General Motors lit the afterburners on its light trucks for 1960, with radical new Jet-Age styling and a totally revamped chassis under two-wheel drives. There was no mistaking these trucks for their 1955-’59 Task Force predecessors, as they were lower, wider, and designed with a never-before-seen emphasis on driver convenience and comfort.
Front and center were two massive jet-inspired air intakes that dominated the full-width hood—a styling cue lifted from ’59 Chevrolet cars. The truck’s flat-top or “flying wing” roof was also borrowed from Chervolet’s full-size cars, as was its rearward-angled A-pillar and wraparound windshield.
Beneath the skin, the cab roof was reinforced by an inner panel ribbed for increased rigidity, and there was insulation sandwiched between the layers. The cabs boasted a 26 percent increase in windshield area over their predecessors for a commanding view of the road, plus there was nearly 6 inches more hip room, more shoulder room, head room, leg room, and new door sealing.
The Fleetside bed made its debut on Task Force trucks but really took hold with buyers during the 1960-’66 model run and nicely complemented the new cab’s angles. The workaday stepside was still available, though it carried over with only minor changes from the second-series 1955 pickups.
These trucks rode and handled more car-like, thanks to changes to the front and rear suspension. While Task Force trucks rode on solid axles with leaf springs at both ends, for 1960 Chevrolet went to torsion bars up front on ½-, ¾- and 1-ton two-wheel drive trucks. Two-wheel-drive ½-tons of this vintage took it a step further with rear coil springs, while heavier editions stuck with more rigid leaf springs.
Chevrolet’s all-in approach to modernizing its light trucks may have sparked a little future shock in buyers but, from behind the wheel, the new haulers must’ve felt like luxury cars compared to every other truck before or compared to the competition. As the decade wore on though, GM made the trucks a little more conventional with evolutionary changes. The big intake snouts on the hood were among the first things to go, replaced in ’62 by a pair of small cut outs on the hood’s forward edge. Also in ’62, the quad headlamps were replaced with single headlamps. In 1963, GM switched from a torsion bar front suspension to a coil spring front end. In 1963, Chevrolet also introduced two new engines: the 140-hp, 230-cu.in. straight-six and the 165-hp, 292-cu.in. six-cylinder. The 175-hp 283 engine would remain the only V-8 option and all engines were equipped with alternators rather than generators.
or 1964, Chevrolet light trucks received a reworked cab that incorporated more modern design cues. The A-pillars and windshield were swept back slightly, the glass wraparound was eliminated, and the vent windows were shaped like triangles. The severe roof overhangs, which gave the older cabs a sort of pagoda style, were eliminated as well. The 1965 model year saw the debut of the 327-cu.in. V-8 and in 1966, a new 250-cu.in. straight-six was introduced. GM’s 1960-’66 trucks are quite collectible today, with popular pricing guides placing them in the $20,000 range on the low end, up to $100,000 on the high end. If a restoration of one of these trucks is in your future, you’ll find that used, reproduction, and NOS parts are widely available for 1960-’66 light-duty GM trucks. The early hoods with the big air intakes aren’t being reproduced, but used panels are out there, though getting scarcer. Ditto for pre-’64 doors.
For this guide we’re going to focus on the 1964-’66 trucks as they have the most in common, but any of the trucks in this series make excellent collectibles. This month’s feature truck is a 1964 C-10 that belongs to Chevrolet truck enthusiast Rich Rosetti of Latham, New York. It’s nicely equipped with a Custom Cab, air conditioning, a 283 V-8 paired with an automatic transmission, power steering, and more.