Rough But Rare: 1971 Chevrolet K10 Stepside 4×4

I know this one is rough.  Not as rough as some of the junkyard rejects that I occasionally wax poetically about, but this one has what even Helen Keller could see as patina.  However, there is a lot of good news on this one.  First, it hasn’t been hosed down with cheap glossy clear coat by some Gas Monkey wannabe as of this writing.  Not yet, anyway.  Second, it still runs and drives.  Third, it is a factory original four wheel drive.  Fourth and finally, this is not just any step side bed.  It is the hard to find long bed step side.  This 1971 Chevrolet K/10 step side 4×4 is currently for sale on Craigslist in College Grove, Tennessee, and can be yours for just $6,000 or best offer.

As many of you are aware, sellers often play games with rarity claims.  One such stunt is claiming a car is “one of five” in the ad, but finding out with a little research that the vehicle is one of five cars painted majestic fuschia cream or something similar out of 87,000 built in total.  While some of this is nice to know, my standard for rarity is the number in a particular body style, desirable option, or package of options (especially for racing).  This truck is one of just 364 long bed step side trucks built with four wheel drive that year.  That goes a long way in explaining why you haven’t seen many of these tooling around.  Even if you include the long bed step sides in two wheel drive, you can only add another 7,269 to that number.  Considering that Chevrolet made 293,409 pickups that year, this is a pretty rare truck.

Looking at the Service Parts Identification Sheet, you can see that this truck also was equipped with some desirable options.  Powertrain wise, it packs a 350 cubic inch small block V-8, a four speed transmission, and a 3.73 ratio rear end.  The suspension boasted front and rear shock absorbers (I thought that would be standard, but maybe they mean heavy duty shocks.), and heavy duty front springs.  Other options include a heavy duty radiator, a full foam seat, tinted glass, a front tow hook, additional instrumentation, and green vinyl trim.

Inside, things don’t look too bad.  My guess is that it came from the factory with a green vinyl seat, but that has been replaced by this black cover.  The camo duct tape in the lower front and on the seat back likely cover up cuts or rips.  The floor mat could use a replacement, as will the dash pad.  The steering wheel’s center portion looks to be damaged, and the dash needs to be repainted.  Oh, and you are going to need to re-attach the gas pedal and the rubber for the brake pedal.  On the good side, the door panel we see on the passenger side looks good enough to use again.

Outside, as you can see from the pictures above, this truck is going to need a lot of work to bring it back to showroom new.  The hood is the biggest problem, but the various areas of rust and dents are all fighting for second place.  The color looks to be medium green, and the choice compliments the lines of the truck well.  However, the general appearance is far more on the work side than the play side.  The inclusion of four wheel drive wasn’t as seamless as it is today, and trucks so equipped from that era look a bit gangly.  One plus is that this particular model year Chevrolet truck is sought after, mainly because of the egg crate grill that collectors love.  One other question I have is whether or not the Custom/10 badges on the front fenders are correct, given that it is a K series.  Can any of you enlighten me on this?

The seller tells us that it was brought in from “dry” southwest Kansas, and that there are a few issues.  The original 350 has been replaced by a rather weak 305, and the truck has the usual dents, scratches, rust, and even some bullet holes!  However, it does come with a new carburetor, and the four speed manual transmission and the four wheel drive work without issues.

The real issue here is the price.  For a truck needing a full restoration, $6000 is a lot of money.  Remember when your daddy told you that you would have to pay if you want to play?  Well, this is one of those times.  Restored, this truck would be stunning, and its not like parts for C/10 and K/10 trucks of this era are hard to come by.  What is hard to come by is a truck ordered like this.  Of the 364 built, how many do you think are still on the road today?


Fast Finds


  1. Ray Smith

    If this was a shorty it would break the bank. Yes, long bed step side is rare but I bet not very appealing to the masses.

    • Mountainwoodie

      As one of the (unwashed) masses I wouldnt be interested this if it was a shorty. As a long bed I would be all in.If it had the original bloc, even in the condition its in, it would be worth it to me to pay more than otherwise. Luckily for me I I have a C-10 and I live far far away.

  2. John H from CT

    It really doesn’t matter how many were made. Vintage long beds simply aren’t as popular as short beds when your main use is as a recreation vehicle versus a work truck. So, IMO the price is high.

  3. DrinkinGasoline

    If anyone with interest and half a brain in a vehicle prior to purchase, the homework should already be done. There is tons of info abound if one is truly dedicated. Now, on to the clear coat craze crap. Take the effort to apply a clear coat to something that has to be removed ? It’s pretty arrogant to assume that everyone will appreciate “rat rod, patina, etc” . I’m so tired of tag lines listing Patina and Rat Rod !
    Preservation does not include clear coat !

  4. Dave Wright

    Looks like an Ex Forest Service truck…..not a bad thing but wouldn’t bring that kind of money in my country.

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    I find it a little odd, seeing such low production numbers. By 1971, in the western prairies/chinook belt, I’d have to say that at least 2 out of every 10 pickups were 4×4. Not bad, considering that 10 years before that you would be lucky to see 4 four-wheel-drives in the region. I remember Dad with a ’56 Binder 3/4 ton, my friend’s dad with a ’60 Ford, and a local farmer with a ’61 Chevy. The local fire department had an old Jeep. I got out of high school in ’71 and 4×4 was there to stay. The local Binder dealer must have sold 100 Scouts alone between during the ’60s. From ’67 on, the local Chevy dealer stocked at least (1) 4×4 at any given time. Head into Eastern Montana and the ranching country around there and the numbers were higher. Anyways, this truck has all one would need for a good work truck and something that can also become a project. Use it and fix it. Good potential for a fun project.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, like I’ve said many times, we almost never saw 4 wheel drive trucks like this.4 wheel drive was reserved for municipal or rough service, such as the forestry dept ( which would bolster the green color and rear bumper) and the most important part of this being rare, is most were driven until they broke in half, so to see one at all, is pretty rare. Be advised to anybody thinking about this, it ain’t your new Silverado. These were no fun to drive. Might want to wear your kids bike helmet.

      • Ray Smith

        LMAO Howard. Have the lumps on my head to substantiate what you are saying. I’m sure that’s part of why I don’t have a neck now.

  6. LAB3

    Up here in Michigan sucker fishing is usually popular in spring time when they spawn.

  7. JimmyJ

    67-72 best looking chev,GMC trucks ever!

  8. JW

    Not a bad truck at all and seeing how I live just across the border from LMC truck parts it would be easy to get it looking good but it would have to have that 350 v8 back under the hood for that price, the 4 wheel drive is a real plus. I would offer $3500 tops.

    • Scot Douglas

      I’m with you, JW. My interest withered when I saw 305. :|

  9. Puhnto

    Can anyone explain why the spare is mounted on the right side, but the indented fender for a spare is on the left?

    • KEN TILLY Member

      Looks like it was designed to carry two spare wheels.

  10. erikj

    Puhnto, That’s a good call. What happened there?

  11. Bmwtopgun1

    Hey i lived out there in Tennessee for Twenty four Years. And have seen this truck drive by a few times. But now I’m back in
    Colorado. And this truck would sure work well in the mountains and snow. I will be out there next week for a visit. And might find time to check this rare truck out. And JW your right on the price of $ 3,000 to $ 3,500 tops.

  12. John

    Custom/10 means that this was a stripper work truck. Not sure if the rubber floor mats are available but I would probably put a tab on file with LMC truck if I bought this. Plus it would go back to the original color whatever that was.

    • Dave Wright

      I think by all evidence, this is the original color. The were painted this color from new for the government.

    • Tyler

      Yes, the rubber floor covering is available, but the one from Classic Parts in Missouri is far better quality than the one LMC sells.

  13. Steve

    An old saying comes to mind. “Rare does not always equal desirable. It is rare that I crap my pants. It is never desirable.” I have bought, parted and restored a few 67-72 trucks over the years. I almost always stick to the short bed trucks, unless I get a screaming deal, or there is something that makes it especially desirable, (like my current project, a 1970 Longhorn (8.5 ft bed), 400/400, CA truck with NO rust in cab, and only the passenger fender cup rusted slightly that I bought for $1200 five years ago.

    A few years ago I bought a truckload of parts from a truck this same color, (it was a 1968) and a lwb stepside, but a 2wd. The kid who tore it apart to “restore” got in over his head. He did all the hard work for me by tearing it apart. I bought the disassembled front clip, doors, and still assembled bed (no spare tire cut out) for $250. The cab was just too RUSTY, IMO.

    The only other long beds I have purchased were parts trucks, or rare, like the 71 GMC Sierra Grande K2500 a few years back. How many of those have you seen?

    in regard to the “C10” emblems… All of these trucks had a “Cxx” emblem, regardless of 2wd or 4wd. A “FOUR WHEEL DRIVE” emblem was usually added to the fender in front of the front wheel opening.

  14. Tyler

    I live about 25-30 minutes away from where the truck is, & I have seen it once or twice while going to Hot Rods & Threads, a restoration shop there in College Grove. The truck is not that bad, & in all actuallity, is a decent buy at 6k. A full restoration would put the truck at about $18k, unless you could paint it yourself. Around here, a fully restored long bed K10 or K20 3/4 ton will bring 20-25k any day of the week. If it was a short bed, in this condidtion, it would go for twice this or more, & the sky is the limit of a restored truck. I recently sold a 68 K10 short bed frame for $2,000. Last year, a 72 Cheyenne short bed K10 went for $72k at Barrett-Jackson.

    Unfortunately pic attachment isn’t working or I would post a pic of the 67 K10 short step side we got back from the paint shop a just couple weeks ago.

  15. Kjones

    4 years ago I went to Johnson city t.n. and bought a 1967 k20 cab and chassis. Which is harder to find than this truck.
    All original equipment except the seat had been recovered. 52k miles on it, 1 owner truck ran and drove but needed brake work for $1500

    • Sean Stevens

      That was four years ago. A lot has changed in those four years including the value of this generation GM pickup. Theres a K20 longbed stepside on craigslist in Redding right now for $2500.

  16. chad

    LWB = 2wd
    Short = 4WD
    the 305 is a goodun
    ($2, 3K tops?)

    • John K

      If available, I would be interested in the left rear (cut out) fender and spare tire rack for my ’71 K1500.

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