Chevrolet C/K
Manufacturer General Motors
Also called GMC C/K
GMC Sierra
Production 1960–2000 United States
1965–2000 Canada
1964–2001 Brazil
1975–1982 Chile
1960–1978/1986–1994 Argentina
Predecessor Task Force
Successor Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra
Class Full-size pickup truck
Body style(s) 2-door regular cab
3-door extended cab
4-door crew cab
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
The C/K is the name for Chevrolet and GMC's full-size pickup truck line from 1960 until 1999 in the United States, from 1965 to 1999 Canada, from 1960–1978/1986–1994 in Argentina, from 1964 through 2001 in Brazil, and from 1975 to 1982 in Chile. The first Chevrolet pickup truck appeared in 1924, though in-house designs did not appear until 1930. "C" denoted two-wheel drive while "K" denoted four-wheel drive. The C/K light-duty pickup truck was replaced with the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in 1999 in the US and Canadam, in 2000 in Argentina, and 2001 in Brazil; the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD heavy-duty pickup trucks followed in 2001.

For the first Chevrolet C Series, made from 1911 to 1913, see Chevrolet Series C Classic Six, (the first Chevy).

First generation 1960–1966Edit

First generation
1964 chevy
Also called C10/K10
Production 1960–1966
Engine(s) 230 in³ (3.8 L) I6
236 in³ (3.9 L) I6
250 in³ (4.1 L) I6
261 in³ (4.3 L) I6
292 in³ (4.8 L) I6
305 in³ (5.0 L) V6
283 in³ (4.6 L) V8
327 in³ (5.4 L) V8
Wheelbase 115 in (2,921 mm) (short box)
127 in (3,226 mm) (long box)
The 1960 model year introduced a new body style of light pick-up truck that featured many firsts. Most important of these were a drop-center ladder frame, allowing the cab to sit lower, and independent front suspension, giving an almost car-like ride in a truck. Also new for 1960 was a new designation system for trucks made by GM. Gone was the 3100, 3200, and 3600 designations for short 1/2, long 1/2 and 3/4-ton models. Instead, a new scheme would assign a 10, 20, or 30 for 1/2, 3/4, and 1-ton models. Since 1957, trucks were available from the factory as 4-wheel drive, and the new class scheme would make this known. A C (Conventional) in front of the series number would indicate 2-wheel rear drive while a K would denote 4-wheel drive. Actual badging on trucks still carried the series name system from the previous generation. The 10, 20, and 30 series (C or K) were badged as "Apache 10", etc. 40, 50, and 60 series trucks were badged as "Viking 40", and the largest 70, 80, and 90 series models were marked "Spartan 70" etc. in 1960, C/K trucks were available in smooth "Fleetside" or fendered "Stepside" versions. GMC called these "Wideside" and "Fenderside." Half-ton models were the C10 and K10 short-bed trucks, and C15 and K15 long-bed trucks. The 3/4-ton C20 and K20, as well as the one-ton C30, were also available. GMC did not use the "C" nomenclature, though their 4x4 versions had the "K" designation. The 1962 model used torsion bar front suspension, with trailing arm suspension rear. Trim lines were base and "Custom." Engines included the base GMC 305 in³ V6 for the GMC version, 135 hp (101 kW) 236 in³ (3.9 L) and 150 hp (112 kW) 261 in³ (4.3 L) straight-6s, and a 283 in³ (4.6 L) V8 with 185 hp (119 kW).

A coil-spring front suspension came in 1963; along with a new base engine, a 140 hp (104 kW) 230 in³ (3.8 L) I6, and an optional 165 hp (123 kW) 292 in³ (4.8 L) I6. The cab was changed for 1964, with elimination of the "wraparound" windshield and a new front grille design, along with various interior changes. Air conditioning and a 220 hp (164 kW) 327 in³ (5.4 L) V8 came in 1965. A new base engine finished the model in 1966 with a 155 hp (116 kW) 250 in³ (4.1 L) I6.

Second generation 1967–1972Edit

Second generation
1972 GMC Sierra Custom Camper
Production 1967–1972
Assembly Atlanta, GA
Baltimore, MD
Pontiac, MI
Flint, MI
Tarrytown, NY
Kansas City, MO
St. Louis, MO
Janesville, WI
Norwood, OH
Fremont, CA
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Buenos Aires, Argentina

250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
292 cu in (4.8 L) I6
283 cu in (4.6 L) V8
307 cu in (5 L) V8
327 cu in (5.4 L) V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) V8
396 cu in (6.5 L) V8
402 cu in (6.6 L) V8

GMC models continued to offer the 305 and 351 c.i. V6s through 1970.
Transmission(s) 3-speed manual
4-speed Muncie SM465 manual
2-speed Powerglide automatic
3-speed THM-350 automatic
3-speed THM-400 automatic
Wheelbase 115 in (2,921 mm) (short box)
127 in (3,226 mm) (long box)
133 in (3,378 mm) (Longhorn)
Length 188.5 in (4,788 mm) (short box)
207.75 in (5,277 mm) (long box)
213.75 in (5,429 mm) (Longhorn Fleetside)
217.75 in (5,531 mm) (Longhorn Stepside)
'68 GMC C-K (Centropolis Laval '10)

1968 GMC C/K

Chevrolet C-10 pickup

Chevrolet C-10 stepside

GMC C-K (Byward Auto Classic)


Chevrolet C-K Cheyenne 10 (Hudson)

Chevrolet C-10 Cheyenne

Chevrolet C-K (Les chauds vendredis '10)

Chevrolet C/K

A new, more modern look came in 1967, along with a new nickname: "Action Line". It was with this revision of the C/K truck that General Motors began to add comfort and convenience items to a vehicle line that had previously been for work purposes alone. The majority of 10 and 20 series Chevrolet trucks from 1967 to 1972 were built with a coil spring trailing arm rear suspension, which greatly improved the ride over traditional leaf springs. However, the leaf spring rear suspension was still available on those trucks, and standard on 30 series trucks. GMC models came standard with leaf springs with coils springs optional; all four-wheel drive models (Chevrolet and GMC) had leaf springs on both axles. This was the only year of the "small rear window"; it was replaced with larger rear glass in 1968. The standard drivetrain came with a three speed manual transmission and one of two engines; the 250 in³ straight six or the 283 cu in (4.6 L) V8. The optional transmissions were the four speed manual, the Powerglide and the Turbo-Hydramatic 350 and 400. The 292 six and the 327 in³ V8 were the optional engines. The 1/2 ton trucks came with a 6 x 5.5" bolt pattern, the 3/4 and 1 ton trucks came with an 8 x 6" bolt pattern.

In 1968, the 283 cu in (4.6 L) V8 was replaced with a 307 cu in (5 L) and a 310 hp (231 kW), 396 cu in (6.5 L) V8 was offered for the first time. The most visible change in differentiating a 1968 from a 1967 was the addition of side-marker reflectors on all fenders. Also, the small rear window cab was no longer available. The GMC grille was revised, with the letters "GMC" no longer embossed in the horizontal crossbar. Another addition was the Custom Comfort and Convenience interior package that fell between the Standard cab and CST cab options. In 1968, Chevrolet celebrated 50 years of truck manufacturing, and to commemorate, they released a 50th Anniversary package, which featured an exclusive white-gold-white paint scheme. Also in 1968, the Longhorn model debuted on 3/4 ton trucks. Featuring a 133" wheelbase identical to the one ton vehicles, it added an extra 6" to the bed. Longhorns, interestingly, were 2wd only; no factory Longhorn 4x4 was built.

The 327 c.i. V-8 engine was enlarged in 1969 to 350 CID (piston stroke increased .23") with a net horsepower rating of 195-200, depending on emissions package 255 hp (190 kW), 350 cu in (5.7 L). Along with the new engines came a new grille design for Chevrolet trucks and a more upright hood for both Chevrolet and GMC trucks. A utility variant, known as the K5 Blazer, was also introduced with a shorter wheelbase of 104 inches (2,642 mm). The GMC version, known as the Jimmy, was introduced the same year. Some internal cab changes were also made, most notably the switch from a hand-operated parking brake to a foot pedal, and a more modern looking two-spoke steering wheel with plastic horn button replaced the previous year's three-spoke wheel with chrome horn button. Also new this year were upper and lower side moldings, which added another two-tone paint option. These were standard on CST trucks, and optional in any other trim level.

The only noticeable change for 1970 was a minor update to the Chevrolet grille. At first glance, the 1969 and 1970 grilles appear identical. However, the 1970's plastic inserts actually have highlights that break the appearance into six separate sections. The 396, while still sold as such, was enlarged to 402 cubic inches starting in 1970.

Several changes occurred in 1971. First came another new grille design (the "egg crate") for Chevrolet trucks and black paint over portions of the GMC grille. Second, an additional trim package was introduced: the Cheyenne. On GMC models, this was referred to as the Sierra. These packages consisted mostly of comfort features — nicer interiors, more padding and insulation, carpet, chrome trim, and upper and lower side molding and tailgate trim. Nineteen seventy-one was the first year for AM/FM radios factory installed. Finally, the front brakes on all light-duty trucks were switched from drum brakes to disc brakes, resulting in much less brake fade under heavy use. While many prior C/K half-ton trucks had used a six-lug bolt pattern (6 x 5.5") for the wheels, two-wheel-drive models switched to a five-lug pattern (5 x 5" bolt circle) common to Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Cadillac passenger cars. The 1/2 ton 4 x 4 retained the 6 lug bolt pattern. This bolt pattern would remain the standard through the end of the C/K series (along with the Chevrolet/GMC vans). Also, Chevrolet changed the 396 V8 emblem designation to 400 V8.

The 1972 models were virtually identical to 1971 models, with the only change being the rear view mirror was glued to the windshield instead of being bolted to top of the cab, and metal or vinyl-covered flat door panels were no longer available; all trim level door panels were molded plastic with integral armrests and wood grain inserts on Cheyenne and Sierra trim levels. For restoration, it should also be noted that the door and window cranks were slightly longer due to the molded plastic door panels, and the vent windows were now secured with a single screw on the inside of the door, thus differentiating it from the 1971 model year.


Year 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972
Inline 6 250 in³
292 in³
250 in³
292 in³
250 in³
292 in³
250 in³
292 in³
250 in³
292 in³
250 in³
292 in³
V6 (GMC) 305 in³
351 in³
305 in³
351 in³
305 in³
V8 283 in³
327 in³
307 in³
327 in³
396 in³
307 in³
350 in³
396 in³
307 in³
350 in³
396 in³
307 in³
350 in³
402 in³
307 in³
350 in³
402 in³

Trim Levels (Chevrolet)

Years Base Mid-level Top-line Special
1967-70 C/10 Custom/10 CST/10
1971 Custom/10 CST/10 Cheyenne/10
late 1971-72 CST/10 Cheyenne/10 Cheyenne Super Cheyenne Highlander

A 10, 20, or 30 on the emblem indicates 1/2, 3/4, or 1 ton trucks.

Trim Levels (GMC)

Years Base Mid-level Top-line Special
1967-70 1500 Custom 1500 Super Custom 1500
1971 Custom 1500 Super Custom 1500 Sierra 1500
late 1971-72 Super Custom 1500 Sierra 1500 Sierra Grande 1500 Sierra Highlander

1500, 2500, and 3500 designations were used to indicate 1/2, 3/4, and 1-ton trucks.

In both series, the 'Highlander package' included special color-coordinated houndstooth cloth inserts and additional trim colors and insulation.

Third generation 1973–1987 (–1991)Edit

Third generation
81-87 Chevrolet CK
Production 1973–1987 (2-door cab)
1973–1991 (4-door cabs)
Assembly Atlanta, Georgia
Baltimore, Maryland
Pontiac, Michigan
Flint, Michigan
Tarrytown, New York
Kansas City, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
Janesville, Wisconsin
Norwood, Ohio
Fremont, California
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Córdoba, Argentina
Arica, Chile (1975–1982)
Engine(s) 250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
292 cu in (4.8 L) I6
262 cu in (4.3 L) V6
305 cu in (5 L) V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) V8
400 cu in (6.6 L) V8
454 cu in (7.4 L) V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) Oldsmobile Diesel V8
379 cu in (6.2 L) Detroit Diesel V8
Transmission(s) 3-speed THM-350 automatic
3-speed THM-400 automatic
4-speed 700R4 automatic
3-speed Saginaw manual
4-speed Saginaw Muncie SM465 manual
4-speed New Process overdrive manual
Wheelbase 117.5 in (2985 mm)
131.5 in (3340 mm)
164.5 in (4178 mm)

Facelifted GMC C/K

GMC C-K Sierra Classic 3500 Regular Cab

GMC K3500 Sierra Classic

An all-new clean sheet redesign of General Motor’s (GM) Chevrolet and GMC brand C/K-Series pickups débuted in 1972 for the 1973 model year. Development of the new third generation trucks began in 1968, four years prior to production in 1972, with vehicle components undergoing simulated testing on computers, before the first prototype pickups were even built for real world testing.[1] The redesign was revolutionary in appearance at the time, particularly the cab, departing from typical American pickup truck designs of the era. As a result, the third generation quickly became known as the "rounded-line" generation; although some people refer to them as "square bodys", given that the trucks appear square-like by more modern standards.[2][3]

GM's design engineers fashioned the "rounded-line" exterior in an effort to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, using wind tunnel technology to help them sculpt the body.[4] Third generation design traits include "double-wall" construction, sleek sculpted body work, flared secondary beltline and a aerodynamic cab which featured rounded doors cutting high into the roof and steeply raked windshield featuring an available hidden radio antenna embedded into the glass.[2][5][6]

There were two types of pickup boxes to choice from. The first type, called "Fleetside" by Chevrolet and "Wideside" by GMC, was a "double-wall" constructed full width pickup box and featured a flared secondary beltline to complement the cab in addition to new wraparound tail lamps. Both steel and wood floors were available. The second type, called "Stepside" by Chevrolet and "Fenderside" by GMC, was a narrow width pickup box featuring steps and exposed fenders with standalone tail lamps. Initially, only wood floors were available.[7]

The wheelbase length was extended to 117.5 in (2985 mm) for the short wheelbase pickups, and 131.5 in (3340 mm) for the long wheelbase pickups. A new dual rear wheel option called "Big Dooley" was introduced on 1-ton pickups, along with a new Crew Cab option on the 164.5 in (4178 mm) wheelbase.[8] Crew Cabs were available in two versions: a "3+3" which seated up to six occupants and "bonus cab" which deleted the rear seat and added rear lockable storage in its place. The fuel tank was moved from the cab to the outside of the frame, and a dual tank option was available which brought fuel capacity to 40 US gallons.

The rounded-line generation ultimately ran for a lengthy 15 model years (1973–1987) with the exception of 1-ton and Blazer, Jimmy, and Suburban versions, which continued up until the 1991 model year.

Chassis and powertrainEdit

Third generation rounded-line C/K-Series pickups gained an all-new, high tensile strength carbon steel ladder type frame with "drop center" design.[5][9][10] Driver control systems included hydraulic variable power assisted steering and hydraulic Hydro-Boost 4-wheel power assisted brakes, which consisted of front self adjusting disc brakes and rear finned drum brakes.[1] Engines choices initially consisted of six or eight cylinder engines with either manual or Turbo Hydra-Matic transmissions.[1]

C-Series pickups included standard two-wheel drive with an independent front suspension (IFS) featuring contoured lower control arms to improve durability and ride comfort. The standard rear live axle came with leaf springs in addition to staggered shock absorber placement to help reduce the wheel hop during hard acceleration.[5]

K-Series pickups included either part-time four-wheel drive or permanent full-time four-wheel drive. Regardless of part-time or full-time, all K-Series pickups came with a front live axle, replacing the IFS setup on the C-Series pickups. K-Series pickups featured an off road-oriented design, with the transfer case bolted directly to the transmission and running gear pushed up as high as possible under the vehicle to achieve a low silhouette and optimal ground clearance.[11] Exposed brake lines were wrapped in hardened steel and underbody skid plates were available for further protection.

Part-time four-wheel drive pickups featured manual locking hubs and a two-speed (dual range) New Process 205 transfer case with permanent 50/50 torque split via automatically locking the front and rear drive shafts together.

Permanent full-time four-wheel drive pickups featured a two-speed (dual range) New Process 203 transfer case with locking center differential.[5] The center differential allowed for full-time operation and could be locked to achieve a permanent 50/50 torque split via locking the front and rear drive shafts together.

A locking rear differential from Eaton became available on all two and four-wheel drive pickups as an option, under the "G80" regular production option (RPO) code. It was designed for slow speed off road or low traction conditions. The rear differential featured mechanical slip sensing in addition to a governor, and would automatically lock at or below 15 mph. Unlike a more on road friendly limited-slip rear differential that can operate at any speed, the governor would unlock the rear differential as well as prevent it from locking at speeds above 15 mph for safety reasons, such as the vehicle being on dry pavement.[12]

For 1975, the 185 hp 400 cu in (6.6 L) small-block V8 was added to the line and there was a realignment of Chevy trim levels, along with new grilles and clear/white instead of orange front turn signals. Base models gained a passenger-side woodgrain dash accent and a new plaid upholstery pattern (which would change slightly each year until 1978).

A new gauge to show voltage replaced the ammeter in 1976, and the engine size decals were removed from the grille during this model year.

For 1977, there was another round of new grilles, revised inner door panels that left less metal exposed, a four-wheel drive, full one-ton chassis was added to the lineup, and a Dana 60 was used for the front axle, as well as an electric oil pressure gauge replacing the mechanical unit. Trucks with an optional trim level, but without an additional wheel upgrade, received flatter stainless steel hubcaps, still with painted accents.

The addition of the 125 hp 350 cu in (5.7 L) Oldsmobile diesel V8 began in 1978. All models got new, flatter dash trim panels, black on the lower two trims and aluminum-look on the fancier two. Base models received the flatter stainless hubcaps, and Stepsides got new squared-off taillights with built-in backup lights and side markers, while the rear fenders were smoothed out where the old side markers were.

The 1979 models got a new grille surround that incorporated the turn signals; inside there was a new full-width "houndstooth" seat trim on base models and a (rare) fifth interior color option on the higher series called "oyster" by Chevrolet and "Mystic" by GMC (mostly white with a gray dash, carpeting and cloth).

Some 1980 models had a new grille, others did not; high-trim Chevys had both a new surround that incorporated near-flush square headlights and revised turn signals with a new, squarer grille pattern, while a GMC base model was entirely carryover, base Chevys had the new center section in the 1979 surround while GMCs with uplevel trims or the separate RPO V22 option had the new square-light surround with the main grille introduced in 1977. Blue interiors were a darker shade than before, and cloth-upholstered deluxe models had a new seat fabric.

Trim levels for Chevrolet and GMC were:

  • Custom ('73-74)-Custom Deluxe ('75-87)/Sierra — base model. Rubber floor mat, white painted bumpers and (through 1977) hubcaps, patterned vinyl seats, no headliner, manual door locks/windows.
  • Custom Deluxe ('73-74)-Scottsdale ('75-87)/Sierra Grande — chrome trim, cloth or pleated vinyl seats (a choice was offered) everything the previous trim level has
  • Cheyenne/High Sierra — woodgrain ('73-77) or brushed aluminum ('78 up) interior accents, cloth seats, chrome trim, carpet, headliner, more sound deadening/insulation (inside door panels, in the headliner, etc.).
  • Cheyenne Super ('73-74)-Silverado ('75-87)/Sierra Classic — Extra woodgrain interior accents ('73-77), everything the previous trim level has, more chrome (i.e. bumpers and mirrors), tilt wheel, power doors/windows, and optionally cruise control.

1981 mid-lifecycle faceliftEdit

A mid-lifecycle cosmetic facelift and mechanical refresh was carried out for the 1981 model year. In response to the recent 1979 energy crisis, the 1981 rework featured several fuel saving techniques to help make the rounded-line C/K-Series pickups more fuel efficient. Again, engineers turned to wind tunnels to resculpt the front end with new sheet metal, reducing areas which could hinder air flow and cause drag.[13][14] A sleeker front bow-like look emerged, similar to a ship’s bow with the front end being gently swept back from the center. New dual halogen headlamps became available as an option. Mechanical updates included more anti-corrosion techniques, reduced weight, and a new 5.0 liter 305 cubic inch V8 with electronic spark control.

An all-new part-time "shift on the move" four-wheel drive system was introduced on K-Series pickups as a replacement for the permanent full-time four-wheel drive on pre 1981 models. It featured new automatic self locking hubs and a 2-speed (dual range) New Process 208 aluminium transfer case with permanent 50/50 torque split via automatically locking the front and rear drive shafts together. The transmission and transfer case were synchronized, such that the truck could be shifted from two-wheel drive to fully locked four-wheel drive at speeds of up to 25 mph.[15]

Traditional part-time four-wheel drive was still available with manual locking hubs. 1-ton K-Series pickups still received the 2-speed (dual range) New Process 205 transfer case.

A new 4-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic 700R4 transmission with overdrive gearing became available in 1981 for the 1982 model year. The 151 hp 379 cu in (6.2 L) Detroit Diesel V8 was added[16] to replace the LF9 Oldsmobile diesel. The Cheyenne package was dropped. Chrome front bumpers were now standard on base models.

1985 saw the new 262 cu in (4.3 L) LB1 introduced to replace both inline-six engines. Hydraulic clutches were introduced.

A variation of the C/K series was introduced in 1985 in Brazil, replacing the locally-produced C10, introduced in 1964.

TBI fuel injection was added for 1987. Also for 1987, GM changed the C/K nomenclature to R/V (this is found in the 5th VIN digit).[17] This was done in preparation for the next generation GMT400 trucks, which were produced concurrently with the older line. The new 1988 model trucks entered production December 8, 1986 at Pontiac East, Oshawa, and the new Fort Wayne plant. The 1987 models continued to be built at Janesville, St. Louis, and Flint.[18] After 1987, R/V remained in use for the full ton 30/35 models, V30/35 regular cab dually, and crew cabs through 1991 (built at Janesville), and SUVs (Chevrolet K5 Blazer and Suburban, built at Flint) through 1991. From 1988 on C/K was used for the fourth generation "GMT400" design.

Sidesaddle fuel tank controversyEdit

The third generation of GM's full-size pickup line featured what became, well after production ended, a controversial design change. The fuel tank was relocated from the cab to outboard sides of one or both frame rails beneath the cab floor extending under the leading edge of the bed, commonly referred to as sidesaddle. This enlarged fuel capacity from 16 up to 40 gallons depending on wheelbase and the number of tanks. This also removed the tank from the passenger compartment.

According to the now debunked 1993 report which aired on Dateline, this placement made the trucks capable of exploding when involved in a side impact accident.[19] The faked video was staged by expert witness against GM. Bruce Enz of The Institute for Safety Analysis used incendiary devices and a poorly fitting gas cap to create the impression of a dangerous vehicle.[20] Fatality figures vary wildly. A study by Failure Analysis Associates found 155 fatalities in these GM trucks between 1973 and 1989 involving both side impact and fire.[21] The Center for Auto Safety, Ralph Nader's lobbying group, claims "over 1,800 fatalities" between 1973 & 2000 involving both side impact and fire.[22] Other commentators noted that regardless of any increased risk of fire, the GM trucks had statistically indistinguishable safety records in side-impact crashes from their Ford and Dodge equivalents, and were safer in all crashes than passenger cars in general.[23]

In 1993 the bad publicity generated by the later debunked Dateline story spawned several class action lawsuits. As settlement GM offered owners $1000 coupons toward the purchase of a new truck with a trade-in of the old one. Even though the trucks met NHTSA 15 and 20 mph side impact crash test standards in place at the time of manufacture GM eventually settled with the NHTSA in 1994 for the amount of $51 million to be used for safety programs. The Fourth Generation (1988–2001) was designed and produced well before the lawsuits with one fuel tank inside the frame rails.

Foreign productionEdit

Sevel Argentina S.A. built the Chevrolet C10 in their Córdoba plant from 1985 to 1991 for the argentinian market. The gasoline version used the Chevy 250 CID engine (4,093%nbsp;cc) familiar to most Latin American markets, producing 130 hp. Because of Sevel being a subsidiary of Peugeot in Argentina, the C10 was also available with a 70 hp Indénor XD2 2,304 cc diesel engine, perhaps best known in the US from the Peugeot 504.

Fourth generation 1988–1998 (–2000)Edit

Fourth generation / GMT400
1996 GMC Sierra
Also called GMC Sierra
Production 1988–2000
Assembly Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Pontiac, Michigan
Flint, Michigan
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Platform GMT400
Engine(s) 250 cu in (4.1 L) I6 (Brazil)
4.3 L V6
5.0 L V8
5.7 L V8
7.4 L V8
6.2 L diesel V8
6.5 L turbo diesel V8
Transmission(s) 3-speed THM-400 automatic
4-speed 700R4 automatic
4-speed 4L60-E automatic
4-speed 4L80-E automatic
4-speed SM465 manual
5-speed NV3500 manual
5-speed NV4500 manual
Wheelbase 117.5 in (2985 mm)
131.5 in (3340 mm)
141.5 in (3594 mm)
155.5 in (3950 mm)
Length 194.5 in (4940 mm)
213.1 in (5413 mm)
218.5 in (5550 mm)
237.4 in (6030 mm)
Width 76.8 in (1951 mm)
77.1 in (1958 mm)
Height 73.2 in (1859 mm)
72.6 in (1844 mm)
Introduced in April 1987 as 1988 models (known as the GMT400 platform), there were eight different versions of the C/K line for 1988: Fleetside Single Cab, Fleetside Extended Cab, Fleetside Crew Cab, and Stepside Single Cab, each in either 2WD (C) or 4WD (K) drivelines. All C/K models would ride on independent front suspension. Three trim levels were available: Cheyenne, Scottsdale, and Silverado. Engines were a 160 hp (119 kW) 4.3 L V6, a 175 hp (130 kW) 5.0 L V8, a 210 hp (157 kW) 5.7 L V8 and a 6.2 L diesel V8. A 230 hp (172 kW) 7.4 L V8 was available in the 3/4-ton and one-ton trucks.

In 1989, a half ton 2WD fleetside Sport appearance package was available with black and red bumper and body trim, and a black grille with red outlined Chevrolet emblem, chrome wheels with custom center caps, and fog lights. The 89 was a limited production run set to determine how well the "sport" package would be received by consumers in the years to follow. The Sport package was more of a trim and towing package edition as well as a few engine enhancements that weren't on available on other Chevrolet trucks of the time.

Also in '89, the 4x4 sport appearance package included black bumper and body trim, wheel flares, mirrors, sport grille, 16" cast aluminum wheels and special "4x4" badging on the box and "SPORT" badged on the tailgate. The box and tailgate decals were flanked by red outlined Chevy bowties. The sport package was only offered from 1989 until 1992 as some insurance companies began to express concerns with the idea of a high performance truck. RPO code was BYP. This model was only available with the standard cab and regular fleetside box. Colors included white, black, and red. A Z71 off-road package was also available with skid plates and Bilstein shocks. The Work Truck (W/T) was also introduced in 1990, which featured a single cab long bed with Cheyenne trim and new grille with black bumpers. Also in 1990 the GMC 3500 EFI with a powerful 454 (7.4 L) was available. The 454 EFI produced 230 hp (172 kW) and 385 lb·ft (522 N·m). In 1991, the 4L80-E automatic transmission was available for the 3/4-ton and one-ton trucks. In 1992, the 4-speed manual transmission was dropped and the stepside trucks were available with extended cabs. The 6.5 L diesel V8 was also made available with a turbocharger. In 1993, the Sport package was made available for the stepside models, featuring body color bumpers, mirrors, and grille with cast aluminum wheels. The 700R4 transmission was replaced with the 4L60-E automatic in 1993 also. In 1994, the 6.2 L diesel V8 was dropped and the trucks received grille updates. In 1995, the trucks received an updated audio system and interior (including full instrumentation with tachometer standard). Four wheel ABS brakes were made standard in 1995 as well as driver's side airbag on 1/2 ton models. The Vortec V8s were introduced in 1996, with power boosts across the board for the gasoline engines. The Vortec V8's made between 255 to 290 horsepower, thanks to high-flow cylinder heads, new camshaft, roller valve lifters and a higher compression ratio. Speed sensitive steering was introduced on the trucks in 1997 along with a passenger side airbag. 1998 saw a revision to the steering wheel and airbag system and also the addition of the PASSLOCK II antitheft system.

This platform was one of two where the traditional small-block Chevrolet V8 was last used (the G-series van was the last platform using the small block until the end of the 2002 model year).

The GMT800 platform was introduced in 1999 although the GMT400 platform was produced until the 2000 model year in response to fleet sales. Although no longer produced in the U.S., GMT400s was produced in Brazil powered with a Chevrolet inline six.

454 SSEdit

In 1990, Chevrolet introduced a high performance variant of the GMT400 under the Super Sport emblem called the 454SS. It was available only as a 2WD half-ton regular cab short box in Onyx Black, White and even more rare; red. The 454SS was powered by a 454 cu in (7.4 L) V8 producing 230 hp (172 kW) and 385 lb·ft (522 N·m).[24] A 3-speed automatic transmission (Turbo Hydra-Matic 400) and 3.73 rear axle ratio added to the truck's performance. The suspension was also upgraded with 32 mm (1.3 in) Bilstein gas-filled shock absorbers, a 32 mm (1.3 in) front stabilizer bar, and 12.7:1 fast-ratio steering gear assembly.

Unique exterior features included a front air dam with fog lights, special rims, decals displaying "454SS" on the bed sides, red trim emblems, and black painted grille, bumpers, and mirrors. The interior was also unique with a special plush Garnet Red cloth with black trim, high-back reclining sport bucket seats, and center console.

For 1991, a four-speed electronic automatic transmission (known as the 4L80E), 25 more horsepower, and even higher torque (405 lbs/ft at 2400 rpm) were added to the 454SS. The rear-axle ratio was also lowered to 4.10:1 for extra jolt off the line. On the dash was a tachometer, oddly omitted from 1990 models.

The suggested retail price of the 1990 model was US$18,295 with a $550 destination charge. A total of 16,953 units were sold over the 4 years the 454SS was in production, with 1990, the first year of production, selling 13,748 units alone. The 454SS was discontinued after the 1993 model year.


GMC C-K 3500HD Regular Cab

GMC 3500HD Cab and Chassis with Dump Body

In 1991 GM introduced a 15,000 pound GVWR truck 3500HD under the Chevrolet and GMC nameplates that was replaced by the 4500. It was marketed as a truck to bridge the gap between light duty trucks "pickup trucks" and medium duty trucks. The 3500HD was only offered as a standard chassis cab until 1996 when a crew chassis cab was also offered. It is not clear if the crew cab was for fleet orders only or if anyone could order it. An extended cab was never offered on the 3500HD, though several have been custom made by owners. All paint colors and all but the most deluxe cab options were offered in the 3500HD. Upper cab marker/clearance lights were not optional equipment on the 3500HD. The two mirror options are the camper style and west coast style mirrors.

The common drive axle used on the 3500HD was the Dana 80, an 85.8" wide full floating axle with an 11 inch ring gear fitted with 19.5" x 6.0 tires. There are rumors of Full Floating Dana 70 and Corporate 14 Bolt axles with upgraded axle tubes and hubs being installed. The front axle was a solid I-beam drop axle, similar to the axles of medium and heavy duty trucks. Both front and rear leaf sprung axles had disc brakes.

Available wheelbases were; 135.5", 159.5", and 183.5". The 3500HD frames are very different from the C/K3500 cab and chassis. The C/K3500 cab and chassis and 3500HD rear frame rails are spaced at industry standard 34" for easy fitment of bodies but that is where the similarity ends. The HD frame is much heavier and exits straight out behind the high mounted cab necessitating the unmistakable HD filler panel between the bumper and grille. The front fenders were also equipped with the same flares used on 4x4 models of the lighter trucks to cover the increased track width and larger tires.

Two transmissions were offered in the 3500HD; the 4L80E 4spd OD automatic, and the NV4500 5spd manual.

The C/K prefixes were not used by the factory on 3500HD models as GM never offered a 4x4 version, so the 2WD was simply known as 3500HD instead of C3500HD. Several aftermarket conversion companies offered a 4x4 version with either a Dana 60 or Dana 70 front axle. At least one company, Monroe Truck, was offered by GM dealers as a ship-through 4WD upfit using the RPO code VCB. Tulsa is another company that did 4x4 conversions for utility companies. Quigley conversions were mostly for fire/ambulance applications.

Engines 1991-2000

Engine offerings for the 3500HD included three gasoline engines; from 1991-1995 5.7L 350 Small Block and 7.4L GEN V Big Block. In 1996 both the 5.7 and GEN V 7.4 were replaced by the new Gen VI 7.4L Vortec Big Block. The RPOL65 6.5L Turbo Diesel debuted in the 3500HD in 1992, the year of the engine's release. The 6.5 was the only diesel engine offered for the entire production run of the T400 3500HD. No diesel was available for 1991, the first 3500HD production year.

Engines 2001–2002

While all other C/K pickup models were dropped by 2000, the 3500HD was produced until 2002 due to demand. In the brochures it is referred to as Sierra Classic/Silverado Classic. There were two engine choices; The 8.1L Vortec Big Block replaced the Gen VI 7.4L Vortec Big Block and the venerable 6.5L Turbo Diesel.[25]

Brazilian versions Edit


A 1974 Veraneio

A variant of the C/K family was introduced in Brazil during the 1960s. These used the instrument cluster from the 1960-66 US Chevrolet C/K series although the exterior sheet metal layout is exclusive to Brazil. The models built included a light truck, named C-10, and a SUV named Veraneio (initially known simply as Chevrolet C-14/16), introduced in 1964. They were initially powered with a Chevrolet 4.2-liter inline six based on the pre-1962 "Stovebolt" engines. Later they used the 250-cid 4.1-liter engine from Chevrolet Opala. In later years a four-cylinder diesel (Perkins Q20B) was also offered labeled as D-10 (light truck only). An alcohol-powered version of the C-10 was offered beginning in the 1981, dubbed the A-10.

After 1985, a redesigned pickup similar to the U.S. C/K series (1973-87 vintage) was introduced as the C-20, powered with the 250-cid inline six of the U.S. Chevy II/Nova. Diesel and alcohol versions were also sold, labeled as D-20 and A-20 respectively (later models of the D-20 replaced the Perkins Q20B with a Maxion S4). The original version of the Veraneio was kept in production until 1988 (model year 1989), but it was eventually replaced with an updated version based on the C-20 family. Since 1994 to 1997 was made in Córdoba, Argentina for export to other Mercosur-markets.

In 1997 GM introduced in Argentina and Brazil the Silverado pickup with the same style of the 1988 American pickup. It was made since 1997 to 2000 in Argentina, and in Brazil only in 2001, until the same year. The line-up included a SUV named Grand Blazer. The 4.1-liter inline six engine with 138 hp was offered on both models with option for a MWM 4.2-liter turbodiesel unit with 168 hp.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "1973 Chevy Pickups". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brownell, Tim "Rounded-Line Models, 1973-1987" Chevrolet Pickup Color History (Truck Color History) Chapter 9 Page 88-89 1994-08-07 Retrieved 2011-01-15
  3. "73-87 History". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  4. "Miscellaneous Images". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "1974 Chevy Pickups". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  6. "Vintage 73-80 GM Advertisements". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  7. "1975 Chevy Pickups". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  8. "Vintage 73-80 GM Advertisements". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  9. "Vintage 73-80 GM Advertisements". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  10. "Vintage 73-80 GM Advertisements". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  11. "73-87 GM Brochures". Retrieved on 2011-01-15.
  12. Gunnell, John. "1973 to 1998 Chevrolet Pickups Grow Collectible Part 1: 1973 to 1983". Retrieved on 2011-01-16.
  13. "1981 Chevy Pickups". Retrieved on 2011-01-16.
  14. "Vintage 81-87 GM Advertisements". Retrieved on 2011-01-16.
  15. "Vintage 81-87 GM Advertisements". Retrieved on 2011-01-16.
  16. 1979–1984 GM parts book LT Truck 52A Rev84.1 PG33
  17. "1981–1987 Chevrolet Truck VIN#'s decoded and deciphered - Chuck's Chevy Truck Pages". Retrieved on 2009-05-07.
  18. (1987) Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1987. Ward's Communications, Inc, 99, 247. 
  19. Walter Olson (1993-02-28). "Walter Olson home page - The Dubious "Experts" Behind TV Crash Tests (Washington Post, 2/28/93)". Retrieved on 2009-05-07.
  20. Walter Olsen (February 28, 1993). "Exposing the "Experts" Behind the Sexy Exposés: How Networks Get Duped by Dubious Advocates". 
  21. "Case: Side Saddle Gas Tanks". Retrieved on 2009-05-07.
  22. "History of the GM Side Saddle Gas Tank Defect | The Center for Autosafety". Retrieved on 2009-05-07.
  23. Walter Olsen (February 9, 1993). "The Most Dangerous Vehicle On the Road". 
  24. Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. "1990–1991 Chevrolet 454 SS". Retrieved on 2009-05-29.

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