For over a century, the Chevy vs Ford debate has been a heated topic for automotive enthusiasts, especially when it comes to trucks. One of the most popular rivalries is the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado, but what about the trucks that preceded them? Both the Ford F-100 and Chevy C10 are the trucks that directly led to the production of both the F-150 and Silverado. Still collected and loved by many, the C10 vs F-100 debate is still relevant during this day and age. What makes the Chevy C10 and Ford F-100 different from each other? Let’s find out as we compare these two popular classic trucks!
For the second generation of the F-Series, Ford switched to a new naming structure for their trucks. Instead of the F-1, Ford renamed their signature truck the F-100, adding a “00” to the end of all their truck designations. So while the Ford F-Series has been around since 1948, the F-100 wasn’t available until 1953 and lasted until 1984. In 1975, Ford launched the F-150, which was slightly different than its F-100 stablemate. It quickly became the most popular Ford truck, eventually replacing the F100 entirely. While the Chevy C10 came out in 1960, a few years later than the F100, the C10 lasted until 1987 when it was replaced with the next generation of C/K trucks. For around 30 years, these two trucks dominated the industry and remain popular with enthusiasts and collectors alike.
C10 vs F100: Exterior & Interior
Both the Chevy C10 and Ford F-100 had two different styles of trucks. Even though both styles were similar in appearance, Chevy and Ford obviously had different names for them. Chevy dubbed the two styles the Stepside and Fleetside, while the Ford styles were known as the Flareside and Styleside. Both the Stepside and Flareside had wheel arches located on the exterior of the truck bed, with a step in between the wheel well and cab. By having the wheels located on the outside of the truck bed, the cargo space was a perfect rectangular shape. The Fleetside and Styleside, however, had the wheel wells located within the truck bed. While the Stepside and Flareside had more dimension, the Fleetside and Styleside featured a sleek design, with straight lines a main distinguishing characteristic between the two.
Another remarkable characteristic of both the Ford F-100 and the Chevy C10 is the grille design. Grilles usually evolve many times over the course of a vehicle’s lifetime, the C10 and F100 included. For the F-100, the grille design changed every year from 1953 to 1956. Chevy also updated the grille for the C10 many times, featuring a new egg crate grille in 1971 before switching to a two-level grille in 1984. The F-100 was redesigned in 1979, receiving an updated grille and rectangular headlights. When comparing the exterior of the Ford F100 vs C10, it all comes down to personal preference.
The inside of both the Chevy C10 and Ford F-100 are also relatively similar, with many models featuring bench seats. In 1974, the first extended cab SuperCab was available for the F-100 model, featuring center-facing jump seats or a front-facing bench that was easily foldable for extra storage when not in use. If you’re working on restoring one of these trucks, be sure to check out CJ’s wide variety of interior components for both the C10 and F100! Updating an inner cabin is one of the most fun and easiest parts of restoring an older vehicle.
C10 vs F100: Performance
When the 1953 Ford F-100 was released, it was the first time an automatic transmission became available for the F-100. It was also during that year when the “Y-Block” engine replaced the flathead V8 engine with the valves in the block. A few years later, in 1959, Ford introduced the first factory-built four-wheel drive F-100. A Twin I-Beam front suspension with coil springs was added in 1965 for the fourth-generation F-Series trucks, but only for the light-duty two-wheel drive models. For the 1980 model year, Ford improved the aerodynamics and fuel economy of the F-Series, including the F-100. But the F-100 only had a few more years left before it was discontinued in 1984 due to the popularity of the newly released F-150.
For the first-generation Chevy C10, the truck featured independent front suspension, using strong torsion bars in the front and coil springs in the rear. While the torsion bars were replaced with coil springs in 1963, the suspension received a bigger update in 1967 when Chevy added an independent coil spring trailing arm for the front suspension on two-wheel drive trucks. For the third-generation Chevy C10, a 5.7L V8 engine was offered for the C10 only. The third-generation C10 also featured rubber control arm bushings that helped improve ride quality. In 1986, the Vortec V6 fuel-injected engine debuted, which was the most powerful base engine for Chevy trucks.
In regard to performance, both the Chevy C10 and Ford F-100 progressed as technology became more modern. Constantly updating to fit the needs and wants of consumers, these trucks have helped define the truck industry as we know it today. Through their innovative design and engineering, the Chevy C10 and Ford F-100 paved the way for two of the best-selling trucks in America, the F-150, and Silverado.
C10 vs F100: Buying Checklist
If you’re shopping around for a vintage truck, then there are a few things you should look for before buying a Chevrolet C10 or Ford F-100. Be sure to check for these items before you make a purchase, or you could end up spending much more time and effort on your project car then you planned!
- Create a Budget (and stick to it!): Restoring older vehicles can quickly become more expensive than initially intended. Buying someone’s old project truck on the cheap might end up costing you more than if you had just opted for a slightly more expensive model to start with.
- Get Informed: Research is critical when it comes to buying a vintage truck! Knowing the correct retail value and what a truck is worth gives you extra bargaining power.
- Look at the Mileage: Lower is always better when it comes to mileage, but trucks with fewer miles will undoubtedly be pricier. Opting for a truck with more miles is fine, just as long as it isn’t overpriced.
- Is It Rusty? Of course, rust is the main thing to look for when looking at any classic vehicle. There’s bound to be a little bit of rust, but you don’t necessarily want a truck that looks like Tow Mater from Cars.
- Examine the Exterior & Interior: Look for factory original components in good condition. Check the dashboard, seats, badges, and upholstery for any damage. Also look for any signs the vehicle may have been water damaged.
- Test Drive: This is easily the most enjoyable part of the entire buying process! Make sure to test drive any prospective vehicle and listen to how it sounds. If something doesn’t sound right, that can be an indicator that there is an underlying issue. Feel how the vehicle rides — is it bumpy or loose? If you don’t like how the truck feels when you’re driving it, then it’s not the right truck for you.
- Check the Title and VIN: So you’ve decided on a truck, but before you go through with the purchase you should always check to make sure the vehicle is registered properly and that the VIN is correct.
- Have Fun! As stressful as the buying process is, don’t forget to have a little fun! Shopping around for a new vintage truck is exciting, so you should enjoy it while you can and take the opportunity to learn as much as possible.
Sources:What to Know When Buying Your Dream Classic Car, State Farm | Ford F-Series: A Brief History, AutoNxt | The History of the Chevy C10, It Still Runs Image Credit: hemmings.com, media.chevrolet.com, trucktrend.com
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