Heavy Hauler: 1956 Chevrolet 6400

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Heavy-duty trucks like this 1956 Chevrolet 6400 have been used on farms for generations. As long as you aren’t in a hurry, they will haul just about anything you can stack on the enormous flatbed. Until recently, these trucks weren’t really thought of as potential hot rods or customs. However, with the technological advances in custom wheel manufacturing, dually wheel options have become much more plentiful. If you are in the market for a hot rod hauler or out-of-the-box custom truck, this one might be for you. It can be found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $7,000. Located south of San Francisco in Pacifica, California, the seller says this truck has always been stored in a barn and hasn’t been driven in about fifteen years. Check out this classic and thanks to Pat L. for the tip on this one.

The ad says the truck is “all original down every nut and bolt” which certainly seems plausible based on the photos. You can see the interior looks very original and with just a bit of surface rust. The seat needs to be reupholstered, but other than that, a good cleaning and it should be ready to drive.

As mentioned before, these trucks won’t win any races. They were built to haul at a slow or moderate speed. If this was my project, I’d ditch the straight-six and probably do a Duramax or Cummins swap. There’s nothing cooler in my opinion than a classic truck with a modern diesel setup. How about you?

One consideration with a truck like this is what to do with the bed/chassis. If the new owner is going to make a custom truck, perhaps a chassis swap is in order. If you want to make a hot rod hauler for another show car, you could utilize the factory chassis and top it with a modern diamond-plate roll-back. What would you do?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    What would I do? Tell them to lower their sights some. I guess people in California don’t mind paying $8 bucks for a dozen eggs. I had a truck very similar to this, only a bit newer, a ’66. To say it was a chore to drive. would be an understatement. It was designed to follow a combine( with sides and extensions) at 3 mph, and SLOWLY deliver said material to the farm 1.8 miles away. THAT’S IT! Now, I may the most vocal on the subject, but does anyone here really think this heap is worth $7 GRAND? I mean, where did that number come from, and since it’s already ridiculous, why not $8 grand? Or better yet, $TEN GRAND,,,,sorry, sorry, my issue, it’s a nice find, I’d have to think there’s about 9000 more in barns waiting to be found( see what I did there?) and I couldn’t imagine paying more than a couple hundred bucks. What motivates these people to ask unreasonable prices( to me) , where ever they are?
    Your turn,,,

    Like 18
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Well, my friend, it could be that there are too many people watching the Barrett-Jackson auctions and suddenly think their old beast is worth more than the Hope Diamond. But I’m inclined to agree with you on the prices of some of these trucks. But–if that’s the price that someone’s willing to pay then by all means go for the gusto. Myself, I can’t afford a downpayment on a free meal so the price could be $50K for all that matter.

      OK, grousing aside, I drove lots of these back in the day. These weren’t all that bad. With a 261 engine and a 5-speed/2-speed, you could give 300 bushels of grain a reasonably fast ride to town. Well, maybe 50 mph. I drove the older versions with 216/235 and you could be five miles down the road before you got it in high. Of course that one gust of wind forced you to drop the 2-speed vacuum shift down to low. That was a procedure where you pushed the button in, clutched, blipped the throttle, then let out the clutch. If you held your breath just right, it would be in low range. A continued slowing motion, accompanied by a metallic buzzing sound from the rear axle told you that you were about to start all over again–in Granny-Granny. I drove Internationals and Fords too. And they weren’t any better.

      Now, this one. Nice shape for sure. A good washing and detailing and it might get its second wind. Reupholster the seat would be a must but it looks like the interior could really benefit from the “Summer’s Eve Treatment.” No telling what the engine is like until you attempt to start it. Loud-knocking sound says that something wants out, and you’d better shut it down before it makes its own door.

      We rode a completely worn out ’58 GMC school bus. That 270 was probably dusted out to 285 before a rod came out the side and broke the starter off. Amazing that the sparks didn’t start a fire. I’ll never forget that forked stick that fit perfectly between the dashboard and the shift lever, to keep if from popping out of high, even after that “new” (to the bus) engine was installed…

      Like 16
      • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

        Correcting you, is always risky, but with a load, 50 mph was unheard of, sorry. 50 EMPTY,, maybe, even then Pa would ream you out for driving too fast( accompanied by a slap across the head) The vacuum rear axle was poor, depending solely on engine vacuum, and around this time, electric 2 speeds were coming in, which were much more positive. “Split shifting”, what you described didn’t gain much here, by the time you split the gear, road speed dropped off so fast, it did nothing, and the 2 speed rear was really just an O/D of sorts,, and seldom used and I never used the clutch in any truck. Also, I know you use the words “granny gear” as a laypersons term, but it’s really a “compound low”,,and here come the tomatoes,,,

        Like 7
      • geomechs geomechsMember

        Not to worry about correcting me, Howard; there’s a lot of times I need to get my backside handed back to me. However, we did manage 50 mph on those gravel (read: rock) roads back in the day. Of course, I might as well admit that coming to town from the Milk River Ridge region was downhill all the way. I might add that the neighbor’s ’39 International DS-30 was pretty lucky to hit 40 on that road.

        The L-160 was a 5-speed with 2-spd electric while the A-160 was a 4-speed with 2-spd vacuum. (2) completely different shifting procedures. They were both 240s although the A-series was a BD with the ‘Tilt valve head.’ Didn’t matter; neither one of them had any power. But you could still hit 50 (aforementioned conditions) with a load. The electric shift could be shifted either way (clutch or not) but I don’t think you could shift that vacuum one unless you used the clutch.

        Like 1
      • Yblocker

        Ah, the ole codgers, who think these old trucks were such a task to drive, I drove my dad’s 52 International ton and a half, with a ferris wheel bale loader hooked to the side, when I was 9 years old, while my dad and older brother stacked. Since old untouched pickups are dwindling, I’ve seen a lot of old farm trucks getting drug outta the weeds, and out from behind the barn. Unfortunately, they’re not immuned from the high price insanity.

        Like 2
    • Dave

      Wellll, Cedar Creek Customs in Frankfort, Kentucky, was tapped to build the BFG giveaway Chevy. Trucks had come to the forefront, easy and sleazy. To metal wizard Kent it was a clean sheet ready to be violated and he did, right down to the swoopy clamshell side-door treatment. This stuff was child’s play for someone who routinely built beautiful vehicles from scratch, and Kent liked to work straight through, if you know what I mean. Sleep apparently wasn’t an issue so a visit to CCC usually promised a chaotic episode.

      This isn’t really about the truck at all; it’s about driving it back to Paducah without a seat to sit in. In fact, there wasn’t anything else inside the thing, nary a safety belt. Luckily, the steering wheel was still bolted to the column. I scrounged a piece of plastic—a milk crate—I think it was. Standing it on end, the crate put me approximately at the usual driving position, which was fine, but there was nothing to anchor it to the slippery, naked metal. So I’d be tiptoeing all the way home.

      I couldn’t even risk legal speed so the highway was out. I’d be fretting back at minimum velocity. I soon discovered that the facilitators would be a death grip on the steering wheel on one end and clenched butt cheeks on the other. For a fleeting moment, I could see the lawsuits.

      The last quarter-mile is about a 30-degree incline with a traffic light at the terminus. I’d seen clutches get smoked. I’d seen a cement truck split its gearbox, coating the grade in stuff so slippery the cops had to shut it down.

      After all that, the truck became the main focus. I’d had an unusual yellow long sleeve shirt. Dianna liked it so much she said I should wear it for the show. I did.

      Go ahead, get mad…

      Like 6
    • Angus Mustang

      What motivates people to ask stupid prices, is there are stupid people who will pay those prices, ruins the hobby.
      If it were a reasonable price 800- 1k , new drive train and make it a car hauler

      Like 3
      • David A Sanford

        I’d keep the drive train as long as it runs or is reasonably repairable. If he wanted to get top dollar, take better pictures, maybe invest in a bucket of soapy water to shine things up, some clean gas and tune up parts. These sellers that take things so casually, can’t be bothered to move vehicles away from the surrounding trash, clean em up, start them up then ask top dollar, I dont know. With the limited pictures, sketchy description and surrounding dirt, it’s a pig in a poke, wouldn’t give more than a grand or so. But for a well-described, good clean running truck with a solid cab, solid drive train and working brakes, basically an inspectable truck, I’d be in for 5 or 6 grand. I hope this truck finds a good home, with someone who appreciates what it is and was.

        Like 2
    • belinda

      Perhaps look at it like this? It just an old flat bed truck. Few $$$ to get it running again, and get it back to work. On a ranch/farm does it matter how old it is, 36, 46—86 or 96, as long as it can do the job. From the location, I would think that this is how this truck spent the past 60+ years, driving across the fields, maybe a trip to town once in awhile. The coast-side starting about 15 miles south of S.F. down to Santa Cruz is mostly rural.

      FYI, I did a quick look of Craig’s list S.F. area, and the price is about right. There is 2 other “comps” I found. A 76 Ford F600 $5,900 and a 96 Ford $9,950. (The other 2 listed are 3/4 units)

      Like 1
      • Jesse Jesse MortensenStaff

        You should only compare to actual sales. Most people’s asking prices are not realistic.

        Like 2
  2. Troy

    At $7k they can keep it, but it’s California so fool will buy it.

    Like 6
  3. David A Sanford

    Nice rig. Love that 261.You don’t find too many trucks that size and vintage around any more. Everybody is into coupes and convertibles and half ton short box pickups, and resto-mods are a dime a dozen, but this good old medium duty truck in stock form, spiffed up, would be quite the draw at an old car show.

    Like 11
  4. Evan

    Every vehicle posted, every day of the week, is bashed by the commentatiat as priced too high. And most of ’em get sold despite this.

    The value of any object is precisely what a single buyer is willing to pay.

    Like 18
    • Maggy

      I wouldn’t say every vehicle just ones that folks think are priced too high.I see a lot of commentators exclaiming how a particular vehicle is really priced very fairly.

      Like 5
    • Dave

      I hear ya! I gave up pointing that out to the commenters living in the past.

      Like 1
    • HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

      1st, we don’t know if the vehicle is actually sold, and 2nd, we SURE don’t know what the final price was. In many cases, it’s a starting point, and might sell for 1/10th of what they originally wanted. The problem with the prices, it conveys a false message as to what these are really worth, and suddenly, every kid liquidating dads farm thinks they have a gold mine on their hands. Perhaps that’s true in Cal. but for a dirt eatin’ farmboy from the midwest, where these are long overgrown with weeds, it’s nothing special. It’s not so much “living in the past”, more the disgust of where we are today,,you know, I guess that IS living in the past, when a truck like this was $500 bucks,TOPS and never sold, because most folks had one just like it, or knew of one. Even with that phoney baloney”adjusted for inflation” crap( that seemingly adds a 0 to the end) I still wouldn’t go more than a grand.

      Like 5
  5. Maggy

    I watch guy on you tube Adventures made from scratch who owns a couple scrap yards in Kasas with his dad and they pick these things up cheap all day long like under 1k to around 1500 cheap depending on cab condition.He usually sells the cabs when solid and when the cab corners are rotted people buy the nose cut off for wall art. Sometimes he sells the engines the rest goes to the shredder.Interesting write up as I always wondered what people are doing with just the cabs. But advances in technology makes sense as an answer.Some of the ones he cuts up make me cringe they are so nice.But like he says you can’t keep em all and he has a business to run.This one is way overpriced.Neat truck though.

    Like 8
  6. GOM

    Notwithstanding price considerations, my preference would be to preserve this truck as a survivor from the time when moderately-sized family farms were the backbone of the rural economy. In my young years, not only were trucks like these used as farm trucks, but for most other local trucking purposes as well. There were no interstate highways or “main roads” in our area back then, and no one locally used tractor-trailer rigs for a variety of reasons. Something like this deserves preservation. I’ve driven a number of similar rigs through the years, and for anything up to 50 to 55 miles an hour, they started, drove, and stopped perfectly satisfactorily. Hot-rodding something like this would be unfortunate.

    Like 12
    • David A Sanford

      I completely agree 110 percent. Resto-modding is fine when the car or truck’s original drive train is completely shot but when you have a basically intact survivor it’s a shame to take something unusual and make it almost generic.

      Like 8
  7. Randy b.

    Looks like it’s been parked much longer than 15 years.

    Like 0
  8. Tony S.

    This old truck is a nice survivor, unmolested and kept inside the barn. All trucks of that era were not speed wagons, but rather work trucks that put food on the table. As for the price, I’ll leave P.T. Barum out of this. 😎✌️

    Like 6
  9. butchb

    I recently bought back my 1966 Chevy C60 with 60,000 mi and a dump bed and drove it back from the CA border to Phoenix, about 240 miles. With the dual range re diff in high about 57 mph was all she wanted. The former owner had new tires/tubes & flaps installed along with new steel brakes lines, a water pump, radiator and hoses and a vacuum booster in 2019. So expect to do the same with the above truck. The 57 yo old starter died after we made it back and I found a leaking freeze plug. Next she’s headed up to the Arizona high country to haul water and firewood on a ranch.

    Like 11
  10. John EderMember

    Like they say about a lot of things: “they’re not making any new ones.” For someone with the required resources, who doesn’t want to drive around endlessly looking for the “thousands” of these supposedly hiding in barns, this is a no-brainer. Send payment by PayPal and call the transporter. Easy. I’ve done this numerous times, and it always worked well- even the Unimog from Holland.

    Like 5
  11. Rick R

    I don’t believe the amount of money these old barn finds are bringing, but it’s also hard for me to fathom that one ton duly 4dr 4×4 diesel pickups are $100k plus

    Like 3
  12. RDRNR

    If I just had the $$, time and a shop to do it lol. I’d put it all on a late model duramax drivetrain. Love these old Chevy trucks

    Like 2
    • Yblocker

      Oh please, if it isn’t LS, it’s Duramax. Oh please

      Like 3
  13. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    Back in 1984 I bought a 1959 Ford 1 ton dually flat bed truck set up for hauling horses. It had a 390 v8 and 4 speed transmission. I loaded up my belongings and drove from Provo, Utah to Everett, Washington with my girl friend and her two kids. After spending about 2 years in and around The greater Seattle area we loaded up and added a 5′ x 8′ covered trailer and hit the road again; destination Miami, Florida. We drove down through Oregon and California which was a great experience coming down the steep Mountains into California with just hydraulic brakes on the truck and none on the trailer. Somewhere along the way a rod decided to exit through the side of the engine block so we replaced it with a used engine on the side of the road, then another time the radiator gave up overheating the engine, new heads and radiator were installed at a State Park in California. We left Washington in May 1985 and arrived in Miami, Florida in August 1985 as we camped and worked along the trip. Eventually trading the truck for a late model Ford station wagon. We got jobs and stayed there for the duration of our relationship which ended in 1986. No regrets as it was a memorable experience.

    God Bless America

    Like 13
    • Let freedom ring

      “Me and You and a dog named Boo, traveling and a livin off the land” My mind conjured up some of the same images from your post as that song used to give me. You’re blessed to have been able to live that way. I know I always wanted to.

      Like 3
      • Jon

        Then came Bronson.😁👍

        Like 0
    • Yblocker

      Wow, quite a venture, apparently you brought along an array of extra parts, and even a cherry picker, I mean dang, replacd a motor on the shoulder?

      Like 3
  14. RodMember

    I am from California, just north of San Francisco and know Pacifica very well. Is this in Sharp Park or down in the valley? Anyway, you are right about his asking price. California car owners think they have gold in their hands, when in reality what they really have is water! I think this might be worth $700.00!

    Like 1
  15. PETER HOWE

    I gotta agree with Evan.

    A twenty-dollar bill ain’t worth a nickel if you don’t have a buyer for it.

    Like 1
  16. Gil Davis Tercenio

    My daddy had a ’62 Chevy C50 with a 14″ flat bed stake body. It got 9 MPG, empty or loaded. It would run 60-65 MPH all day long.

    Like 0
    • jwaltb

      With a 14” flat bed I’m not surprised. Sounds like an early Explorer Sport-Trac or whatever they were called.

      Like 1
      • Yblocker

        You’re excused, you can go away now

        Like 1
  17. Rick R

    These old trucks were the backbone of the farm and ranches back in the day. Most of the old farm truck’s where I grew up in the fifties and sixties had at least 16ft beds. They would have two hydraulic hoists (end dump for grain and sidedump for silage) The beds would have hinged sideboards for silage and a sliding door in the tailgate for grain. Some of these old trucks are still in service today. Many of these old trucks have never had the odometer turn over yet!

    Like 1
  18. R.Lee

    Guilty of replacing an engine in a IGA parking lot off highway 66. We did it engine block, chain, concrete blocks and 4X4 post.Then placed heads intake and everything else. So yes it is possible, when you have no other choices decisions have to be made.

    Moving from San Diego California to Ozarks dragging a trailer with an 8 second 800 hp front engine digger. Green 1966 Chevrolet C60 Viking 327 with Allison manual valve body automatic with a foot retarder. And did that come in handy in the hills. The Chevrolet had a foot operated line lock for the parking, ebrake and hand operated driveshaft brake. 2 Speed banger rear that was great on long stretches. That truck was every letter of Chevrolet. I do not recall everything but somethings do.

    Like 2

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