Friday, March 11, 2022

1963 Chevrolet C10 SWB Fleetside: Son holds onto a truck full of memories

 James LeCroy stands beside his 1963 C10 truck that once belonged to his dad.

Holding on to dad's truck. James LeCroy has owned this 1963 Chevrolet C10 fleetside of the short-wheelbase variety for the better part of three decades. He made the mistake of letting it go once but has decided to keep it in his possession from now until forever. LeCroy holds firm to his commitment of never selling despite his wife, Joy's, lack of enthusiasm for the old truck.
  "My dream is to fill the bed with dirt and turn it into a flower bed,” said Joy. Her idea is not shared by the many people who drive by their house and stop with offers to buy it.

Tail gate view of rusty 1963 C10 that holds many fond memories.
Chevrolet sold over 425,000 trucks of all styles and weight classes during the 1963 model year.

LeCroy's dad, Papa LeCroy, was the second-owner of the C10 when the truck was still wearing factory fresh blue and white paint. Papa LeCroy kept the wheels rolling on the C10 ferrying little old ladies back-and-forth 
from hair appointments and to the Piggly Wiggly grocery story in downtown Oneonta, Alabama. Papa LeCroy's shuttling days and “to-do” list items soon slowed down. That's when the son acquired the C10 from his dad in the late-1960s to use as a daily driver and to handle his own Saturday grunt work. Years went by and the truck was relegated to part-time use and a spot at the side of the driveway.
  Opportunity, or as LeCroy would surmise, the truck slipped away. 
During the 1980s, another family vehicle needed repair. The mechanic, who was working on the other vehicle, suggested a trade. The C10 would be payment instead of a repair bill for automotive work. It seemed like a good way to handle the unexpected expense but LeCroy soon regretted the decision when his dad's old truck disappeared from the driveway. 

Rusty 1963 Chevy C10 front bumper view shows decades of outdoor parking character marks.
The vent windows on the 1963 Chevrolet C10 were the last to feature wider glass at the top.

The return
Regret can leave a lump in your throat. A bruise on your eye. Or just the burden of undoing a wrong. LeCroy spurned regret in 1992. The mechanic who bought the C10 decided it was time to find a new home for the worn truck. His first call was to LeCroy and he jumped at the chance to buy back the second vehicle his dad ever owned. The 
truck, now 30 years old, did not disappoint in making lasting memories on LeCroy's long drive home.

James LeCroy knocks the dirt dauber nest off the engine of his 1963 Chevy C10.
LeCroy under the hood checking out the 230 cubic-inch inline six cylinder engine,

Feeling the clutch engage and rowing through the column shift was no trouble. However, the view in the rear view mirror told another story. "It looked like I was spraying for mosquitos,” said LeCroy. “The engine smoked bad.”
  The years are seldom kind to throwaway, part-time vehicles. They get the short end of the stick when it comes to regular maintenance, even when owned by a shade tree mechanic. Based on the evidence, it could be possible that a lack of regular oil changes may have sent the piston rings to an early retirement. LeCroy discovered that power was down on the engine and the truck just didn't have "it" anymore. The truck found "home" again but seldom moved.

Dash and steering wheel look nearly perfect on 1963 C10.
Three-on-the-tree column shift transmission.

Parked for two decades outside has been brutal on the exterior condition of the C10. The body shows pinhole rust spots on top of the cab and everywhere below the belt line. The metal on all the C10's body panels has to be worn thinner, even on this era of tough, thick metal trucks. Two bright spots are the interior and
the 230-cubic inch six cylinder engine under the hood. The engine bay looks better than expected. But we know that smoking problem needs a rebuild. A sheet of steel replaced the wood floor bed years ago and helps hold the truck together. 

What next?
The potential and parts are available to restore the truck but it would be a long, expensive trip back to making this old Chevy a beauty again. To some, including me, the beauty in the truck is just as it sits.
  LeCroy is keeping it. Each time he walks outside, the truck takes him on another trip down memory lane. I believe that is the best trip that money can't buy.

Jody Potter
– Junkyard Life

Dirt daubers made several nests under the hood.
140-horsepower inline six cylinder engine has 230 cubic-inches.

Side view of rusty short-wheelbase 1963 Chevy C10.
Short wheelbase C10s are more popular and bring more money.

White front bumper revealed under the layers of decay.
1963 was a good year for Chevrolet trucks.

Large hood points skyward and shows the large opening these clam shell hoods offered.
Large hood will swallow you up for easy access to any mechanic issues. 

Original dog dish hub caps on passenger side of truck.
Originally painted blue with a white spear and roof.

Side view show last year for the forward slant cab design on the 1963 model C10.
Last year of the C10 with the forward-sloping roofline.

Truck was originally blue with white roof and spear, now rust is only color.
Hubcaps and big mirrors, ready to get the job done. No modern frills here.

Short wheelbase fleetside C10 sits by the road in front of the house.
Call me crazy but I don't think these trucks will never go out of style.

Do you have a car story? Send us details!  Send emails to Jody Potter at & Ron Kidd at

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