Oh, So Pretty: 1974 Chevrolet Step Side Pickup

Step side trucks are the most sought after body styles for vintage trucks, with short beds taking second place, and long beds a distant third.  In addition to being visually pleasing, they are usually easier to drive due to the driver’s ability to see more of what is behind them.  Often a favorite of hot rodders, these neat little pickups are usually scooped up the minute they hit the market.  This truck, a 1974 Chevrolet Custom/10, is one of the nicest examples I have ever seen.  Found on Craigslist in Chattanooga, Tennessee, this near mint step side is currently for sale for just $5500, and the seller boasts that it has just 44,000 original miles on the odometer!

The first thing I thought when I spotted this truck was that it was a restoration.  The paint is really nice, the interior is spotless, and I can’t find any rust on it.  The seller gives us no clues as to what has been replaced and what is original.  I am assuming that items such as the wood in the bed, the seat coverings, and little things here and there have been replaced, but I just can’t be sure.

If you look at it carefully, the paint still has a lot of shine to it, the bed sides look perfect, and there aren’t even any nicks on the fender where items might have been drug over the bedside.  The tailgate looks perfect, and the tailgate chains have covers over them to prevent scratches.  There are a few marks on the bumper, and someone installed an aftermarket light that would have to go.  Even the hitch balls look perfect.  The bumper could have been touched up with a rattle can, but why not go after the marks on the right side?

Inside the cargo box, the bed walls look pristine.  The wood looks to be pine, and it appears to have been freshly varnished.  Even the metal railings that hold the wood in are free from scratches and dents.

When you open the door, it looks like a brand new truck inside.  The carpet is in mint condition, and the seat looks absolutely pristine.  Too pristine for everything to be original it seems.  The dash is in excellent condition, as is the steering wheel.  It is missing a clutch pedal pad, and a lack of a floor shifter indicates that this one is a “three on the tree” manual transmission model.  Maybe nobody knew how to drive it?  The only blemish I see is that the plastic trim around the seat belt holder is in poor shape and may be covered with grease from past mechanic ownership.

Under the hood is probably the reason why this truck is not going for more money.  It packs a reliable “stovebolt six” inline six cylinder engine.  This engine and transmission combination was likely the base powertrain for this model truck in 1974, and you don’t see either the engine or transmission on trucks at car shows and cruise ins anymore.  People quickly and easily transplant small block and big block Chevrolet engines into them, and transmission switches are nearly as easy.  Looking further inside, this truck lacks air conditioning and power brakes, and it may even be a model without power steering.  In my addled mind, this is not a big problem if the truck is kept as it is.  If the new buyer wants to drop a 454 big block V-8 engine in it, then we might want to start talking about adding some of these accessories to it.

If it were me, I’d leave it just as it is.  I’d be proud to own it.  The truck looks nice, even in this shade of green, all the expensive trim parts are there and in good condition, and the engine and transmission combination is good enough to move this truck down the road at a reasonable speed.  I’d even leave the “three on the tree” transmission alone, but I know how to drive one.  My guess is that this one will sell quick, but will have a crate engine and an automatic transmission in it before the end of October.

So, what do you readers think?  Is this truck restored, partially restored, or well preserved?  Furthermore, is the price right on this one?  What would you do with it?


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  1. doug

    WAAAAY too cheap.

  2. Mark Hoffman

    Beautiful. I had a 77 stepside longbed this color. Green interior, auto, 350 no air. Best truck I ever owned

  3. jdjonesdr

    The urge to buy this is almost overwhelming. I want it so bad I can taste it.

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’d like to have this one at my place. Of course it would quite likely be put to work so that nice looking bed floor might get a few battle scars. Original wood would’ve been body color–sort of. I’m trying to think now; it seems that you could get the wood floor in basic black regardless of what color the truck was. It’s been a long time since I worked for GM. The 250/3spd. manual with be just fine. I’d actually prefer to have a 4 spd. because I sometimes get into situations where I need the granny gear. Nice truck overall.

  5. Nrg8

    Looks like lipstick on a pig.
    – front bumper is twisted
    – front of hood is full of putty, you can see the rusty cracks when it’s open, some blisters on firewall
    – fuel door on driver side wheel tub is from newer model, no tank that side
    – door manufacturer decals missing, threshold is from 82 and up, LMC door panels, dash, and seat cover
    – interior painted over coat hooks, door bumpers
    – pisspoor masking job around back window
    – motor seems to have newer pollution controls that are not hooked up

    Needs some undercarriage pics. But provided its a good runner, worth at least 4k all day long.

    • Rod444

      You have a good eye, but most of those things are inconsequential on a $5500 driver. Somebody did a lot of work to make her pretty and as long as it’s not salvaged, the price is damn good for a “pig”.

      • Nrg8

        Yep minor stuff, but not a 44k truck, motor is newer vintage, repop header panel, fenders, front wheel tubs and doors. Seller added more pics, cab corners and rockers are bleeding rust but should be good for a bit. Awesome driver even with salvage. Price is right. Just don’t think Barrett Jackson down the road

    • ulm210

      Remind me to never try to sell you a car… I think I would end up paying you!

    • Aremee

      Your comments are very entertaining! If I were buying a Concours level Bugatti or Delahaye I would take your comments under advisement. For a truck that costs less than a good high performance bicycle I probably wouldn’t. This truck looks like a nice weekend driver, Home Depot/dump runner at an affordable price. It’s not a pebble beach unit. When I’m done with it I get my $5500 back from it. Nice original looking low priced truck – I bet every time you stop and park it you hear a different story of how my dad had one growing up or I had this truck in HS, etc. Unless my trained and experienced eye is missing something like a rotted frame, blown engine or trannie this is a nice little truck for the money.

  6. Rod444

    She’s pretty nice. It would be tough to keep her as is though. Nice rims and a 350/4 spd auto would make a massive difference in the fun factor. Store the 6 cyl and tranny for a reverse transplant should the day come when these skyrocket into the ‘Arizona auction’ category.

  7. joeinthousandoaks

    Oh, it’s a six.

  8. PaulbZ3

    Shouldn’t the slats that hold the wood in the bed be not painted but some type of chrome or aluminum?

    • Tyler

      Slats & wood were originally body color.

  9. Roger

    Reminds me a lot of the ’78 Scottsdale short Fleetside bed truck I bought 35 years ago,it came with the factory white spoke rims and bed rails,it was also a 250 straight six and three on the tree but it didn’t have power steering and was even a radio delete truck,back then the ps pump and mounting bracket was a little hard to find as they were differences between the truck and car mounts,finally ended up using a car pump with a different pulley to make it work but that was a good truck,drove it four years and put 60,000 miles on it before trading it off.

  10. Steve

    I would call her “Crystal Chandelier”, she is such a stripper.

  11. angliagt

    A guy I worked with bought one of these new,in 1973.Stepside,
    Root Beer color,with Appliance Wire Mags,& a canopy with matching
    tinted windows.To me,one of the the coolest trucks I’ve ever seen/driven.
    A Friend bought a new one in ’76 (or was it ’77?).White,with
    mags,stepside.Another cool truck.
    If I remember – it was the fastest American vehicle that year.
    These are one of the nicest styled trucks ever – & I’m a Ford guy.

    Like 1
  12. Pappy

    Love the truck even though it has a lot of “makeup” over her blemishes… step sides are still not the most desirable trucks… short/wide beds still hold that title even though these have their acolytes. To each his own.

  13. Chuck Simons

    Leave it alone!!!!!!

  14. gary englert

    i had a 1978 gmc 2500 sierra and it was the best truck i have ever owned . we put on over 350,000 miles on it , original motor 350 4 barrell 4-speed until the garage would not inspect it no more cause of the rusted out body parts

  15. Kevin W

    You could spend all day polishing a turd. But when you’re done, it’s still a turd. Most of these you see around, we’re turned into low riders. But then, that’s about all they’re good for.

  16. Mike

    Nice truck. Can’t believe paint is orig but a eats could be. Ive got a ‘77 gmc SWB 4×4 High Sierra with a 350/350 3 speed and a low gear. My bench seat has no middle seam like this but the fabric looks the same. It needs a 350 and a 4 spd Muncie as the 6 will drive like a slow tank (as opposed to just a tank). This said, even with a weak powerplant, For the straightness, and the trim, this is no brainer buy. It’s be hard to lose money on this.

  17. Michael Dawson

    I would venture to say that the “grime” around the seat belt holder is probably just a deteriorated plastic surface. Most 1970s-1980s cars used a multiplicity of different materials for soft trim pieces, which can be evidenced by massive color shifts and varying rates of deterioration as the years pass. Take a look at less-than-totally-restored vehicles of any make from the 70s at your next car show for evidence of this.

  18. Tyler

    As mentioned above, there is very little original about this truck. And I could be wrong, but there seems to be some bubbling on the firewall. The bed is from a 81-87, the rear bumper is from a fleetside, so it makes me wonder if it was not originally a fleetside that got a bed swap.

    Still, a little high in price for what it is, even if it’s a good driver. Flip the rear axle, put a set of drop spindles up front, & add a set of old school Cragar SS wheels. Slide a 5.3 & 4l60 in place, add Vintage Air & then you will have a great cruiser.

    I picked up this 86 Silverado survivor a few months back as an auction, for less than half the asking price of the green truck. It’s a V8, auto, all power & cold AC.

  19. 1st Gear

    You know the old saying”if it’s too good to be true”,etc., etc.,etc. Way too clean to be true,but who em I to talk smack…Had a ’73 4X4(beater)ran forever and didn’t complain at all. This 6cyl 3sp was a special order more than likely and SCREAMS big block/turbo400 swap.Love it-too bad it’s too far from the West coast. I’d jump on it in a minute.

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