

    Like 1
  11. jerry z

    Not a fan of the front end, need to change to an early 70’s grille/headlight front. No a/c? No bueno!

    • jay bradley

      Vintage Air makes a nice ac system for these trucks that bolts right in for about 1500 bucks, i just bought one .i have 2 already in my other trucks ,works awesome

      Like 1
  12. Little_Cars

    I thought the Silverado option included AC?

    Like 1
  13. Ken

    Gonna have to nope out on this one. A/C is a necessity in eastern Washington summers.

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