March 03, 2024
Wheels

Classic Wheels Spotlight: 1964 Chevy C-10 Pickup

Veteran enjoys ‘64 Chevy C-10 pickup

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1964 Chevy C-10 Pickup Side with Jim

Jim Schlegel bought his first 1964 Chevy C-10 pickup truck in 1963 when he was 16. He was focusing on a pickup instead of a car because the truck was about two-thirds the price of a Chevy car. After saving his money for a long time, he decided it was time to take the leap and paid $2,135 for a fully loaded C-10, whereas the fully loaded Bel Air was around $3,500.

After Jim finished high school, he went to Bradley University, got a degree in engineering in 1968, and then got drafted into the U.S. Army. Having had friends who went to Vietnam before him but never came home, Jim decided to sell all his possessions, figuring he wouldn’t come home either.

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1964 Chevy C-10 Pickup Side

Jim: We thank you for your service to this great country.

Thankfully, Jim did return home after his stint overseas. When he got home, Jim went back to Bradley University and earned his master’s degree on the GI bill. Life kept moving forward for him with employment in his field, love and family came along, too.

In 1988, Jim was working on a project at the Space Center in Huntsville, Ala. When the project was completed, he was preparing to come home when he spotted a 1964 Chevy C-10 pickup that looked just like the one he had owned before he left for Vietnam. He checked it out, came home, and then went back the next weekend and bought it.

One of the differences in the Alabama pickup was the flat back window (Jim’s original truck had a back window that wrapped around the sides). Jim says the flat window is a ‘Southern thing’ that helps deal with the intense heat. There was even a gun rack in the back window, which is still there today. Jim’s original truck was turquoise – his new one was baby blue with a white top.

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1964 Chevy C-10 Pickup Interior

JIM’S MOTTO: “SCARS ARE TATTOOS WITH BETTER STORIES!”

The truck came with a 6-cylinder engine, manual transmission, and a ‘three-on the tree’ column shifter. Over the years, Jim has rebuilt the engine and the transmission himself. He had the flooring in the bed replaced at Mar-Lynn Furniture Restoration and Kitchen Cabinets in Mokena, Ill. They sealed the wood all the way around before installing it. Jim says there has been some bodywork done from time to time, but only touchups on the repairs. Because Jim wants it to be as close to the factory model as possible, the C-10 has not been customized in any way. Jim C-10 has about 138,000 miles on the odometer now.

A prostate cancer survivor, Jim is undergoing radiation treatment again to keep the cancer under control. He encourages any veteran to get tested. Early detection is the key.

Photos by Rudy Host, Jr. - 1964 Chevy C-10 Pickup Rear

Jim talked about how he and his ‘brothers in arms’ were exposed to Agent Orange, a defoliant used to clear away the hiding places of their enemies. It wasn’t known until much later that those exposed to this chemical developed health issues, including prostate cancer. A simple PSA test is available at VA hospitals, and through a personal physician.

If you have a car you would like to see featured in Classic Wheels, contact Rudy Host, Jr. at Classic.Wheels.Rudy@gmail.com.