Build Updates: Our 1960 Chevrolet C20 Fleetside Apache Project

The Chevrolet C/K series trucks were introduced in 1960 as the no-nonsense work truck. The C/K truck series was Chevrolet’s most popular truck line ever, with a manufacturing range from 1960-2002. The legacy of the first generation C/K pickup trucks is that these no-frills vehicles changed how pickup trucks would be designed for the next four decades by introducing a car-like ride in a truck. The improved ride came by virtue of a drop-center ladder frame that allowed the cab to sit lower, and an independent front suspension. Our project vehicle is an unmodified three-quarter ton fleetside truck that we saved from a wrecking yard. Completely stock and unmodified, the truck even came with the stock standard 235ci straight-six cylinder engine.

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In the true spirit of an Apache warrior, we take a 56-year old survivor from the graveyard and restore the once proud workhorse back to daily driver status using a common sense blend of stock replacement components with a touch of modern technology for efficiency. Unlike many other classic truck projects that are restored to 100 point concours inspection or the highly modified chopped, bagged and slammed with outrageously expensive and exotic components, our project will be a “why worry,” project warrior – using bolt-on parts to maintain the functionality and a stock-like appearance of this modernized classic.

Like most other blue collar projects, this build will be all budget, with an emphasis on salvaging or repairing most of the original equipment. Granted, the end result will not be a high-horsepower monster or creature comfort filled restomod. Rather than point out what it is not, we are going to focus on what it is, and cherish those elements. That mentality completely encompasses the Apache warrior spirit and we are proud to name this project after the greatest of all Apache warriors, Geronimo.

In terms of historical relevance, the 235ci Thriftmaster engine was considered a brute in its day. The original 1953 Corvette engine was the high-pressure 235ci engine equipped with mechanical lifters. We plan on keeping this old stove bolt engine, and cherish it because it is not just another small-block 350.

Historical Perspective

The 1960 model year Chevrolet pickup brought a new body style of a lighter pickup with many firsts for trucks. The most significant of these were a drop-center ladder-style frame that allowed the cab to sit lower. Combined with an independent front suspension, this new style gave trucks an almost car-like ride, unheard of before in pickup truck construction. The 1960,1961, & 1962 models used torsion bar front suspension, with trailing arm suspension rear.

The new series of trucks allowed GM to create a new designation system for trucks with 10, 20, or 30 representing 1/2, 3/4, and one-ton trucks models respectively. The conventional two-wheel drive was represented by a “C” in front of the vehicle size and a “K” denoted a four-wheel drive truck. The C or K series trucks carried the previous Task Force series badging in 1960 with the 10, 20, 30, or 40 series badged as “Apache.” The 50 and 60 series were badged as “Viking,” and the bigger 70, 80, and 90 series trucks were badged as “Spartan.”

When most manufacturers were using single steel roof, the new Chevrolet pickups used a double-wall steel construction in the C/K series. The wraparound windshield from the previous generation Chevy trucks remained, along with the simple trim options of base and custom. The body was available in Fleetside and Stepside versions. The 1960 and 1961 model of the C/K trucks featured the famous “eyebrows” on the hood, a popular design element for younger buyers.

The body and bed on this old beast is rough, but we have a set of hammers and a welder.

1960 Chevrolet C20 Fleetside Apache Original Specs:

Model number: C2504
Body Style: two-door, regular size cab, two-wheel drive, 3/4 ton longbed
Layout: Front engine, Rear drive layout
Engine: 235ci Thriftmaster, 135 hp, Inline six
Transmission: three-speed synchromesh manual
Wheelbase: 127 inches
Length: 206 inches
Width: 78.75 inches
Curb Weight: 4,405 pounds

Follow along as we bring this old truck back to daily driver status.

For build updates, newest to oldest, scroll down.

Stay tuned, we have project update articles coming shortly.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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