Many people have never seen a rare six-man crew cab. When they do, they might think it’s a custom build. In a way, they’re right. In the ’60s, Chevy dealers could commission these conversions from coach companies—in this case Stageway Coaches.
Stageway was a distributor for Armbruster & Company. Armbruster had been in the coach business since the horse-and-buggy days, catering to settlers moving west. In the early ’60s, the two companies merged. By then, horses had been replaced by engines, and the company was specializing in airport buses, hotel transportation station wagons, stretch limousines, and hearses, as well as six-man crew cab truck conversions.
Armbruster documents from the early ’60s describe these stretched pickups, built from a standard car and chassis. The rear doors were built to match the factory front doors. The chassis were lengthened more than 30 inches to accommodate the extended cabs and retain the original beds. Alternate methods were either to partially extend the chassis and shorten the bed or keep the stock-length chassis and drastically shorten the bed. Roger says that the Stageway conversion on his C10 involved that last method, taking 35 1/2 inches out of the original 8-foot bed.
These specially built C10s were expensive. This one’s March 1965 bill of sale from A&B Sales Company in Redfield, South Dakota, shows the total price as $4,263—the kind of money you would have spent for a luxury car. The vehicle price was $2,512, plus the cost of various typical options. The conversion, itemized as “Special Stageway Six Man Cab & Freight,” bumped the price up $1,257.
Virtually all of these trucks were ordered as work vehicles for construction companies, railroads, forestry service, and other industries needing to transport a small work crew—hence the term crew cab. This one wasn’t. “The truck was ordered new by a doctor in Redfield,” Roger found out. “He used it as a hunting truck on weekends, for hunting pheasants.” The doctor sold it three years later. “The second owner purchased it to use in his house painting business.”
When Roger’s nephew, Chad, found it in South Dakota in 2007, the truck was ready for some attention. For a truck that had served as a work vehicle for four decades it wasn’t in bad shape, except for some Midwestern rust. For Roger and Tammy, the appeal was the fact that it was something nobody else had.
The drawbacks were the odd-looking shortened bed, the external “barn door–style” rear door hinges, a short camper shell, and a ladder rack. Losing the camper and rack was easy. Converting the rear doors to hidden hinges was a bit more difficult. Roger extended the original frame 17 inches at the rear using the ’rails from another 1965 1/2-ton. That gave him the length he needed to swap the shortened bed for a reproduction 6-foot Chevy bed from LMC Truck.
The suspension was upgraded with Classic Performance Products shocks at all corners, and a CPP antiroll bar in the rear. Baer disc brakes at all wheels beef up the stopping power. Fifteen-inch wheels looked great on the truck when the doctor bought it new, but would look like shopping cart wheels on the supersized C10 today. The 20-inch Schott Wheels Americana D.Concave that took their place do a better job of filling the wheelwells and balancing the proportions. The beefy g-Force radials from BFGoodrich measure 245/40ZR20 and 275/40ZR20.
Power is provided by a 620-horse GM Performance LSX 454 crate engine. The modified air cleaner from a 2015 Camaro Z/28 feeds an LS7 Corvette electronic fuel injection system. The factory exhaust manifold draws gases from the 454 to custom 3-inch exhaust pipes, with Flowmaster mufflers handling the tone. A two-piece driveshaft connects the 4L80E transmission to the original 3.42-geared GM 12-bolt rearend and an Eaton limited-slip differential.
Roger is good at doing what he calls “the rough end work,” but says that “when it has to be pretty” he turns things over to Wayne and Will Keimig at Keimig Body Shop in Atchinson, Kansas. Will (Wayne’s son) handled the final body prep before painting all that sheetmetal with a two-tone combination of 1966-1969 Corvette Rally Red and Ford Wimbledon White.
The Corvette inspiration continues inside the stretched cab, where the factory C10 dash was painted with a Corvette interior shade of brown. Wayne upholstered 1964-1965 Corvette seats with a combination of leather and 1966 Chevy truck cloth inserts, and 1965 Corvette buckles were added to the re-webbed seatbelts. Will built the center console following the general shape of a 1963-1967 Corvette console. John Gleaves, Roger’s father, refinished the 1965 Corvette teak wood steering wheel.
John also contributed the beautiful burled black walnut that makes up the bed floor. “The wood came from my Uncle Lloyd, who was clearing land and kept this log because of its unique character,” Roger explains. “My dad wasn’t a car guy; his hobby was woodworking. He purchased the log and had it cut into lumber so that we could use it to build a piece of furniture together someday. Twenty-five years passed and no projects were ever dreamed up. As the crew cab was coming along well, I told my dad that I had an idea for some of that black walnut.” John agreed to do the mill work, but his deteriorating health prevented it. A friend from John’s woodworkers’ guild took on that job, and John determined the proper position for each board. “Dad never got to see the finished results, but I know that when we take the truck to shows he looks down and approves of the project I chose to use it on.”
1965 Chevy C10 Stageway Crew CabRoger & Tammy GleavesCHASSISFrame: Stock, extended Rearend / Ratio: Stock GM 12-bolt / 3.42:1, Eaton limited-slip Rear Suspension: Classic Performance Products springs Rear Brakes: Baer drilled and slotted disc brakes, four-piston calipers Rear Axles: Moser Front Suspension: Classic Performance Products springs, front antisway bar Front Brakes: Baer drilled and slotted disc brakes, six-piston calipers, Baer master cylinder adjustable proportioning valve Front Wheels: B Schott Wheels Americana D.Concave 20×8.5 Rear Wheels: Schott Wheels Americana D.Concave 20×10 Front Tires: BFGoodrich g-Force 245/40ZR20 Rear Tires: BFGoodrich g-Force 275/40ZR20 Gas Tank: Rock Valley 18-gallon fuel tank
80mesh Garnet Sand
DRIVETRAIN Engine: Chevrolet Performance LSX 454 Compression: 11.0:1 Exhaust: GM Performance manifold, 3-inch custom Mufflers: Flowmaster 40-series Transmission: GM 4L80E Torque Converter: ATI Performance Product Driveshaft: Two-piece
BODYStyle: 1965 Chevy C10 with Stageway six-man crew cab conversion Modifications: Rebuilt steel headliner, inner door panels built to match the front doors, GM late-model pickup hidden hinges added to rear doors Bed: LMC Truck reproduction box, custom burled black walnut floor Fenders: Stock Hood: Stock Headlights / Taillights: Stock / Stock Grille: Stock Bumpers: Stock Mirrors: 1963-1967 Corvette Bodywork: Owner and Keimig Body Shop Paint: PPG 1966-1969 Corvette Rally Red, Ford Wimbledon White Painter: Will Keimig at Keimig Body Shop
INTERIORModifications: Rear door panels fabricated to match front, center console Dashboard: Stock dash with tach, air vents installed Gauges: Stock Steering Wheel: 1965 Corvette with factory teak Steering Column: ididit tilt/shifter Seats: 1964-1965 Corvette Upholsterer: Keimig Body Shop Carpet / Color: Loop pile / Gray Air Conditioning: Vintage Air Sound System: Stock
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