It’s election day in the U.S.A., and to celebrate that auspicious occasion today’s Nice Price or No Dice candidate is that most American of vehicles, the pickup truck. Let’s see if this all-American Chevy has what it takes to win your vote.
If you’ve seen the David Cronenberg version of The Fly then you no doubt recall the scene in which Jeff Goldblum’s Brundlefly adds an ear to his medicine cabinet, which has become a reliquary of sloughed-off appendages and protrusions. He addresses the collection as archaisms — mementos of a bygone life — but keeps them around in the attempt to maintain a tenuous connection to the comfort of that past.
Yesterday’s 1994 Buick Century wagon was another blast from a particular past, one in which the station wagon was a more common sight on the road. At just $2,350, that relic longroof was cheap enough to keep the past alive, a fact reflected in its healthy 60 percent Nice Price win.
Station wagons are great at hauling people and cargo, though not necessarily at the same time. Equipped with multiple rows of fold-flat seats, a wagon can carry more of one or the other as each need arises.
Pickup trucks, on the other hand, lack that multitasker mien. Even so, an open-bed truck has significant value in today’s automotive market. If that were not the case, the pickup wouldn’t be sitting atop the sales charts here in the States, year after year. I mean, as a people we don’t generally vote against our best interests, do we?
This 1988 Chevrolet C1500 was not the best seller for its model year. In 1988, that title went to Ford’s F-Series pickup with 588,452 sold for the year. Chevy, though, came in a laudable second with 489,882 trucks moved out the door.
Since that second-place finish, this standard cab long bed truck has been piling up the miles and wearing out its engine. According to the ad, those miles now total 223,000, and that engine — originally a lowly 305 V8— has been upgraded to a 350-inch small block with 165k on the ticker.
Accompanying the bigger and lower-mileage mill is a TH400 three-speed automatic with a column shift. The gearbox is claimed to have been fully refreshed just 3,000 miles ago. The ad says that records are available for the overhaul and for other maintenance work done through the years.
Other updates include a Belltech suspension that lowers the truck a good bit, an aftermarket moonroof and a full tonneau for the bed.
The bodywork is reasonably clean, although the seller does note a scratch in the paint on the driver’s door and a rust bubble on one front fender. Remarkably, all of the side trim is intact, as is the chrome on the unmarred front bumper.
The interior features a full bench with a drop-on console. The upholstery doesn’t look to be original, but it seems in decent shape nonetheless. Despite this being a Scottsdale edition, there’s nothing particularly fancy here. There is a/c, but the window winders are of the Armstrong variety and you lock and unlock the doors with either the second key or interior lever. That’s all dirt simple, which should make those bits fairly trouble-free.
There’s a lot to like under the hood, too. The SBC that lives there has been dressed up with some sweet black rocker covers, and those are countered by a chrome air cleaner housing. Everything — wiring, a/c lines, etc. — looks tidy and clean. There are plenty of go-faster parts available for this engine in case you fancy the idea of giving it more go. Alternatively, you could yank it out and plug in one of those electric dealios that GM is now touting.
Before you do any of that, however, there’s a small hurdle that we’ll have to get over. That’s the truck’s $4,000 asking price. The seller claims that figure to be firm, but sweetens the deal by offering that the truck comes with a clean title and not one, but two, winter tires.
What do you think, could this half-ton pickup pick up that $4,000 asking? Or, does that price make this truck not worth getting out of bed?
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