Speedy Petey Walsh’s ’79 Big 10 Survivor
We all know a guy like Pete Walsh. You know, the guy who always scores the cool cars out from under your nose. The guy who scours Facebook Marketplace and the trader mags for the good stuff. Pete is admittedly obsessed with doing his due diligence and it pays off. And his collection of weird and one-off squarebodies is growing daily.
This ‘79 Big 10 fits right into his hoard. Its list of optional equipment reads like a dealership brochure. According to Pete, his truck was ordered by a dealer in Poulsbo, Washington, in December of 1978. What arrived in March of ‘79 was arguably one of the coolest color combos available and possibly one of the rarest.
His truck wears its fair share of the original Shamrock Green Metallic paint it left the factory with, give or take a few touch ups here and there. The paint color is special in its own right, but even more interesting is the interior. The RPO code 12W XMM4 Mystic Oyster White high back bucket seats and console are a rare find in a pickup truck of this era. When you add in power windows, power locks, Z53 gauge package with U16 tach, cruise control, comfortilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers, AM/FM radio, and air conditioning, you have a recipe for an over-the-top cruiser that identifies more as a Cadillac than a work truck. Heck, this thing even has the optional T44 inside hood release.
Walking around the outside, more unique options provide a feast for the eyes. Sport mirrors reside where you might normally find bulky standard units. Full Silverado trim is front and center, topped off by the optional V22 chromed grille. The A28 sliding rear window is tinted as is the rest of the glass as part of the A01 option code.
The underside of Pete’s truck reveals all of the treats accompanying the F44 BIG 10 option. The original 350 cube small block – in all of its gritty glory – sends power through a TH350 trans into the 3.40:1 geared rear axle. The F59 front stabilizer bar and heavy-duty front and rear shocks were ordered to help out in the handling department. Dual fuel tanks let him cruise a little farther than normal, all in the name of luxury.
Speedy Petey isn’t one to leave a 59,691 mile original truck completely stock. To modernize things a bit while improving the aesthetics and handling, he put together a 4”/5” drop. It’s nothing crazy, and the purists out there will appreciate the fact that it can easily be returned to stock. Modern-sized Wheel Vintiques 15×8 (4” back space) and 15×10 (5” backspace) were sourced from Automotion Race Cars in Indianapolis. Eagle eyes will notice the ‘72 model poverty caps. While they’re obviously not original to the truck, Pete simply likes them better than the ‘79 caps.
When it comes to scooping up the ones that get away from everyone else, love him or hate him, Pete has the touch. To those who think the barn finds and survivors are drying up, he offers two simple words of advice, “Keep trying.” “They’re still out there, but you can’t wait for them to come to you. I’m looking on the internet for the next one every single night. Making the calls, sending the emails. The hunt is fun, but driving them and having them parked in my shop is even more fun!” Words to live by in every sense. Get out there and do it. And drive the wheels off ‘em!