Featured: This 1972 Chevy C-10 Is America Personified

This 1972 Chevy C-10 Is America Personified

By Andrew Golseth
January 27, 2017

Photography by Andrew Golseth

Not that it’ll come as a surprise to you, but we don’t really feature trucks that often here at Petrolicious. Although there are plenty of awesome pickups of tasteful vintage worth covering, trucks just aren’t our forte. That said, I thought this little jade colored gem was worth sharing and here’s why.

My wife and I moved to San Diego two and a half years ago. Within our first week of living on Point Loma, I noticed this old humble green Chevy parked on our block. I soon met the owner, Mike Johnson, who just so happened to be the neighborhood gearhead. Mike is a California native with a serious passion for surfing and spinning wrenches—he’s always got something cool he’s fixing up for a friend or client.

From motorcycles, to air-cooled Volkswagens, to pre-war Packards, there is no machine Mike is afraid to work on. He’s an anti-brand-loyal car enthusiast but despite his random stable, he prefers to daily drive this 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne-10. Now, most classics aren’t so great to rely on for the daily run, but while this truck is nearing 45 years of age, it’s got more amenities than you likely imagine.

Turns out, this final year C-10 short bed was heavily optioned from the factory, special ordered by someone with excellent taste. As you can see from the build sheet, still adhered to the inside of the massive glovebox door, this truck was loaded with air-conditioning, power steering, heavy duty suspension, power assist disc brakes, and more—pretty much all the bells and whistles.

But it’s not just the spec list that makes this truck so special—when was the last time you came across a C-10 in this kind of condition? Unfortunately, it seems the majority of these handsome pickups were used as intended—abused workhorses driven for utility. As a result, the examples remaining on the road today are pretty tired. So, naturally when I see Mike out driving this, or even when I catch it parked, I stop to take it in.

I look it over, smiling at all the little details. It’s cliché, but they don’t make’em like they used to. The minimalistic shape is so honest in its presentation as a practical piece of equipment, yet it’s perfectly proportioned and has style trucks after its era have failed to match.

Every time I see this truck, I stop to appreciate it. The beautiful green metallic paint, the egg crate grille, the slab chrome bumpers, the box stamped mirrors, and the uninterrupted arced shoulder line—I even love the cheesy faux wood veneer trim. Mike has kept the aesthetics original but opted to lower the truck a few inches for a more balanced stance.

Things inside are just as pleasant. There’s an attractive rubber rimmed three-spoke metal steering wheel, large dials with bright orange needles, and a metal dashboard with integrated air-con controls, radio, and a jumbo-sized glovebox. Even the charcoal and green houndstooth seat covers are hard not to get nostalgic about. When did trucks go all wrong?

When Mike first scored this hauler it was running rough. The original engine has long been removed in favor of a standard 350 crate engine coupled to a three-speed auto. Mechanically ironed out, from cold it fires to life effortlessly and idles in the most stereotypical American V8 audio. Pull the doors shut with a satisfying clunk, drop the column shift to D, and feel the truck hunker down as it engages first gear.

Thanks to the factory optioned power steering, cranking the helm is far easier than expected while offering tangible connection modern steering-by-wire systems just can’t compare to. Fully off the brake pedal, the truck carries itself eagerly even before applying throttle. It’s a truck. Sure, there are some squeaks, but nothing that detracts from the fact this is a well-built automobile.

Yes, this truck is in exceptional shape. It’s been partially restored, but it’s not perfect. There are some minor dings, a few signs of light rust trying to make their way through the flattering green finish, but that’s fine. In fact, a peek inside the scarred bed floor reveals the truth: Mike uses this truck as a truck should be used. This isn’t a show queen or flawless hotrod. This isn’t some 100-point concours king or Barrett-Jackson showstopper. No. This is a solid piece of Americana, from a time when “Made In America” actually meant something.

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Nick BKen ClarkFrank FloresTom DesRochersBen Logan Recent comment authors
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Nick Biangel
Nick Biangel

I had a 1970 version with a straight six and 3 on the column. I Gbought it at a junkyard. I never had an issue with it. It was one of my favorite vehicles.

Ken Clark
Ken Clark

Really like this. I can see myself driving through town Saturday morning on my way to Home Depot, cigar clenched in teeth and my German Shepherd by my side.

Frank Flores
Frank Flores

I’ve had my 69 C10 for 18 years it’s a project it was my dad’s I restore it took down to bare metal new paint new motor big list of work I love my truck a lot of memories

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers

I know where a Mercury truck lives. Would Petrolicious be interested in the details so they can contact the owner about a possible story? You’ve got my email.

Ben Logan
Ben Logan

I’ve known Mike a number of years and you wont find a more capable mechanic willing to tackle jobs most guys would turn away. (like replacing sections of a bug frame in-situ) He’s humble and honest and just the kind of guy you can trust your family heirloom with!

Greg Paules
Greg Paules

Thanks for the article…good to see others daily driving these things….I have a 72 C20 Suburban that I use as my daily driver/shop truck/camping rig/kiddo transporter etc. keep up the good work!

Ivan Rozales

In my hometown in Mexico if you owned one of these you earn instant reputation, “las cheyenes” are so iconic down there that there are whole movies based around them. I’ll own one some day.

Amir Kakhsaz
Amir Kakhsaz

I’m fairly certain there was one of these in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Cool truck!

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer

Primo truck!!! One of the pleasant surprises of being a car crazy is when you spot something while cruising your neighborhood that really catches your eye even though it may be of a genre that isn’t exactly in your wheelhouse.

I’ve had a similar experience often over the years and a couple of times these chance discoveries have led me off in a surprising direction of car enthusiasm.

Thanks Andrew for following up on your sighting of this Chevy.