1947-2013 Chevy Truck Generations - Quick Reference Guide

1947 2007 Chevy truck generations

Over the course of more than six decades from 1947 to 2013, Chevrolet trucks went through many changes. The most substantial of these changes serve as the dividing lines between Chevy truck generations. If you're a classic truck enthusiast, you're probably able to spot these body style cues and recall the corresponding model year ranges, or even their designations such as Advance Design and Task Force. However, those who are new to classic trucks may not be so well-versed. With this in mind, we put together a clear and concise visual guide to 1947-2013 Chevy truck generations.

The side-profile photos used in this article are courtesy of Chevrolet (CC 3.0).

1947-1955 Chevy Advance Design

1947 1955 Advance Design Chevy truck generation 1

The first of the Chevy truck generations we'll discuss is known as the Advance Design. This was GM’s first postwar truck platform, and is usually listed as 1947-55 1st Series.

1947 1955 Advance Design Chevy truck generation 2

  • • 1947-53 models featured a horizontal bar grille design, 2-piece windshields, with angle-topped bed sides.
  • • 1950 saw the introduction of modern tubular shocks.
  • • 1951 saw the introduction of door vent windows.
  • • 1954-55 models received rounded tail lamps, a crosstype bull nose grille, a 1-piece curved windshield, a redesigned dashboard, and a deeper bed with flat-topped bed sides.
  • • Chevrolet 1955 1st series models were the last to be offered with 6-volt electronics. GMC continued to offer 12-volt electronics as an option.

1955-1959 Chevy Task Force

1955 1959 Task Force Chevy truck generation 1

As Chevrolet tooled up for the “Task Force” platform, some factories continued to produce the earlier design as the 1955 1st Series, while the new design was produced as the 1955 2nd Series.

1955 1959 Task Force Chevy truck generation 2

  • • 1955 was the first year for the optional 265ci Small Block V8.
  • • 1955 2nd Series Models featured a wrap-around windshield.


Above: Here's a beautiful example of a restored 1958 Chevrolet Cameo in Tartan Turquoise with Onyx Black accents. Approximately 1,400 Cameos were built in 1958, making this truck quite rare today. (Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions.)

  • • The rare and desirable fiberglass-bed Chevrolet Cameo pickup is offered from 1955-58. 1958 trucks introduced dual headlamps.
  • • Fleetside pickups replaced the Cameo in late 1958.

1960-1966 Chevy C/K Series

1960 1966 C K Series Chevy truck generation 1

The 1960 redesign featured a drop-center ladder frame, which allowed the cab to sit lower. It also marked the introduction of the C/K designations for Chevrolet, “C” for 2-wheel drive models, “K” for 4-wheel drive models. A more sophisticated suspension design provided a more car-like ride. Unlike the Advance Design and Task Force, the first-gen C/K was not given a special series name by General Motors.

1960 1966 C K Series Chevy truck generation 2

  • • Series 10, 20, 30, and 40 (C or K) were badged as “Apache”, etc.
  • • Series 50 and 60 series trucks were badged as “Viking.”
  • • The largest 70, 80, and 90 series models were badged as "Spartan", etc.


Above: To read more about the memorable model names of the 1960-66 GM trucks, check out our article "Behind the Names: Chevrolet Apache, Viking, and Spartan."

  • • Chevrolet trucks were available with smooth Fleetside” or fendered “Stepside” beds. GMC called these “Wideside” and “Fenderside.”
  • • 1960-62 models used a torsion bar front suspension and a coil spring rear suspension.
  • • 1963-66 models upgraded to a coil spring front suspension.
  • • 1964-66 models changed to a flat windshield design.
  • • 1966 introduced the 327ci V8 and Turbo-Hydramatic (TH) transmission.

1967-1972 Chevy C/K Series

1967 1972 C K Series Chevy truck generation 1

The 1967-72 Chevrolet and GMC trucks were dubbed “Action Line,” though few enthusiasts still use that name for it today. Most models in this truck generation were built with coil spring rear suspension. All 1967-72 four-wheel drive trucks had leaf springs on both axles.

1967 1972 C K Series Chevy truck generation 2

  • • 1967 was the last model year without side markers.
  • • In 1968, a 50th Anniversary package for Chevrolet trucks featured a distinctive white-gold-white paint scheme.
  • • The Longhorn 3/4 ton trucks debuted in 1968, adding an extra 6" to the bed.


Above: This 1971 K5 Blazer belongs to a Classic Industries customer who visited our Retail Showroom. He was kind enough to allow us to take some photos of it for our blog.

  • • The short wheelbase K5 Blazer debuted in 1969 along with the GMC version, known as the GMC Jimmy.
  • • For 1970, the 396ci big block V8 was enlarged to 402ci, yet still sold as a 396.
  • • 1971 introduced the Cheyenne comfort trim package for Chevrolet and the Sierra package for GMC.
  • • 1971 brought front disc brakes on all light-duty trucks.

1973-1986 Chevy C/K, 1987-1991 Chevy R/V Series

1973 1987 C K Series Chevy truck generation 1

For 1973, Chevrolet and GMC trucks were tested in a wind tunnel and designed for better aerodynamics. The wheelbase was extended and a dual rear wheel option was offered on one-ton pickups. Internally at GM, this generation was called the "Rounded Line" due to the rounded corners in key areas of the design, such as the windshield and side windows. However, many enthusiasts refer to this generation as the "Square Body" Chevy truck due to its angular lines and squared-off wheel openings.

1973 1987 C K Series Chevy truck generation 2

  • • An all-new carbon steel ladder frame designed with a “drop center” was introduced.
  • • The fuel tank was moved outboard of the frame rails beneath the cab floor to offer up to 40 gallons of fuel capacity.
  • • 1973 introduced the Crew Cab option with the choice of 3+3 seating or lockable storage in the rear cab.
  • • Two-wheel drive trucks used independent front suspension.
  • Power windows and locks were offered as an option in 1977.
  • • 1978 introduced the first diesel engines.
  • • For 1987, the C/K designation was changed to R/V to distinguish these trucks from the upcoming GMT400 generation.

1988-1998 Chevy C/K Series (GMT400)

1988 1998 C K Series Chevy truck generation 1

All 4th generation C/K trucks, including four-wheel drive models, received independent front suspension. This Chevy truck generation was officially designated GMT400, but some enthusiasts refer to it as "OBS," short for Old Body Style.

1988 1998 C K Series Chevy truck generation 2

  • • From 1990-93, a performance model called 454-SS was offered with a 454ci V8, sport suspension, quick ratio steering, and cosmetic accents such as a black grille with red Bow tie.
  • • A turbo-diesel engine was made available beginning in 1992.
  • • The front grille design was updated in 1994 with a wider, beveled center bar.
  • • In 1995, the C/K series underwent a mid-cycle refresh with mandated safety equipment such as a center high-mount stoplight (also known as a third brake light) and four-wheel ABS.
  • • Vortec V8s debuted in 1995 with high-flow cylinder heads, new camshaft, roller valve lifters, and higher compression for increased power and efficiency.

1999-2007 Chevy Silverado (GMT800)

1999 2007 Silverado Sierra Chevy truck generation 1

GM dropped the C/K designations for 1999, opting for Silverado for Chevrolet and Sierra for GMC, referring to the platform as GMT800. Some enthusiasts call this Chevy truck generation "NBS," short for New Body Style. Shortly before the next generation (GMT900) was released for the 2007 model year, General Motors began selling outgoing GMT800 models under the name "Silverado Classic."

1999 2007 Silverado Sierra Chevy truck generation 2

  • • Chevrolet models received a new fascia and revised tail lamps in 2003.
  • • GMC offered an upscale trim level called Denali in 2001.
  • • 2001-05 Denali models offered a Quadrasteer 4-wheel steering option.
  • • Beginning in 2003, Chevrolet offered a Silverado SS high performance pickup. In 2006, an Intimidator SS was offered in honor of the late Dale Earnhardt.
  • • A gasoline/electric hybrid was offered beginning in 2004.

2007-2013 Chevy Silverado & GMC Sierra (GMT900)

GMCSierraGM900TPhoto courtesy of Mecum Auctions LLC

The GMT900 series trucks quickly became the most popular and widely used trucks for businesses with employees that drive more than 100,000+ miles. With such a great proving ground of real world data and statistics to draw from, the GMT900 trucks have been considered some of the most reliable Silverados and Sierras that GM has ever produced. 

GMT900interiorPhoto courtesy of Mecum Auctions LLC

  • • In an effort to improve fuel economy, aerodynamic efficiency was stressed with the GMT900.
  • • GM increased the rake of the windshield to 57 degrees and decreased body panel gaps to improve airflow.
  • • Two available V8 engines were equipped with Active Fuel Management (AFM), a feature that deactivated four cylinders when the engine wasn't under load. The 5.3L and 6.0L V8's had AFM. The 4.3L, 4.8L, and 6.2L V8's did not have AFM.
  • • The GMT900 had a fully boxed frame with a three-inch wider front track and a one-inch wider rear track; torsional rigidity of the chassis improved 234-percent as a result of these changes.
  • • Goals for enhancing the interior included making it quieter, more spacious, more refined, more comfortable, and offering more storage compartments, which GM accomplished in all areas.

GMT900 Sierra 4x4Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions LLC

How to Identify a Specific Year Chevy Truck

This quick reference guide to Chevy truck generations should help you narrow down the year range of any GM truck you see, but what if you need to know the exact year? We can help with that. Check out our detailed guides below, which list the changes between each year of 1947-1972 Chevy trucks:

Need Chevy Truck Parts & Accessories?

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