For decades, Chevy has reigned supreme when it comes to crafting remarkably capable and confident pickup trucks. With the success of both the modern Silverado and Colorado models storming the market and generally making for living legends on the road today, these come from a long heritage of impressive used Chevy trucks from years gone by. With such great modern models, it can be hard to remember to look back at where it all started, and how we got to where we’re at today.
Take, for example, the classic Chevy C/K – the flagship pickup model for the bowtie brand, dating all the way back to the 1960s, and continuing for over thee decades until the late 1990s. Although eventually replaced by the Silverado and the GM Sierra, the C/K served as both Chevy’s on-road experiment in the pickup market and as a template for some of the most impressive pickups to ever hit the road.
A classic 60’s model perfect for the times, the all-new, light-body style 1960 Chevy C/K pickup made two important changes to the pickup standard that would set the pace for the advances to come. First, the C/K utilized a drop-center ladder frame, which allowed for the cab to sit lower for that now-iconic aggressive stance on the road. Plus, the C/K utilized an independent front suspension, offering noticeably more “car-like” handling for a smooth ride that consumers just loved.
By the second generation in the late 60’s and 70’s, Chevy knew they were onto something big – and drivers knew it too. That’s why Chevy started to transition their trucks slowly away from being work-focused machines and more toward the consumer sphere, adding improved comfort and convenience features to make daily drivers happier and the C/K stand out from the pack. In this way, the C/K arguably created the consumer truck, or at least acted as a model for a new and powerful market segment to follow that would forever change the truck market as we now know it.
With drivers hooked and the performance underpinnings in place and making moves, Chevy took the opportunity of a third generation C/K to really flex a little muscle and start packing in truck-appropriate styling inside and out. Bold, strong stances and distinctive “tough” styling gave this generation that classic Chevy truck look, from the iconic front grille we know today, to a wider and more imposing build to really make an impression just about everywhere.
Of course, one major change was the addition of 4×4 Front suspension, which gave the C/K its classic sport-ready performance that would soon be seen in the now-classic Silverado that would eventually take its place.
Although not often remembered with fondness, the amazing Chevy C/K really is an important figure in the history of Chevy’s amazing truck lineup. We honor the C/K, and we hope the next time you enjoy a ride in a modern Chevy truck, you will, too.