Jada Just Trucks 1957 Suburban and 1969 C10 Stepside
Classic Chevys with a Custom Touch
Chevrolet started on a roll for 1955. A stylish new Bel Air headlined the automotive offerings, powered by a cutting-edge 265-cubicinch overhead-valve V-8 that was destined for greatness. The famed small-block Chevy (SBC) wasn’t reserved solely for the sedan; the ’ Vette got it, and it was made optional in the all-new Task Force truck line, which included a wagonbacked utility version of the shorter-wheelbase platform known as the “Suburban.” For 1957, the V-8 was bored out to 283ci, making 160 horsepower and a stout 270 lb.-ft. of torque. More significantly, 4-wheel drive became available in the Suburban for the first time in ’57.
The Task Force trucks would give way to the C/K series in 1960. The letter designated the driveline configuration— C-models were 2-wheel-drive vehicles, while a K was a 4X4— and the number denoted the payload rating: “10” for 1/2-ton, “20” for 3/4-ton, and “30” for 1-ton models. The styling would be redesigned for 1967, gaining a sleek, modern design that was lower and more squared off, establishing the basic proportions that would carry it up to the cusp of the 21st century. As with previous models, the 1967–72 trucks came with two optional wheelbase/bed-length combinations and with smooth “Fleetside” or “Stepside” boxes. For 1969, five different engines were now offered: a pair of straight-6s and three different V-8s. The base V-8 was now a 200hp 307, but 1969 also saw the introduction of the 350—by far the most iconic incarnation of the SBC—good for 255hp.
And there was now a big-block option with the addition of a 396.
Jada offers one of the most extensive truck-specific lines in the 1:24 space with its aptly named “Just Trucks.” There are actually 1:32 and 1:64 products in the series as well, but given their additional detail, it’s the
1:24 vehicles that command our closest attention. We’re showing two here because they represent two different facets of the series: the ’69 C10 Stepside is a traditional 1:24 release, while the ’57 Suburban is one of the sets that will include a bonus set of wheels that you can swap onto a spare set of axles using an included tool. Roughly a dozen of the castings in the Just Trucks series offer at least one version with bonus wheels. Some are off-road-oriented, while others have retro-style wheels with a definite rat-rod vibe. Some—like the Suburban— come with a mix of styles: one set of black steelies wrapped in stock-size whitewalls, with a second set of modern, large-diameter 5-spoke alloy wheels with low-profile tires.
The Suburban we got was still preproduction, so the axles to swap on the bling rims were MIA, but we prefer the white walls on this particular truck. The C10 gets ultra-low-profile rubber from the get-go, mounted on double 5-spoke wheels with flat black centers.
Jada routinely overdelivers in the paint department, offering finishes and graphics that seem impossible at the sub-$20 prices these trucks command. The C10 has a red satin finish the company refers to as “Primer Red” and fantasy customshop graphics on the doors; it’s a great color that contrasts nicely against the black wheels. The only obvious clues to the Chevy’s entry-level origins are the hood and door gaps, but the fact that they both open—along with the tailgate—is a big point in the C10’s favor. The same holds true for the Suburban. The color here is gloss black, highlighted by a green-flame scheme that completely transforms the slab-sided profile. Even on this preproduction version, the paint is almost pristine, showing just the slightest orange peel on the rear flanks. The grille and bumpers have been dechromed and appear to be unfinished black plastic, just slightly less glossy than the body. In ’57, Suburbans came as 2-door models only, and could be ordered with panel doors or a tailgate at the back. Jada’s has the latter; the rear glass lifts upward and the tailgate folds down, but both are a bit loose on this preproduction model.
Both trucks have opening doors and black plastic interiors, with chrome steering wheels adding a splash of brightness. The Suburban has a split bench seat and a columnshifted manual transmission, whereas the C10 has a solid bench and a column-shifted Turbo-Hydramatic 400. Some similarities can be found under the hood as well. Both trucks have SBC V-8s—the C10 has the 350 and the Suburban the 283; neither is overwhelmingly detailed, but the 283 has a definite advantage.
One of the strengths of the Jada brand lies in its design team’s eye for capturing custom trends authentically, a knack that is on display in both of these trucks. Sitting low on its whitewall tires, the flame-sided Suburban has a rat-rod/hot-rod vibe that plays quite well on the ’57 body, whereas the C10 follows more of the modern restomod trend. Both are fun and present well, delivering two iconic Chevy body styles to the entry-level market as exceptional values.