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- June 2009
A Farm Truck’s Legacy: Restored to Last
Written By: Stephanie Laska, Photos By: Sarah Stange
According to Chevrolet, their trucks are a “legacy that’s built to last.” As many Chevrolet enthusiasts know, 100 years ago this November, one of the best-selling American truck manufacturers sent its first truck into the world. Since 1918, Chevy has manufactured more than 85 million trucks. In the 1960s, the company broke all-time sales records with their Chevrolet C/K series, a truck that helped usher in the new era of light-duty and heavy-duty pickups.
The 1967-1972 Chevy C/K series was originally named the “Action Line” trucks but, they are now more commonly known as Chevy’s “Glamour Pickup” series. The second-generation C/K trucks were given a new and more modern look with a redesigned exterior and updated suspension. Additionally, these trucks sat lower to the ground for easier access.
Out of the millions of trucks that Chevrolet has produced, one 1967 Chevy C-10 has lived on the Olson family farm since it was purchased in 1968. The MSRP for a 1967 Chevy C-10 Fleetside LWB was $2,258. When considering inflation rates, this would be the equivalent of $16,832.98.
Milo Olson recounts when he and his father, Merle, bought their first pickup.
“The ‘67 is pretty special to me because my dad and I got it with just a few miles on it, and it was the first pickup we had on the farm,” shared Milo.
The Chevy truck made its way home from Groton’s Trail Chevrolet dealership to the Olson’s farm in Langford, South Dakota, and it never really left.
Milo and his brother, Neil, used the truck when they helped their father on the farm.
“We milked cows and raised pigs. We would drive to Minnesota to pick up Holstein calves and put them in the back of the truck. Eventually, we put a homemade topper on the truck. We put a hitch and toolbox on it and towed it behind our implements so we had a way to get home once we were done in the fields,” Milo recalled. The brothers continue to run the family farm in Langford.
As the truck got older, the clutch was slipping, so the Olsons bought a new truck and parked the C-10.
“I drove by the C-10 every day and thought to myself, ‘One day, I’m going to restore it,’” said Milo.
Milo began working on the mechanical restoration himself. The Chevy received new brakes, spider gears and seals in the rear end. Then, Milo took it into a body shop, and there it sat for two years, torn apart.
Finally, Milo decided enough was enough and found a shop that would take on the resurrection of his C-10.
“When I took it to The Body Shop in Bradley, South Dakota, it was in pieces. Many of the parts were hauled into the shop in totes, boxes, and buckets—but Eric has experience with these older trucks, so I wasn’t worried. Eric told me it would be done in a year,” said Milo. The job took seven months.
All restorations completed were done in order to get the truck back to its original state. The C-10 has a 283-cubic inch V8 engine and a four-speed transmission. The two-wheel drive, half-ton truck includes a wooden long box and a vibrant red interior – an original color when the Olson’s bought it 50 years ago and drove it home. This hard-working American truck even has original hub caps.
This historic vehicle didn’t always look the way it does now. “Once we got all of the truck’s parts out of the totes and boxes, it took us about three or four weeks to put it together, and then of course, we had to take it apart again,” Eric Caulfield shared about the process.
The body’s restoration was what Caulfield calls a “floor up, all nuts and bolts job.” The truck received new rocker panels, a new cab corner, new floors, and an aftermarket tailgate.
Milo’s plans for the beautifully restored truck include taking the truck back to where it started with his family so many years ago.
“I want it on the farm. We put the truck back to all original parts because I want the next generation to know what we used on the farm. It’s a piece of history. It didn’t have all the bells and whistles like the trucks do now, but the C-10 did the job and was a nice pickup in those days,” he shared.
The truck will stay on the farm and be passed down to future generations of Olson farmers.
“I want the truck to stay in the family and go to my sons Travis and Troy Olson, and hopefully, one day, it will be passed down to my grandson, Chance,” shared Milo.
This truck’s legacy, thanks to Milo, has been restored to last.