Chevrolet C/K

C/K is a series of trucks that was manufactured by General Motors from the 1960 to 2002 model years. Marketed by both the Chevrolet and GMC divisions, the C/K series encompassed a wide range of vehicles. While most commonly associated with pickup trucks, the model line also included chassis-cab trucks and medium-duty trucks and served as the basis for GM full-size SUVs. Through its entire production, the model line competed directly against the Ford F-Series and the Dodge D series (later the Dodge Ram pickup).

Chevrolet and GMC C/K
1986 GMC C/K Sierra Classic 3+3
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Also calledGMC C/K
GMC Sierra
Production1959–2002 (United States)
1959–2000 (Canada)
1965-2002 (Mexico)
1964–2001 (Brazil)
1975–1982 (Chile)
1960–1978 (Argentina)
1986–1991 (Argentina by Sevel)
Model years1960-2000 (C/K pickup trucks)
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size truck
Medium-duty truck
PredecessorTask Force
SuccessorChevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra (pickup trucks)
Chevrolet Kodiak/GMC TopKick (medium-duty trucks)

Used for both the model branding and the internal model code, "C" denoted two-wheel drive; "K" denoted four-wheel drive. Four generations of the model line were produced, including the second-generation "Action Line" and third-generation "Rounded Line" vehicles. For the fourth generation, GMC revised its branding, changing to a singular GMC Sierra nameplate (C/K remained as an internal model code).

For South America, the model line was manufactured by General Motors Brazil, who produced versions of the model line for Brazil, Argentina, and Chile from 1964 to 2001.

As GM entered the 1990s, the company revised its truck ranges, replacing the medium-duty C/K trucks with the Chevrolet Kodiak/GMC TopKick for 1990. For 1999, GM replaced the fourth-generation C/K pickup trucks with an all-new model line; in line with GMC, Chevrolet dropped the C/K nameplate (in favor of a singular Chevrolet Silverado nameplate). Initially marketed with its successor, the final C/K pickup trucks were produced for the 2000 model year. From 2001 to 2002, the final vehicles of the C/K model line were heavy-duty chassis cab trucks.

First generation (1960–1966)

First generation
Also calledChevrolet:
– C10/K10
– C20/K20
– C30
– C40 to C80 (medium- & heavy-duty models)
– 1000/K1000
– 1500/K1500
– 2500
– 3000 to 6500 (medium- & heavy-duty models)
Chevrolet Apache
Chevrolet Viking
Chevrolet Spartan
ProductionSeptember 1959–1966
AssemblyPontiac West Assembly, Pontiac, Michigan
Dover, England
Oshawa, Ontario
Buenos Aires, Argentina
DesignerHarley Earl (1957, 1958)[1]
Body and chassis
RelatedChevrolet Suburban
  • 3.8 L Chevy 230 I6
  • 3.9 L Chevy 236 I6
  • 4.1 L Chevy 250 I6
  • 4.3 L Chevy 261 I6
  • 4.8 L Chevy 292 I6
  • 5.0 L GMC 305 V6
  • 4.6 L Chevy 283 V8
  • 5.3 L Chevy 327 V8
Transmission3-speed synchromesh manual
4-speed synchromesh manual
2-speed Powerglide automatic[2]
Wheelbase115 in (2,921 mm) (short box: ½-ton models)[2]
127 in (3,226 mm) (long box: ½-ton & ¾-ton models)
133 in (3,378 mm) (1-ton models)
Length186.875 in (4,747 mm) SWB[3]
206 in (5,232 mm) Standard[3]
216.25 in (5,493 mm) LWB[3]
Width78.75 in (2,000 mm)[3]
Height71.25 in (1,810 mm)[3]
1963 Chevrolet stepside

Launched in the fall of 1959, 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 were the 3100, 3200, and 3600 designations for short 1/2, long 1/2 and 3/4-ton models. Instead, a new scheme assigned a 10, 20, or 30 for 1/2, 3/4, and 1-ton models. Since 1957, trucks were available from the factory as four-wheel drive, and the new class scheme would make this known. A C (conventional) in front of the series number designates two-wheel rear drive while a K designates four-wheel drive.

Actual badging on Chevrolet trucks carried the series name system from the previous generation for 1960 and 1961: the 10, 20, 30, and 40 series (C and K) were badged as "Apaches", 50 and 60 series trucks were badged as "Vikings", and the largest 70 and 80 series models were marked "Spartans". For 1960, C/K trucks were available in smooth "Fleetside" or fendered "Stepside" versions. GMC called these "Wide-Side" and "Fenderside". Half-ton models were the C10 and K10 long-bed and short-bed trucks, and 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 used the "K" nomenclature. GMC model numbers for 1/2, 3/4, 1, and 1.5 ton were 1000, 1500, 2500, and 3000. The 1.5 ton Chevrolet C40 and GMC 3000, which were using the light-duty cab[4][5] (but only as chassis-cab and stake models), were discontinued for the 1963 model year.[5][6]

The 1960, 1961, and 1962 models featured ball bearing front hubs,with torsion bar front suspensions, with trailing arm suspension rears. Trim lines were base and "Custom". Engines included the base 305 cu in (5.0 L) GMC V6 for the GMC version, 135 hp (101 kW) 236 cu in (3.9 L) and 150 hp (112 kW) 261 cu in (4.3 L) straight-six engines, and a 283 cu in (4.6 L) V8 with 185 hp (138 kW).

A coil-spring front suspension came in 1963, with roller bearing front hubs, along with a new base engine, a 140 hp (104 kW) 230 cu in (3.8 L) I6, and an optional 165 hp (123 kW) 292 cu in (4.8 L) I6. The cab was modified for 1964, with elimination of the "wraparound" windshield and a new front grille design, along with various interior changes, while retaining the original design on the body. Air conditioning and a 220 hp (164 kW) 327 cu in (5.4 L) V8 came in 1965. A new base engine arrived in 1966, being a 155 hp (116 kW) 250 cu in (4.1 L) Chevrolet straight-six.

Medium- & heavy-duty models

Medium-duty trucks were:

  • 1½-ton Chevrolet C40 / GMC 3000 (1960–62), with the light-duty cab;
  • Chevrolet C50 and C60;
  • GMC 3500, 4000 and 5000.

Heavy-duty trucks were:

  • Chevrolet C60-H[7] (a C60 with a heavier GVWR: 22,000 lbs instead of 19,500 lbs), C70 (1960–61) and C80;
  • Chevrolet tandem rear axle models M60 (1963–66), M70 (1960–61) and M80 (1962–66);
  • GMC 5500, 6000 and 6500;
  • GMC tandem rear axle models W5000, W5500 and W6500.

Second generation (1967–1972)

Second generation (Action Line)
1970 Chevrolet C10 CST
Model years1967–1972
Body and chassis
PlatformGM C/K (Action Line)
RelatedChevrolet K5 Blazer/GMC Jimmy
Chevrolet Suburban/GMC Carryall

The second-generation C/K was introduced for the 1967 model year. Designated the "Action Line" generation by General Motors, the C/K largely carried over its drop-center ladder frame and its coil-sprung rear axle, but the body was redesigned from the ground up to improve its capability as a multi-purpose vehicle. Alongside a utilitarian vehicle intended for work or farm use, the C/K was also offered with optional features carried over from Chevrolet sedans, including automatic transmissions, AM/FM radio, carpet, and two-tone paint.

While the Action Line would not undergo a definitive model revision through its production, the series underwent gradual changes on a biannual basis.[8] The drivetrain line underwent multiple revisions, as a large-block V8 was offered for the first time in 1968. After 1969, GM switched entirely to Chevrolet-produced engines for C/K pickup trucks.

This generation marks the debut of the Chevrolet Cheyenne and GMC Sierra nameplates; introduced in 1971 and 1972, respectively, General Motors still uses both nameplates for full-size pickups in current production. The Action-Line pickup also served as the basis of ancestors of modern full-size SUVs, including the Chevrolet K5 Blazer, an open-body off-road vehicle, and the Chevrolet Suburban truck-based station wagon.

For 1973, GM replaced the Action Line trucks with the long-running Rounded Line series; the Action Line trucks are the final C/K trucks offered solely with a two-door cab.

Third generation (1973–1991)

Third generation (Rounded Line)
Also calledChevrolet/GMC R/V series
Model years1973-1991
Body and chassis
PlatformGM C/K (Rounded Line)
RelatedChevrolet K5 Blazer/GMC Jimmy
Chevrolet/GMC Suburban

The third-generation C/K was introduced for the 1973 model year. Designated the "Rounded Line" generation by General Motors, the C/K grew in size inside and out. As pickup trucks increased in use as personal vehicles, cab features and options moved closer in line with GM sedans (with power windows and power door locks becoming options). To further expand its practicality, a four-door crew cab body was introduced (offering 6-passenger seating).

While relatively straight-lined and boxy in appearance (leading to their "Square-body" nickname from the public[9]) the Rounded Line trucks were the first generation of the C/K to be designed with the use of computers and wind tunnels, optimizing the exterior shape for lower drag and improved fuel economy. The chassis was an all-new design (with all trucks receiving a leaf-spring rear suspension); K-Series trucks moved to all-wheel drive (shift-on-the-fly 4x4 was introduced for 1981).

Alongside the introduction of the four-door crew cab, the third generation C/K marked the introduction of a dual rear-wheel pickup truck ("Big Dooley"). For 1978, the C/K became the first American full-size pickup truck sold with a diesel engine (a 5.7L Oldsmobile diesel V8); a 6.2L V8 diesel was introduced for 1982. This generation also marks the first use of the Chevrolet Silverado nameplate (in use for Chevrolet full-size trucks today).

The Rounded Line generation is the longest-produced version of the C/K model line, produced for 18 model years. For 1987, it was renamed the R/V series (to accommodate the fourth-generation C/K marketed alongside it) and was gradually phased out through the 1991 model year.

Fourth generation (1988–2002)

Fourth generation (GMT400)
Model years1988-2002
Body and chassis
PlatformGM GMT400 platform
RelatedChevrolet/GMC Suburban
Chevrolet K5 Blazer/Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade

The fourth-generation C/K was introduced in April 1987 for the 1988 model year. The first line not assigned a generational moniker by General Motors, it is known by its GMT400 internal codename. Slightly smaller in cab dimensions than the Rounded Line generation, the fourth-generation C/K increased interior space over its predecessor. After trailing Ford and Dodge by over a decade, GM introduced the C/K in an extended-cab configuration. For nearly five years, the fourth-generation C/K was sold alongside its R/V series predecessor, as the crew cab pickup (which served as the basis of the Suburban SUV) was not released until the 1992 model year.

In a branding change, the C/K nomenclature became exclusive to Chevrolet, as all GMC pickups became Sierras (GMC retained the C/K nomenclature for its internal model codes). Chevrolet introduced several specialized variants of the C/K series, including the work-oriented W/T 1500, off-road Z71, and the high-performance 454SS. Between one-ton trucks and medium-duty trucks, Chevrolet and GMC offered the C3500HD chassis cab for commercial use.

For 1995, the fourth-generation C/K underwent a mid-cycle revision, adding a driver-side airbag (dual airbags became standard for 1998). For 1996, the extended cab was redesigned, adding a rear-hinged passenger-side third door.

For the 1999 model year, to accommodate the introduction of the GMT800-chassis Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra, the fourth-generation C/K was renamed as the Chevrolet Silverado Classic and GMC Sierra Classic. After the 2000 model year, C/K pickup trucks were discontinued. GM produced the heavy-duty C3500HD chassis cab as the final version of the C/K model family through the 2002 model year.

South American production (1964-2001)

General Motors Brazil produced three generations of light-duty Chevrolet pickup trucks from 1964 to 2001. Developed specifically for South American production, each version was also derived (to various extents) from the contemporary version of its American C/K counterpart. The model line also included truck-based station wagon/SUVs (similar to the Chevrolet Suburban).

In January 2002, GM Brazil ended production of full-size pickup trucks, concentrating its production towards the Chevrolet S-10 and car-based pickup trucks.[10]


1967 Chevrolet C-14
1970s-1980s Chevrolet Veraneio

In 1964, GM Brazil launched its first line of light trucks designed in Brazil, the Chevrolet C-series pickup truck; in line with the Chevrolet Suburban, the model line was sold in a wagon configuration, renamed from C-1416 to Chevrolet Veraneio in 1969.[10] Styled with an exterior exclusive to Brazil, the model line shared its instrument panel with the first-generation Chevrolet C/K of 1960-1966. Nearly a decade before its American counterpart, a four-door "double cab" was offered alongside the standard two-door configuration, sharing its doors with the Veraneio wagon/SUV.

The model line was launched with a 261 cubic-inch inline-six (derived from the Chevrolet "Stovebolt" engine); this engine was replaced in 1971 by a 250 cubic-inch inline-6 from the Chevrolet Opala.[10] In 1976, the standard gasoline engine for the C-10 became a 2.5L inline-four.[10] The first diesel-powered Chevrolet in Brazil, the D-series pickup introduced a Perkins 5.6L inline-6 diesel in 1965; a four-cylinder diesel (Perkins Q20B) was introduced for 1978.[10] From 1977 to 1980, the Detroit Diesel 4-53 two-cycle inline-four diesel was also offered as an option.[10] For 1981, the engine line was reduced to two, with a 4.8 L inline-six becoming offered in gasoline and ethanol-fuel versions (C-10 and A-10); the sole diesel was now a 5.8 L Perkins inline-six.[10]


1989 Chevrolet C-20 double cab
1990s Chevrolet Veraneio C-20 in use by law enforcement

For 1985 production, GM Brazil introduced the 20-series model line as its second generation of light trucks. Sharing its cab structure with the "Rounded Line" generation, the 20-series received its own front fascia (sharing headlights with the Opala) and larger taillamps than its American counterpart. Far more advanced in design than its utilitarian predecessor, the 20-series carried over little more than its powertrains from the previous generation.[11][12] In addition to 20-series pickup trucks, GM Brazil offered a full line of Chevrolet medium and heavy-duty trucks derived from the "Rounded Line" cab.[10]

Again offered in single and double cabs (introduced in 1986), the C-20 and A-20 (ethanol) received a 4.1L inline-six, with the D-20 receiving the Perkins Q20B inline-4 diesel (replaced by the Maxion S4 for 1990[13]). In contrast to its American counterpart, the 20-series was offered nearly exclusively with 2-wheel drive; a 4x4 version was offered for 1989 and was withdrawn before the end of the model year, following poor reliability of its drivetrain.[14]

For 1988, the Veraneio wagon/SUV was redesigned for the first time since its introduction, adopting the 20-series body structure; the four-door was joined by the two-door Chevrolet Bonanza. With the exception of its taillamps and front fascia, the Veraneio adopted an appearance close to the Chevrolet/GMC Suburban; the Bonanza was proportioned similar to the Chevrolet K5 Blazer (though fitted with two-wheel drive and a permanent roof).[15]

For 1992, the 20-series underwent a minor exterior revision, again sharing its headlights with the Opala (higher-trim vehicles shared wheels with GMT400 pickup trucks); the interior underwent a redesign, adopting a redesigned instrument panel.[16]

For 1996, the model line adopted the fuel-injected 4.1L six from the Chevrolet Omega, ending its use of carbureted engines.[17]


1998 Chevrolet Silverado (Brazil)

For 1997, the 20-series (based on the 1973 "Rounded Line" pickups) was retired, with GM Brazil introducing the Argentine-produced Chevrolet Silverado. In contrast to the previous two generations of Brazilian Chevrolet trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado was no longer a market-exclusive design; the Silverado was identical to the American-market GMT400 pickup. Offered only as a two-door C2500 with a standard-length bed, the Silverado was fitted with locally-sourced powertrains, including a 138 hp 4.1L inline-6 (from the previous C-20/A-20 and the Chevrolet Omega) and a MWM-produced 168 hp 4.2L turbodiesel inline-6.[10]

The locally-designed Veraneio and Bonanza were discontinued; in 1998, GM Brazil began production of the Chevrolet Grand Blazer, a renamed Chevrolet Tahoe.

For 2000 production, production of the Silverado shifted from Argentina to Brazil.[10][17] Alongside the withdrawal of the Grand Blazer (in favor of the smaller S-10 Blazer), the Silverado adopted a D-20 suffix (from the popularity of its predecessor[17]). During 2001, Chevrolet withdrew the 4.1L gasoline six from the Silverado D-20 (the final vehicle to use the engine).

After many years of declining market share in the truck segment, GM Brazil produced the final Silverado D-20 in January 2002.[10]

See also


  2. "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1960_Trucks_and_Vans/1960_Chevrolet_Truck_Foldout". Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  3. "Chevrolet C/K series Pick-Up (1961)". BWA. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
  4. "1961 Chevrolet Pickups, Chassis-cabs and Stakes brochure". Archived from the original on 20 October 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  5. "GMC 3000 Model Series Trucks". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  6. "Chevrolet Trucks for 1963". Archived from the original on 20 October 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  7. "1960 Conventional & LCF models - Competitive comparisons". Archived from the original on 20 October 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. "Your definitive 1967–72 Chevrolet C/K pickup buyer's guide". Hagerty Media. 2018-09-12. Retrieved 2021-03-21.
  9. Brownell, Tom "Rounded-Line Models, 1973–1987" Chevrolet Pickup Color History (Truck Color History) Chapter 9, pp. 88–89 1994-08-07 Retrieved 2011-01-15
  10. "Chevrolet: Moderno design brasileiro para a linha 64" [Modern Brazilian design for the 1964 cars line]. (in Portuguese). Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  11. "Google Translate". Retrieved 2021-01-17.
  12. "Google Translate". Retrieved 2021-01-17.
  13. "Google Translate". Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  14. "Google Translate". Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  15. "What was the Chevrolet Bonanza?". The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide®. 2018-05-14. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  16. "Google Translate". Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  17. "Google Translate". Retrieved 2021-01-18.
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