Truck-Truck: 1981 Chevrolet C-10 Stepside


This one is just a regular ol’ truck-truck, not a show-truck. Although, being a stepside it gives it a bit of flair (no pun intended). This 1981 Chevrolet C-10 Stepside is listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $300! That’s it, three-hundred bucks. There are still six days left on the auction, though, but it needs enough work that it won’t have a high price. This one is located in as bucolic of a town name as I’ve ever heard, Doe Hill, Virginia.


Yep, this one isn’t perfect, not by a long shot, and it doesn’t need to be. I guess, if a person were buying a truck to use as the ultimate hauler you’d want a regular fleetside, fullsize box pickup, but not me, I’d want one that’s at least a little different. This Stepside box fits the bill nicely. The passenger side has been better days, but it doesn’t really matter that much, does it?


This is almost the perfect pickup for me: it’s a little beat up but not bad, it’s unusual being a stepside, and it has a 6-cylinder and 3-on-the-tree manual transmission. The tailgate looks great but once you lower it, d’oh! Which is why they have a sheet of plywood back there. Ok, that’s one thing that I’d redo, but other than that, I’d most likely leave this truck as is on the exterior. There is some rust here, quite a bit of rust, actually. There are patch panels to fix this one but nobody is going to restore this truck to like-new condition, this one is going to get used as it was intended.


This truck has the rarely-seen fuscia door panels! No wait, they’re just faded. Here’s a YouTube video where Stacey David shows you how to dye interior parts, but there are dozens if not hundreds of others not to mention dozens and/or hundreds of interior fabric and plastic dyes out there. I’d go this route. I’d also go with a classic saddle blanket seat cover here. I’m not sure what the floor pans look like but the underside shots don’t seem to look bad, it’s just the body parts that have rusted.


This is GM’s 250 cubic-inch inline-six with around 115 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. It’s not a ton of power but for light hauling duties, it should work fine. The seller says that everything works as it should, but they also say that it has a burnt valve in #4. That’ll have to be looked at and it shouldn’t be a terrible job with easy access like on this engine. They say that there has been a lot of work done on this pickup, “a new alt., new front disc brakes, new rear brake shoes with new hardware kit and new rear brake hose.” This seems like just a good, basic work truck, nothing fancy, just a driving and light-hauling pickup. Have any of you ever needed a regular ol’ work truck instead of a show truck?


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  1. Howard A Member

    If this wasn’t 40 gazillion miles away from me, it would be mine. You just don’t see stuff like this in N.Wis. There is an inherent danger of this truck being flipped, ( because, as said here before, people are just sick and tired of newer trucks, and want these) so better act fast if you want a good ol’ truck. I’ve never seen those “boxes” on top of the valve cover before. Some feeble attempt to get it to pass emissions, poor thing. Probably the best find to come through here in a while.

  2. jef ray

    My first brand new truck was the brown version of this…It was a fun truck! I worked for our local Chevy Dealer, and got it for $5,500. I sold when I transferred from Community College to the University.

  3. JW

    A man’s truck for sure, it will do the job without fear of scratching it. Love it.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi JW, careful what you say. My ex-gf, who is also a truck driver ( for 30+ years) grew up on a farm, and a Ford pickup was the 1st truck she drove. She’d love something like this. ( C’mon ladies, let’s give JW “what for”!)

  4. Terry J

    I have the Ford version, ’81 F150 short wide, 6 cyl 3 speed. In around 1987 most manufacturers of light trucks went to fuel injection. I really wanted to find a 50’s or 60’s truck for it’s simplicity and ease of maintenance , but either they are rust buckets or too high priced. These early 80’s trucks are almost the same mechanically. Good thing too. When the 300 six gave me problems, I found a good running 1970s 240 engine for nothing, and popped that in there. Would not have tried that with the FI AOD ’89 F150 I used to have. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s working on farm machinery, so the old stuff suits me fine. :-) Terry J

  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like that combination. We sold a few basic rides like that when I worked for GM. That version of 250 suffered from ultra-lean fuel, retarded ignition and valve timing. Anyone running one of these needs to fix all three of those areas to keep from burning valves. We did a lot of valve jobs at 50K miles. They came out with the 4.3 V6 after that. I was foolish enough to buy one of those. Hated it. Sold it and bought my ’85 Bronco.
    If this truck came me way, I’d clean it up; see if I could polish out the oxidization and just use it—after I applied those unecologically approved methods to make the motor run better….

  6. Terry J

    Ha Ha Ha geomechs, You coined a new term we needed badly: UAM, Unecologically Approved Methods. As in: pitch that cracked EGR unit that hasn’t been hooked up in decades anyhow. :-) Terry J

  7. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Woot! I love this truck…hits all the checkpoints: stepside, truck-truck ;) , manual shifter and 6 in a row to make it go!

    too bad it’s half-a-country away

  8. cudaman

    My 1984 I bought from the original owner over 20 years ago. Other than one repaint before I bought it, it’s totally original. I have recently decided to sell it for 6500.00. (229) 834-9440

    Like 1
    • CapNemo

      Still got it? Swap for CJ5 or Drag Pinto? :)

      • cudaman

        send me pictures of the CJ (

    • Patrick Huot

      Who’s got a 4WD version ?
      Preferably a 78 though.
      Got a certain project in mind.

  9. Rustytech Member

    First off, Who adds $.05 to a bid? As I’ve said before, this wasn’t my favorite year ( didn’t like the grill ) that said I would love to have this truck! I always did like the stepside body style. Forget the multiple computers needed in modern trucks that turn simple operations into nightmares that the dealer can charge thousands to fix because the average guy can’t afford the tools to fix it. That 6cyl eng will run forever. Great work or play truck.

  10. JCW Jr.

    The left frt. Fender and hood I would replace. I fixed a lot of this type truck up. Back around 1990 the 73 to about 83 trucks were the going thing around here. I excuse the term flipped a few of them. When I flipped them I totaly redid them not just buy and sell. Other than the frt.end these are basically the same truck from 73 up to 91. Now I would not mind getting one to keep for me.

    • AMX Brian

      It’s not really flipping if you actually refurbish the vehicle you bought and sell it for a reasonable price.

  11. Clinton

    Its 375 miles from me so if the bids stay down it might be a fun road trip. So stop bidding on it ok.

  12. Ck

    I had a 78 fleetside short box with a 305 with a 3spd on the floor .One of the best trucks I’ve ever owned.I wish I still had it.

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