2013 SEMA Show: 1978 Chevy Silverado K10 Steals the Show

3 K10 front II

Photos by Evan Sears

Probably the most gorgeous looking pickup in the GM booth during the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show was a classic bumper-to-bumper restoration of an 1978 K10 Silverado. During the five months leading up to SEMA, a select team of GM Performance guys went through every inch of this truck with a metal polishing brush and fine-tooth comb.

The restoration team bought the old 4x4 from a farmer in Wisconsin and thought the project would be a great complement to all the brand-new 2014 Silverados and SUVs GM was showcasing at the Las Vegas show.

The idea was to make every aspect of this truck better than before, so the first thing the engineers did after stripping and upgrading every inch of the frame and suspension was to stuff a brand-new 5.3-liter E-Rod V-8 crate motor (336 horsepower and 350 pounds-feet of torque) from the GM Performance catalog (Part No. 19258004) and mate it to a corporate 4L70E automatic transmission. The rebuilt truck uses the same New Process gear-driven manual-levered transfer case that came stock with the original truck, but all the brake parts and lines have been fully reconditioned. The suspension has the truck sitting about 2 inches taller than the stock height, and it wears fit 305/70R16 tires and 16-by-8-inch wheels.

Just as impressive as the details underneath, the inside and outside of the truck are highlighted by a two-tone black-on-red-theme. The bench seat is re-trimmed with simulated leather along with red-and-black houndstooth cloth. It cannot be overstated -- the interior is immaculate, complete with all the proper, fully restored deep-barrel gauges and plastic air-conditioning and heating controls.

Of all the trucks on the GM floor, this was the one that got the most oohs and ahs. There’s no question this truck made it into quite a few SEMA highlight news stories.

2 K10 label II

1 K10 engine II

4 K10 nose II

5 K10 headlight II

7 K10 interior II

10 K10 gauges II

11 K10 controls II

12 K10 door II

6 K10 rear II



Beautiful truck. I like the two tone color. Wonder if anybody these days would have the guts to offer two tone on Silverado, F150 or Ram.

Nice truck, this is what Chevy wheel wells used to look like, note they are not completely square with some rounding, now they have taken them and made them right angle squares with huge over down fender bulges.

Gregory, Ford and Ram do offer two tone on the higher end models.

Notice no low slung frame and sissy front end components.

That is another reason it was so popular.

Hank, they don't offer two crazy colors like black and red, do they? I haven't seen one.

@ Gregory J: Have you seen an F-150 King Ranch or Lariat, or a Ram Laramie Longhorn with the tan fenders and lower stripe? That's what they consider to be two-tone now. I know, it's nothing like what it used to be. But it still looks better, IMO, than one solid color.

Snapdragon, I've seen King Ranch trucks with different color bumpers and the same color lower part of the body.
The bumpers are obviously painted but are the doors as well? Or is it just plastic cover?

Something like this


Hands down the best looking truck of the 70's-80's era. And this one with the single round headlights was the best of them. The 80's stacked light theme didn't look as good. I don't know why they don't tie in the new 2014 square body tribute trucks with these in commercials. This is also the last time you saw a Chevy truck with true off road capabilities using that straight railed high frame and SFA. No low slung frame and torsion bar set up there. Beautiful rig. The 90's 400 series were Chevrolet's last winner of a truck but this was easily the last true truck with real truck capabilities of theirs. I'd still like to see a SEMA 4x4 truck of the one before this from the 1967-1972 era. Those were the best.

This truck brings back memories of my old 79 and 84. What a beauty.

But it has square wheel wells so that means it is no good! Oh, wait people are getting nostalgic so square whells wells don't matter anymore. LOL. Way to stay consistent.

It ain't a bad looking truck, but I see a striking resemblance to the '14 Silverado. Nothing has changed in terms of square wheel wells lol. The front clip has stayed the same. The fanboys also still think it's the greatest truck ever.

Listen folks, times are changing and so are truck buyers. While that Silverado may have looked fine in it's day, most of us certainly don't want to go out and buy a brand new truck that looks like it is stuck in time 25 years ago (AKA '14 Silverado).

If you do happen to be in the market for a new truck, I have a suggestion(not many people are aware of this class leading truck):




From the day when trucks were trucks. No acorns denting the hoods. No one pissing and moaning about tiny noises, or slight vibrations at highway speeds.

That is really nice, love it.

Speaking about stealing the show has everyone seen the new Miley Cyrus video...smoking hot!!!!!!!!


This is it! This is the era of trucks I grew up on! They are my favorite! This is why I love Old Chevy Trucks and why I'm not too crazy about the new ones! I've been posting on here for years now about GM going back to building what they used to build and paying attention to details. Look at that 2 tone paint! Look at the trim and designs on the door panels and dash! This era of GM trucks is why we have King Ranch's and Longhorn"s today but what does GM have? The new High Country needed 2 tone and more than just saddle leather. The new truck in general needed more style options and interior colors. I don't like a Denali at all. I'm still a GM guy I guess but it's not like being an OLD GM GUY!

That is a gorgious truck!

Yup.. love this truck. I'm a square body fan as I own one. Yes, after the 98-99 GM truck they went down hill. Ugly front ends from 2003-on. I would never purchase a truck after from gm unless they gave it to me. So for now. ill stick with my real square body truck.

It's funny how much my Dad's 1986 Silverado looked like that one on the inside. The same gauges, a/c controls, radio, and even the gas tank switch. I loved driving that truck, until he bought the all-new 1988 Silverado with the 5.7 liter! Back then, going from the 5.0 in the 1986 to the 5.7 in the 1988 was like going from a 4 cylinder to an 8 cylinder! What a huge power increase for the times. It didn't have a locking differential and rode on 235/75/15's which were like bicycle tires, so from a standstill I could nearly melt that rear right tire! My dad could never figure out why those rear "Tiger Paw" tires were balding so fast. LOL!!

Restoration?? I was under the impression a restoration was to bring back to original condition. This is hardly restoration.

Mark, is the transfer case really "a gear-driven" or is it a New Process 203 with no hubs? HI, HI LOCK, N, LOW, LOW LOCK.
In 1978 when you ordered an auto trans you had the 203 (chain driven). This truck has no hubs. If it had a "gear-driven" transfer case it would be a 205 with hubs.
If you ordered the manual trans you received the 208 with hubs (chain driven).
Did they swap in a 205 and forget the hubs?

GMguy74, Cool find, but the 2014 is an abomination.

Ahh...the last model of the GM 1/2 ton that wasn't utter garbage. The last model that was actually worth owning, before the engineering and quality control went totally into the dumpster. I remember these trucks fondly...

More chevyz

Just wanted to correct the article. The truck was built by mainly one guy not a team of people. I know because I am the person who did the build on this truck. Everything but the engine, trans, and back window on this truck are all stock org. to the truck. The 203 T case was sand blasted and powder coated then re assembled with a plate made by Advance Adapter to mount the trans and T case. I started the project in June after the Hot Rod Power Tour and finished it 3rd of Oct.

@ Gregory J: The two-tone on Lariat and King Ranch is paint, except for the fenders, which are tan-colored plastic, I think.

I wonder if one could custom-order the two-tone on an XLT truck. I don't see the point in paying $45K+ for a truck that's too nice to get dirty, but that tan color would look be-you-tee-full with the "Blue Jeans" on an XLT.

@Chris I had an 88 Chevy truck too.

The original equipment Tiger Paws were so lame that they wore out just sitting there!

Worst OEM tire of all time. The Uniroyals they make today are much better, though.

This is the only time square wheel wells looked good on something other than a Jeep. What a kick ass truck. It's also the last Chevy truck worth owning. The Super Duty picked up where this truck left off.

Finally, an article ABOUT A REAL TRUCK THAT'S NOT A CRAPTOR OR AN EGO BOOST!!!!!!!!!! There is some hope for this blog afterall.

This truck has made me want to go out and get an oold pick up to resto-mod. Ford, Dodge, Chevy, doesn't matter, just something simple and cool.

Thanks Larry I thought that transfer case lever was a NP 203, stock with the auto trans...Nice work!!!

This era of GM trucks is why we have King Ranch's and Longhorn"s today but what does GM have? The new High Country needed 2 tone and more than just saddle leather. The new truck in general needed more style options and interior colors. I don't like a Denali at all. I'm still a GM guy I guess but it's not like being an OLD GM GUY!

- You can blame Government Motors and their GovtMoCo Obama truck for that. The High Country is a joke and will continue to be a joke until the GovtMoCo Sierra is gone. Those morons at GM continue to try to split trims and options between 2 trucks and 2 dealers. They need to just be a 1 truck company. This segment is too important and competitive now to continue like it's 1960. GovtMotors will limit the High Country trim and Chevrolet in general until the end of time so GovtMoCo trucks can continue to prop up Buick/Opel/Europe/China operations. I love old school Chevrolet Motors, I hate GM.

Sweet truck and I love the headlights!

Hey Larry, Great job on the truck!

Do you do these with an open door or do you just service a select few customers for restorations?

yes Gregory, Ram makes Cherry red and black two tones...you wouldn't know it if you saw it. Ram makes two tones on atleast two trucks, Larimies and Outdoorsman. My 2010 TRX-4 was two tone.

If this stole the show.....I can't imagine that. Basic except for a crate motor 5.3.

Well, I'm not the kind to kiss and tell,
But Michigan Bob has been seen with Farrah.
Bob's never seen with anything less than a nine, so fine
Bob has been on fire with Sally Field,
Gone fast with a girl named Bo,

Michigan Bob might fall from a tall building,
He might roll a brand new car.
'Cause Bob is the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star.


yes Gregory, Ram makes Cherry red and black two tones...you wouldn't know it if you saw it. Ram makes two tones on atleast two trucks, Larimies and Outdoorsman. My 2010 TRX-4 was two tone.

If this stole the show.....I can't imagine that. Basic except for a crate motor 5.3.

Posted by: TRX 4 Tom | Nov 12, 2013 12:36:37 PM

Tom, If this truck was a rusted out '73 Dodge truck with a slant 6 you would think that it stole the show!! LMAO

I like the two tone on this truck, but for today two tone is out of syle, not a big fan of it on a modern truck.

Marcus I'm a GM tech at the Milford Proving Grounds and work in the Chevy Performance Group. We don't build vehicle for the public. Most of the stuff we do in Bld. 27 is for test, pace car, and performance show car. I've built lots of vehicles for SEMA Hot Rod Power Tour ect. The 78 was one of the not so labor intence builds. The engine and trans fit the org. truck frame like it was supposed to be in there back in 1978. Not like the work I had into the Hot Wheels 67 Camaro, or the 53 Suberban. oh to correct my other post, I finished the truck the 3rd week of Oct. Always down to the wire at SEMA time.

larry hebert ... nice work. Wish I had the time and funds to do a restoration (67 mustang coupe in the garage).
For those who say this is NOT a restoration, have you heard about RESTO-MOD? Very popular in the pony car genre. Who wants 60's suspension and < 1 HP per CID?! Unless, of course, your car is a tow princes and you have a very rare model, non rusted, low milage car. I seriously think this would happen with ANY truck of the 50's through 80's as trucks were used for work back then ... not station wagon/mini van replacements

@Larry, When is the 10 speed and Egoboost fighter coming?

@Larry Hebert.......... beautiful job! Since you are listening, anyway to convince Mark Ruess to commission a retro truck for us die hard original design GM fans? Or even give option packages that might make the new truck look more like a classic GM truck rather than GM's version of a Ram?
Please, give us modern interpretations of this "78 or even an old K5.
The new truck has body lines that would allow a 2 tone paint combo, why can't we have that option? And could we maybe get a "Heritage" package for the interior so it wont look like a German sedan inside?

What is the fuel economy for the new Ram eco Diesel?

Chevy Colorodo to be unveiled at LA auto show, teaser photo

Looks like Ram and Ford is about to get their A^& smoked in another segment 4500 Chevys GMCs are coming!!


This is back before corporate GM (Government Motors) ruined every company they ever bought up and housed. Chevrolet's, Old's and Caddy's are the classics. You can't beat this era of Chevrolet trucks unless you go backwards in time. When you saw that Bowtie, you knew you're getting the hard and tough work done and getting it done in style. Entirely what modern day Ford and even Dodge, Toyota and Nissan have been building upon. It was Chevrolet that started it all.

@ Terry


I would say this truck is a resto mod, only because we have a new motor and trans in it that was not part of the org. 1978 Truck. As far as new designs of vehicles, that falls under the folks at Design Center in Warren Mi. I know we have said some of the same things you are saying here though. If the car Co. can do a retro Camaro, Mustang, or Challanger, then why not a truck indeed.?.?. I myself think it would be very cool. I guess its a matter of what the masses want.

Mi. Bob have not seen much about the 10 speed trans stuff. They just feed me part for these builds and keep us in the dark. I guess you could say a lot of my work is still in the past with a modern twist. Most of the stuff I work on is the crate package stuff.

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