By on April 24, 2010

Here’s a mighty fine example of one of my all-time favorite trucks, hard at work on the job site. It probably won’t come as a great surprise to you that there a dozens of these vintage Chevy trucks still earning their keep hereabouts, but this is a particularly nice one. And for some reason, the first year ’67s aren’t that common. Although I’m quite fond of my ’66 F-100, I’m not very partisan when it comes to American trucks of this vintage: they’re all just about equally attractive, hard working and easy to keep running. I’d take this turquoise beauty in a heartbeat (of America).

I should qualify that. When it comes to Chevy trucks, my love for the pre-’67s doesn’t extend to actually wanting one, for one big reason: wood bed floors. Yup, this truck here is the first Chevy to have a steel floor, something Ford went to quite some years earlier. Although Oregon’s climate is fairly gentle on steel, its long gray and wet winters are a breeding ground for those critters that live on wood, turning it to pulp. That reminds me, my utility trailer’s floor is going quickly this year.

And if I remember correctly, the floors on the Stepside beds of this vintage Chevy still had the wood planks. But not this nice 8′ Fleetside, which is why it’s here. By the way, there’s no doubt this is a ’67, because of the lack of side marker lights and that small rear window, which quickly disappeared. It looks like they must have had some left over or something.

This generation Chevy truck was built through 1972. There were three distinct groupings: the ’67 and ’68; the ’69-70; and the ’71-’72. The clean eggcrate grille of the ’71-’72 is hard to beat for its classic good looks; maybe the best looking truck ever. The 1973 model that replaced them was seemingly made forever, but its cab was distinctly plasticized, compared to the all-steel interior of this generation. Thanks, but no thanks to the ’73 and up.

Of course, Chevy power was one of the draws of these trucks, in addition to their handsome new styling. A full palette was on tap: the standard 250 six (155 gross hp); and the optional long-stroke, high torque 292 six (170 hp). V8s were still still limited to small blocks in 1967; in ’68 the 396 came on board. The truck V8s were detuned: the 283 V8 had 175 hp, the 327 had  220 hp.

What’s interesting to note is that pickups were going through a rapid change in terms of power right about this time, due to the sudden popularity of slide in campers. 1967 was the first year pickups overall sold more V8s than sixes, but for Chevy that came in 1968, probably because its 292 six was such a beast. But within a few years, big blocks became ever more popular, as gas was cheap and folks were loading everything including the kitchen sink in their campers.

I drove a friend’s ’66 that had the 327; what a sweet engine, and it made his light little swb Stepside mighty brisk. These things were so light, it really didn’t take much power to scoot them down the road, never mind not spinning the wheels. But I have a soft spot for big sixes, and I’d love to have one of these with the 292.

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37 Comments on “Curbside Classic: 1967 Chevrolet C20 Pickup...”


  • avatar
    educatordan

    My girlfriends father has a 1972 model with a 350 and automatic trans as about the only options. It’s worked like a beast it’s whole life and is still his go to hauler. He drives a 4cyl Canyon as his commuter.

  • avatar
    bevo

    That pix brings back the memories of my childhood. My folks had that truck with three on the tree as I recall. The guy who ran the only gas station in town sold us the truck (used, natch). He also repaired it free so long as my folks bought and drank beer while he worked on it.

    The truck was just as comfortable on the ranch in the Texas Hill Country or on a Sunday drive to Harper to get the paper.

    The truck died in 1978 when a drunk teenager hit the damn thing head on. My mother, who was driving, and I walked away without a scratch.

    • 0 avatar
      texlovera

      Had a buddy growing up whose family had some land out Kerrville way – sure miss visiting the Hill Country, especially around bluebonnet time. Seemed to me like there were a lot more Chevy trucks than Fords back then, but maybe it was just the folks we happened to know…

  • avatar
    baabthesaab

    We had a ’67 K-20 stepside. 250 with a 4-speed. I loved that truck and think of it often. Dark green with light green interior.

    Chevy used to advertise the wood bed floor as “The bed that won’t rust” (!) On our 67, like our other 50′s and 60′s Chevies, the wood lasted 3 or 4 years, before a 4 x x8 sheet of 1/2″ plywood covered most of the holes. After about 7 years, a sheet of 1/4″ steel plate was welded in.

  • avatar
    undrgnd40

    i know a lot of people who wish they could buy a new truck as simple and utilitarian as this.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    That is a nice example. I’ve never owned a pick-up, but remember those that my father owned. One that comes to mind was a ’56 Ford that had a 390 and three-on-the-tree. He was driving it at 5:30AM one morning to his job as a manager/dispatcher for Welch’s (later bought by Transit) readi-mix concrete in Orange, Ca.. There was a blind no lights/cross-bar RR crossing on his route… one that he’d safely crossed more than 1,000 times before. This crossing was angled at about 30 degrees and the safe (actually the only sane) way to cross it was to roll your driver-side window down and come to a complete stop. If you didn’t hear a train (and they usually didn’t take the trouble to sound the horn to warn of their approach), you felt it was an acceptable risk to start across.

    That worked for years for my father (although there’d been several accidents, a couple of fatalities) until that one morning. My father pulled onto the tracks saw the train coming in his peripheral vision to the left, floored the accelerator and almost made it, but the train caught the bed just past the left rear wheel, whipped the truck back around, where it crunched the left front of the truck badly. Except for severe muscle soreness for a few days, Dad wasn’t hurt, which was lucky as it could’ve broken his neck.

    The ’56 Ford wasn’t as fortunate and the last anyone had seen of it, it was living out its last days as an ice cream truck in Santa Ana.

    This was before the days of mass litigation/ambulance chasing, so nothing was pursued. In fact, the railroad had been found “not responsible/in the right” in the past, as the tracks were there before the road.

    It took one more terrible incident there (one accident with a fatality and a survivor with severe brain damage) before that intersection was made safe with crossing arm and clanging lights).

    Anyone in Orange County with an interest, this was where Glassell and Orange-Olive road come together and the tracks are still there, but the orange groves that were ALL over the surrounding area have given way to housing and business… progress, as it were.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Yeah, the 71-72 Chevy/GMC are up there with the 75-76 Ford as my most favorite art pieces.

  • avatar

    Paul, that’s another great find.

    Dad still has a ’67 Chevy 1 ton with a dump bed. Same cab, with staked sideboards on a 1/4″ steel plate bed, riding over a dual axle. I think the 250 six was added after something bad killed the original engine, and even mating that wimpy engine to a 4-speed MT (3-speed if you discount the granny gear) doesn’t give the truck much power to work with. It’s never been the best maintained vehicle, and when you’re a teen, there’s nothing like a dead brake booster to wake you up, especially with 2 1/2 tons of rock pushing you towards a red light.

    A dump was added long after production, and boy, do I love pushing that button instead of shoveling off the thousands of tons of rock, dirt, construction debris, trees, and tree stump chips I’ve hauled on the beast. It earned its nickname, The Frog, by hopping the front tires off the ground while lurching over a particularly rough, multi-track rail crossing. A missing accelerator pedal and long dead factory shocks didn’t help, and the dark green paint perfectly complimented the nickname. Lots of rust now, but it’s so darn handy it’ll take something catastrophic to kill it. The next time I drive it, I plan to use some low expansion spray foam to heal the rocker panels and rear corners.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Sigh………….

    back in the days before the societal onslaught against males and masculinity in general.

    If I need to explain myself I doubt if I can explain it to thee.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Recall that the “A man’s home is his castle” is largely a fiction of the (early) industrial age. It didn’t really exist before, and it’s largely phasing out of existence now.

      People need to stop assuming that “the way things were when they were 16″ is The One True Way Things Must Be.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      @psarhjinian,

      Depends on how you define that. Yes, the US government has sidestepped the Constitution with ‘Patriot’, but there are other ways in which personal property rights are actually being reinforced.

      At least on paper.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      @porschespeed: I wasn’t talking about personal property rights, but about patriarchalism’s historical context.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      @psarhjinian,

      Rather figured that, but I had to go to property rights. I’m funny like that.

      In a sociological context, I’ve found patriarchalism is alive and well, if you have the funds and she doesn’t. (Depending, of course, on the terms of your prenup….)

      In the deeper analysis, all relationships (business and personal)are partially defined (to a great extent) by who has the power/is dominant. Not necessarily in some ‘Leave It to Beaver’ superficiality, but in the much more real ‘I wish I could, but my SO would kick my ass’ sort of scenario.

      Power comes in many forms, so the details vary a bit by who wants what it is that you have.

      There was a wonderful Sam Kinison bit about the power of women on ‘Have You Seen Me Lately?’. I’d repeat it, but there are apparently people here who are offended by Hooters…

      In the final analysis, we are lizard-brain hardwired for a limited set of responses and cognitions. We can gussy it up to suit current fashion, but it’s always about power and/or money. Who has it, who wants it, what they are willing to do to get it.

      Been that way since the dawn of civilization, ain’t gonna change anytime soon.

    • 0 avatar
      also Tom

      I was right there with you until “thee”….

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    More proof that there was a time when people – even manly men- were not afraid of color. Is there any manufacturer today that will sell you a turquoise truck (or car)?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The steel bed was an option beginning in 1965 IIRC, and the wooden bed remained available through sometime in this generation (perhaps all the way to ’72).

    The small rear window was a popular choice in the more southerly latitudes, as it cut down on some of the greenhouse effect that the large rear window had. This became mostly a non-issue once factory AC became a common option and the small window was eventually dropped (’69 maybe?).

    • 0 avatar
      zbnutcase

      Thats correct about the steel bed being optional on Chev trucks, back in high school a friend had a 68 C20 with the 396…and a wooden bed. BTW GMC’s of the same era came standard with the steel bed

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    The 67-72 is that last series of Chevy truck that I would like to own someday. I never liked the ones that started in 73. It is not such a problem in your area, but here in the midwest, the 73 and up Chevy pickup was the biggest ruster since the 57 Mopars. GM got to work on the rustproofing and they weren’t so bad by the early 80s, but there are hardly any of those Chevys from the 70s on the road in my area.

    I still remember when a family friend bought a brand new 72 C10 and brought it by our house on the way home. It was dark green and the top trim level, and it was one cool, cool truck. I was a Ford guy in those days (at all of 13 years old) but that 72 Chevy was a really nice truck and left an impression that lingers to this day.

    My brother in law farms, and always said that this series of Chevy was really nice to drive compared with the contemporary Fords, although he preferred the Fords in heavy duty work applications.

    As for the color, it always seemed to me that trucks offered colors that were about 10 years behind the cars. I was always a turquoise fan, and you could still get new turquoise trucks into the early 70s from Ford, Chevy and Dodge.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      My brother in law farms, and always said that this series of Chevy was really nice to drive compared with the contemporary Fords, although he preferred the Fords in heavy duty work applications.

      That was true of Fords and GMs until 1996 or so. 1/2 tons, anyway.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    My buddy had a red and white two-tone ’72 Chev version. It was clean, straight, and cancer free, despite a dozen years as an auto parts delivery truck. It had a 3-in-the-tree, and a 307 that was so smooth and quiet, you couldn’t tell it was running – with the hood open (until you saw the fan spinning). It replaced his 70 Impala which was not clean, nor straight, and was door handle free. But we survived a tornado in it (that was scary), shortly after the last time I donated blood. I passed out for the 3rd time; they’re supposed to make you stop after the 2nd time. Anyway, it was a good truck. He got ’48 Chev sedan shortly after that – in which we preformed ‘agricultural inspections’. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      It had a 3-in-the-tree, and a 307 that was so smooth and quiet, you couldn’t tell it was running – with the hood open (until you saw the fan spinning).

      Ah, the small blocks. My 86 Chev, the one in my avatar, had a 350 that ran so smooth you could put a glass of water on the air cleaner and it would barely vibrate the liquid inside.

  • avatar

    The big rear window became standard equipment for ’68 on all C/K-10 thru 30 models. Also you could by a ’67 – ’72 with either a steel or wood bed.

    I currently own a ’68 C-10 as a project. It’s the fifth ’67 -’72 I’ve owned since the 70′s. I like how they drive and the styling is timeless. Park one of these next to the current Tahoe/Avalanche/Suburban and you can see where the current models got their inspiration.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    Ahhhh! About time to see this model year Chevy truck posted. This is without a doubt the best looking series of Chevy trucks. They also held up better against the tin worm compared to the replacement series from 73 on. I’m just a bit biased on these due to restoring a 67 shortbox with my father. He wanted to restore a vehicle with me that was the same year as my birth (66). As a young kid I thought the 67 was just so much better looking and he agreed. He found one and we started on it when I was in 6th grade and spent just under 4 yrs performing basically a frame up resto. We added pretty much all of the factory options one could find from 67 to 72 using other donor trucks. We kept it stock in appearance with exception of using 6 lug 4×4 chevy rally wheels. We placed it into 3 shows back in 81 and 82 and rec’d first place for late post war truck in all 3.

    I still have it today and in very, very good condition. It will always look beautiful to me and it is amazing how many times over all these years how people share kudos toward it when I get it out for a drive.

    Park one of these next to the latest crop of 1/2 ton trucks. The new trucks are just bloated cartoon characters by comparison. The size of the 67 is just right.

  • avatar

    I’m particularly fond of this generation of Chevy truck as well. My dad had a 1972 blue & white Custom with the 8′ bed and a 402 big block with an automatic for a couple of years as his shop truck back in the early 1990s, around the time I had just gotten my license.

    Regarding the choice of bed material (wood vs. steel): interesting how this early fleetside has the all-steel bed floor, but the “Longhorn” a few posts later has an oak bed floor. My pop’s ’72 had a metal floor.

    Incidentally, the wood floor in the GM stepsides continued all the way through the 1987 model year (painted body color, of course). When the GMT400s came out, the “sportside” finally went with a metal floor in the stepside pickups.

  • avatar
    nikita

    I had a ’71 shortbed in metallic avocado green that was so popular back then. Front disc brakes were standard that year, but not power assist. It also had manual steering. Combined with mechanical, not hydraulic like the GMC, clutch linkage, my arms and legs got a workout driving it in city traffic. It also had the all coil suspension which made it a great off-roader. I think GMC had traditional leaf springs. Tired 250 six and three on the tree, I built up a junkyard 283 and pulled the six. That really woke the thing up and raised the gas mileage from about 13 to 17. Anyway, I still love the looks of that series and especially the simple steel dash.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I had a 68 short narrow box six four-speed truck that I liked a lot. Bought it used, an old Forest Service truck from central or eastern Oregon. It was okay to buy old government rigs from that part of the country for two reasons: it was dry country, and so unpopulated that they had to take good care of the rigs lest they be stranded on the wrong side of eighty miles of dirt road. It was the medium green with gray top that FS rigs were then. Every time I washed or vaccuumed it I found more red dust.

    I liked the styling of that truck; I liked the soundness of the cab – GM had learned how to make pickup door hinges and latches by then – and as others have mentioned, its general simplicity and ruggedness. In some ways it was kind of like a motorized wheelbarrow.

    It’s interesting to consider the differences and similarities between that and my 2003 Silverado, which is also a short-box regular cab truck. The new truck is a lot more refined, and is actually quieter on the highway than my 1999 Accord, but while it may be as rugged as the ’68 was….well, what can I say, time passes.

  • avatar
    TR4

    “and the optional long-stroke, high torque 292 six (170 hp)”

    More journalistic babble about long strokes generating high torque! The 292 was listed as 275 lb-ft, or 0.93 lb-ft/cubic inch. This is slightly LESS specific torque than the 250′s 235 lb-ft or 0.94 lb-ft/cubic inch. Neither figure is remarkable and both are close to the rule of thumb of 1 ft-lb/cubic inch that is true of most garden variety normally aspirated gas engines.

  • avatar
    Jeffer

    I currently own a 1970 GMC 2500 with a factory-original small block 400 with THM-400. I can’t count how many times I have had to show ‘experts’ the info on my glovebox door when they tell me you couldn’t get an SB 400 in 1970. I Must add that I always thought the Chevy had the nicer front end.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    The one thing that sticks in my mind about these was opening the hood of a college room mate’s 69 with a 250 6 and realizing two people could stand on either side of the engine.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Even though I’m a Ford-o-phile at heart, I have to admit that when it comes to making trucks that look good, Chevy have always had the edge. Even today I still prefer the look of a Silverado to a F150.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      To my eye all the current full-sized pickups feature bloated “wanna be a BIG truck” styling aimed at the penis substitute set. Especially the Ford Super Duty. They think THAT is going to persuade me to give up my 89 F-350?

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Why am I hearing Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock!” in the background?

  • avatar
    bugo

    The only bad thing about these trucks is the floor panel tended to rust out beneath the doors. Most 67-72 Chevy trucks that I’ve seen are rusted out there. The styling is truly timeless. They certainly look better than any trucks made since.


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