396 Big-Block V8: 1968 Chevrolet C20

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Here’s an “Action Line” (’67-’72) Chevrolet pickup truck that was built with some action under its hood. It’s a non-runner for now but this ’68 edition may still have some potential residing in its old bones. It’s also a “Custom Camper”  equipped version, an option that doesn’t surface often. Chuck F found the listing for this C-20, it’s slumbering in Hermitage, Tennessee and is available, here on craigslist for $4,500.

The hot number for Action Line trucks is the C-10, half-ton version hauling around a short cargo bed. Our subject, however, is a long bed, C-20 (three-quarter ton) example but the seller states, “I have additional parts A to Z ( 67-72 ) to restore or to convert to a 1/2 ton truck“. As for the Custom Camper package, that means the inclusion of a front anti-sway bar, heavy-duty springs and shock absorbers, and higher-capacity tires. This truck is also in possession of the “Custom” trim package which is an interior improvement on the bench seat, or the option of bucket seats – though not in this case, along with a vinyl color-keyed floor mat, different dash knobs, and interior badging. Exterior features include stainless steel grille, vent window, hood, windshield/rear window moldings, and a door-mounted badge. The seller claims that this truck has been parked for fifteen years, and unfortunately, there is only one image of the exterior – the listing makes for a poor selling presentation. What can be seen reveals a weather-worn exterior with faded and peeling paint.

The Custom interior looks anything but “custom” today. There is a trashed seat cover over the original, very stained and shredded vinyl-clad bench – it’s so disgusting looking that I’d be hesitant to park my hindside on it. The roof header is displaying surface rust and the rest of it is just plain tired, worn, and dirty – it has also become a home for spiders judging from that web. That said, it’s a contained, simple environment and a complete redo is not that big a challenge. Oh, one more thing, the listing claims, disingenuously, that this is an A/C-equipped truck but don’t be fooled, the compressor and its brackets appear to be long gone.

The big selling point of this rig is its 325 gross HP, 396 CI V8 engine – the first year of its inclusion in Chevrolet’s truck lineup – I’ll admit that I don’t find many that are so equipped. As stated earlier, it’s a non-runner so there’s no telling what may be wrong with it. And the big-block motor could be a big selling attribute if this truck were fully presented – what is revealed isn’t very encouraging. Gear changes are handled by a four-speed manual transmission.

As stated many times before, Action Line trucks are very popular right now and the cachet of this example, with its Turbo-Jet engine, will certainly enhance interest. The listing, however, is so obscuring in exterior details and presentation that it really works at cross purposes from a marketing perspective. If I were in the market for one of these, I’d probably pass on an inquiry for that reason alone – it seems that the emphasis is all on the engine and none on the truck itself – is something significant being hidden? Anyway, that’s my take, what’s yours?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Maggy

    Wheres the pics of the truck? By looking at that rocker panel inside in one pic I bet it’s a rust bucket. These are quite hard to come by but can’t gauge what I’d pay for with these pics.I think he needs a few more pics of the evap core box , maybe some close ups! Lol.

    Like 9
    • Joseph Summerville

      It doesn’t show a pic of the truck except the front must be falling apart

      Like 6
  2. Rw

    Agree need pics,but this could be a awesome truck, converting it to sounds like something Dick Rawlings would do.

    Like 4
  3. Rw

    Half ton

    Like 2
    • Ashtray

      Looks like it may have been refrigerator white originally, or at some previous time?
      About the worst, “nothing” color a person could choose to own.
      Just my opinion!

      Like 2
      • Mark

        Lt yellow/off white was the color on the under the hood tag.

        Like 1
    • CadmanlsMember

      Long ago this was a nice pickup, factory air, big block and if that wasn’t enough for the stump puller transmission. Not so much now sadly.

      Like 2
  4. Mark

    $4500 is the asking price, that seems a bit high for a 396 engine that you do not even know if it turns over or not. But I guess you get the rest of the truck with the motor, but still 4500 is pretty high. there are several of these vintage trucks on the Minneapolis craigslist. If you look that are priced $1000 higher but are complete running trucks that are not rust buckets. Maybe I should submit one of those ads to the website and see if they post it!

    Like 8
  5. George Birth

    A non Runner and no mention if there is a title that goes with it. $4500.00 seems to be a bit steep with no mention or photos of the body. May be worth $500. to $1K as is. Also no mention of what is included with sale, (Wheels?).

    Like 2
  6. Ronald PringleMember

    Sometime back in the mid 80s I bought a C20 long bed 3/4 ton thinking that it had a 396. After dis-assembly and miked the specs it turned out to be a 366. I researched and discovered that that was used in school busses, some lite and medium duty trucks, cab and chassis and the such. Strong block-high nickel content, built for torque not horsepower. I rebuilt the engine, suspension bushings, and sprinkled red oxide primer on it and used that truck for the next 4 years. I did relocate the old behind the seat gas tank. Tuff truck.

    Like 9
    • Brad chipman

      Would be interesting if it was a shorted. Would need to see how bad the rust is though

      Like 0
    • maggy

      yup tuff engines for sure . the tall deck was designed for taller pistons and an extra piston ring to control oil consumption for extended idling.I knew a goof that had a 366 in a 69-70 nova that was a wreck and he used to race it at Great lakes.he’d pull mid 13s with a th400 and a 3;73 gear .The foundry company next door to our repair shop long ago gave us a 68 i think c60 with a 366 that said Invader on the valve cover. Had a weird looking dual thermostat housing.

      Like 2
  7. Steve

    Maybe some pics?

    Like 0
  8. Mark

    CL as says no longer available as of
    3-18-23 ad has more pictures that indicate it’s been sitting but the floor seems to be there!

    Like 1
  9. gary

    Truck 396 engine was rated at 310 hp not 325.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      Wrong, click on the attached, it was 325. It was 310 in ’69

      JO

      Like 1
      • Karl

        Hey guys who know more about this engine than I do could you tell me since this is technically in a truck would this be a tall deck engine?

        Like 0
      • Jim ODonnellAuthor

        It shouldn’t be, it should be a standard passenger version RPO L35. The engine alpha prefix is the only way to know for certain, however. Anytime that you discover a 55-year-old vehicle, there’s never a guarantee that what powers it is original to it.

        As others have stated, the tall deck version of the big block was a 366 CI V8 and it was used in heavier-duty trucks like a C-60 or C-70. There was also a truck version of the 427 as well but I’m not that knowledgeable about its internals and how it may differ from the passenger car version.

        JO

        Like 0
  10. Robert Levins

    Do you want a truck or just a 396ci Chevy engine? Well if I was needing a truck, my choices are endless. But if I’m going to spend “X” amount of money for a new or newer truck I would consider this pickup for a really good complete restoration. Not Concourse Show quality. I would probably spend less ( calculated guess ) than a new or newer one. So, the question for me would be – “ Do I want a new/newer truck or a new 1968 Chevy pickup truck with a 396ci?”. I think I’d rather have a new classic truck. Great article!

    Like 2
  11. Lloyd McNurlan

    Just guessing that it didn’t come with a big block because of no ac compressor or brackets.

    Like 0
  12. Ozzworx

    The granny tranny is my favorite.

    Like 0
  13. Anthony Morgan

    This is called very bad gambling,if you don’t go look at for sure. Where is this truck located? I’m interested in it.

    Like 1
    • Dave

      Hermitage Tennesee

      Like 1
  14. Randy jones

    It’s the same 396 that was in a 68 bel air station wagon in 1968..396. 325.quadrajet.carb.and the 300 hydraulic cam motor..it had some power but also got 8mpg on a gallon of gas..good pulling.motor for boats and small campers then…before the 2022 85k Silverado pickup trucks.

    Like 2
  15. Mark Gardner

    In condition it’s in $500 is the most I’d pay. Not worth anything close to $4500

    Like 1
  16. Slideways

    No Longer Available, but has a bunch of other parts

    Like 1

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