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1969 C-10 Pickup

Owner: Mitch Jarvis

This little 1969 C-10 pickup drove off the assembly line in Janesville, Wisconsin, sometime in May of that year.  It appears to have been bought for work duties.  Possibly for a government due to almost no options and the orange color.  Its history is a mystery but for sure no upgrades had occurred during its 44 years.  Someone welded in a few new body panels but that was all.  It was just used and used until the deteriorated wiring stopped the engine even starting. And then it was put aside for either a later buyer or the crusher.

Now enters Mitch Jarvis of Independence, Missouri. A well placed ad caught his attention.  He had been looking for a 1969 Chevy truck (year he was born) for a restoration project but wanted no part of a pickup restored. To get one just the way he wanted he knew he must start from the frame up.  Just like a big model kit! This ½ ton had even lost its bed along the way but the deciding feature was its short 115’ wheel base. This is what Mitch wanted to make it a short wide fleet side pickup.

The before and after photos give no question to the start and finish that he made a clean classic short bed ½ ton.  Mitch did almost all the work himself in 2 ½ years except for the painting.  What a project!  Considering he had not restored another vehicle in the past, this is amazing!

The following is Mitch’s story of creating a pickup that most enthusiasts would be proud to own.

When I bought the truck (eBay) in 2009 it was pretty much stripped and the wiring was a mess (I assume there had been an electrical fire at some point as many wires were melted together). There were several boxes of pieces and a pile of oddball parts to sort out. There was no bed that came with the truck.  The previous owner had welded in several replacement pieces on the cab floor, replaced corners and the rocker panels too, so some of the heavy welding was already done.

The biggest challenge to get it up and running was trying to figure out the wiring.  Every wire seemed to have melted, or it had been spliced multiple times, or it had been cut.  The column was also a mess and I had to cannibalize from an extra column I had.  I worked the cab over and got it in primer, added a duel muffler set up and drove it as a “half truck” for about 18 months while I collected parts for the bed (the tail lights, which were really boat trailer lights, were mounted hillbilly style on a 2×6 board bolted to the frame).

I bought a used steel bed floor and wheel-wells for the bed, had them sand-blasted and covered with Line-X bed liner. The sides, front bed panel and tailgate all are after-market pieces bought from Jim Carter Trucks.  I thought it’d be unique and coat the floor and wheel wells with the bed liner but paint the inside of the bed. I do like how it looks, but I’ve since scratched the paint in several places (after all the pickup was built to use).  The truck required new cab mounts all the way around to get everything lined up and new bushings in the doors (they were plastic… I couldn’t believe that, plastic!).

When it was time to paint I knew I wanted green, but I couldn’t find the “Lime Green” that was offered that year except in an economy grade.  So, I went with the very similar “Frost Green” which is original in 1969, but on Chevelles, not the C-10’s. The top and door panels are Antique White.  Creative Classics in Independence, Missouri did the finish body work and paint.

I built the truck as a daily driver, not a show vehicle.  I wanted it to have a clean and classic look, so I didn’t add trim or a lot of extra chrome.  I wasn’t too concerned with having everything exactly original, (the headlight bezels in 1969 were black to match the grill, but I liked the chrome better) and the truck has numerous aftermarket parts.

It’s been great fun to build (still not 100% finished) and the truck gets lots of comments at stop lights and in parking lots.  When I admire some guy’s new Silverado, I like to ask them if he it will be on the road 45 years from now; they mostly just grin.

Jim Carter Trucks has been a great local resource for me as I’ve required both new and used parts, they’re real professionals and have been a lot of help.

During Paint Removal

During the Disassembly

Finally Completed

Look, No Radio!

Nice Bed Liner Combo

Clean Tailgate

Fancy Wheels

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