1972 Chevy C10 Hawaiian Blue Cheyenne
I have owned two previous 67-72 C/K pickups. My very first a 69 GMC LWB Sierra Grande, at the age of 14 (in the early 80s) then a 72 GMC Sierra Grande SWB 4×4 a decade later. Since, I have looked, window shopped, researched and mostly dreamt for the past 10 years as the prices rose; skyrocketed it seems.
In September 2022, I identified one of particular interest coming to one of the big auction houses. it was a 72 C10 SWB Cheyenne Super. Not being able to attend in person, I hired a local inspector to assess the truck prior to auction and got a great referral at the same time for a transport company. The inspection went well, but with some notable issues that I attributed to the seller rushing to finish their restoration. Some key items were overlooked for unknown reason. Anyhow, I placed a proxy bid prior to auction day, at what I truly thought the truck was worth and then assessed what I would be willing to pay, if it went past my proxy. Well, when it went up on the block, it shot way past my proxy bid to the point, that I never had time, or considered increasing my own bid. In awe, the bidding closed without meeting the reserve, $20k+ beyond my proxy bid. Wow! what was happing to the prices of these trucks?
Without giving up, the very next month, a nearly identical truck showed up, also going to auction, but at a less known auction house, with a lower hammer commission. There were only about 8 pictures, including only one close up of the dash bezel, no others of the interior, or the undercarriage. It still looked really nice. the description was also very limited. The day of the auction came and I had not even registered to bid, nor did I know what the requirements were. And most important, I was not there to inspect the truck, let alone have someone there on my behalf! When I woke up at 7am something within me told me I should go to the auction site. Within 30 minutes I was registered to bid and the truck was going on the block within 90 minutes. Was that cutting it close? As it rolled up on the block I could see there was one bid of $17.5. The auctioneer appeared to be bidding up that interested party as I watched over my computer, as the price climbed in thousand dollar increments. Honestly, I had not even looked to see if it had met the reserve yet, let alone if there were a reserve. I somewhat playfully hit the bid button when it reached $30k, followed by the competitor jumping back at $31k. At this time, I didn’t give it any thought about what I would be willing to bid my max at, as I honestly assumed this would skyrocket just like that other truck the previous month. At this point, about 45 seconds into the process, the auctioneer paused and added “folks, this is a one family owned pickup, one repaint, it looks just as good underneath as the top, and drives as good as it looks”. The auctioneer next asked for $32k, so with the comfort of the details just given I hit the button for $31.5 where the next words were “RESERVE OFF”! Seven seconds later, “SOLD”!
My first thought was what did I do, no one buys a 50 year old truck sight unseen, particularly when photos are limited. Either way I was excited as a kid in a candy store, and my intuition was still telling me that I had done well. But I also thought, did I just inherit a Frankenstein, or someone’s money pit.
Exactly one week later, the truck was in my garage, on the opposite side of the country. I climbed all over the truck, top to bottom, sticking a flashlight in every creves I could find. I also kept looking at that odometer and just thinking, could it actually be… Within a couple weeks, I had tracked down the previous owner and we talked for the next 30 minutes. The 80 year old woman happily gave me the history of it being in her family since 1983, which she had inherited from her dad. She loved the truck and never wanted to sale it. The very first thing she told me was, “you know, the miles on the odometer is what it has” – that being 70,900. My inspection confirmed what I was seeing, the truck underneath presents as a 5-10 year old truck and also drove like the same. She then continued to tell me her dad got it from a local guy in their country town, it had been garaged since new and never used as a true truck. she and her husband had it resprayed in 2010, the engine rebuilt 3-6k miles back – about 8 years ago, and the tires/wheels had been put on it by her dad, along with dual exhaust with headers. She laughed as she described how she loved to drive it and people would look at her because it was so loud! She was finally forced to sale it after the passing of her husband the year prior. She asked me to keep in touch and to give her updates and send pictures from time to time.
Besides that previously mentioned, the truck has the original 350 turbo hydramatic transmission, entire untouched undercarriage, sheet metal, wiring and glass. It has a new houndstooth interior, carpet, 15 inch OEM style steering wheel and new front bumper due to holes for fog lights from years past.
So did I learn anything? I guess not, I disobeyed all the rules in purchasing a car, but boy did it pay off. It’s a little strange, but the feelings I have today, five months in to this ownership, feel the same as when I was that 14 year old kid with my first 1969 GMC.
Epilogue: Perhaps you wonder about that other truck that I first tried to purchase the month prior? Funny thing, well it went up for auction a second time recently and still didn’t sell. This time, the price didn’t even reach as high as the first time.