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73-87 History


Starting in 1973 Chevy made some big changes on it's C/K Series trucks.  The changes to the trucks resulted in a style that was embraced by the American public and was relatively unchanged for 15 years. 

1973--The first year for the new truck displayed a completely new look from the previous 6 years.  The most notable changes were to the body.  The new trucks featured a completely restyled and "rounded" body style, curved side glass, bigger more comfortable seats, and flow through ventilation directed through louvers behind the hood.  Woodgrain trim panel on tailgate of top trim levels.  Also introduced in 1973 was a crew cab 1 ton 3+3 pickup nicknamed the "Big Dooley."  454 replaces 400 (402) as top engine option.  1,055,273 units were produced surpassing the 1972 Ford sales record. 

1974--Full-time 4wd was now standard on all V8 models.  Aluminum tailgate panel was added to the center of the tailgate.

1975--Custom line is dropped and Custom Deluxe becomes base model.  Cheyenne Super is replaced by Silverado as top trim level.  Upper trim levels receive brushed aluminum panels on tailgate.  Scottsdale line is also added to the 1975 line-up.  C20 model was made available in a 4 door model minus rear seats.  HEI ignition becomes available, catalytic converters were also made standard equipment on all trucks under 6,001 gross vehicle weight (GVW).  400 small block is available in 4x4 models and changes to the grille make it flush to the front and give it three horizontal bars.   

1976--New Zinc rich primer is added to aid rust prevention.  Deluxe chrome bumpers with rubber impact strips are a new option.  Rally wheels and Sport model are also offered as options. Bonanza trim packages introduced and marketed as a "value" for customers, as three levels are available (YG6, YG7, YG8).  Last year for Chevrolet Orange engines.  Blazer gets new body design with metal roof over front seats and fiberglass over the rear.  Also equipped with integrated roll bar.

1977--Trucks were offered with power door locks and windows are offered along with restyled door panels and optional rear defroster.  1977 trucks also featured new grille design eliminating 4 of the vertical dividers and 1 of the horizontal.  305 V8 is introduced along with styled (wagon) wheels without center caps.  Unique feature: only year to have gold stripe in the center of the side moldings.

1978--Most notable change was the offering of a 5.7 350 (22.5:1) Diesel engine in the C10 pickups.  Top trim level Silverado gets new brushed aluminum trim and all woodgrain is now gone.  1,317,466 trucks sold this year setting a new record. 

1979--Chevy begins making changes to the front end by combining headlight bezels and turn signals.  New apron is added below the grille.  Catalytic converter standard on trucks with GVW up to 8,500 pounds. 

1980--The beginning of big changes for the rounded line.  New "egg crate" grille, below eyeline mirrors, 8-track and cassette options,  cast aluminum wheels, and official release of rectangular headlights contribute to the changes.  Dual exhaust offered on the 292 six-cylinders.  Fuel prices rise and send truck sales down.  

1981--Complete restyling of the front end debuted in 1981.  The restyling of the trucks boasted a weight reduction of up to 300 pounds.  With the new grille design the trucks came equipped with quadruple headlights and is dubbed "Silverado" front end.  Front sheetmetal remained the same through 1987.  Four wheel drive received improvements by way of auto-locking hubs and the introduction of quad shocks.   

1982--New features became standard equipment on the 1982 trucks.  Chevy standardized the chrome grille on all trucks and power steering on all K-series trucks.  Chevy introduces the 6.2 litre GM Diesel with automatic overdrive transmission (700R4).  Cheyenne model is dropped from the lineup and hood ornaments appear on the trucks.  Chevy became number one in truck sales.

1983--Chevy continued making cosmetic changes to the C/K line.  Turn signals were moved from the bumper to behind the grille.  Chevy also offered the automatic 700R4 transmission as an option.

1984--Chevy again made changes to the front end of the truck, the only major area of change in 15 years of production.  Quadruple headlights were made optional.  Interior received changes to the wiper controls and the integration of the high beam lights and cruise control being moved to turn signal stalk.  Hood ornaments also disappear.  Chevrolet sold 30,000 K-series trucks and 23,000 Blazers to the U.S. Army.

1985--Chevy's most notable change was the introduction the Vortec V6 with a 4-barrel carbureator during 1985.  Grille was once again changed and Chevrolet added the "Custom Two-Tone" paint option.

1986--Last Chevrolet truck engines equipped with carburetors.  Also dubbed official truck of the Indy 500 alongside the Corvette pace car. 

1987--Chevy changes name designation on the C/K line of pickups.  The previous 4x2 C series is changed to the R series, and the 4x4 K series is changed to the V series.  Chevrolet also introduces TBI equipped engines.  The end of a 15 year run for the rounded line C/K pickups; however, the rounded line body style remained until 1991 on Blazers, Suburbans, and one-ton trucks.

Special thanks to Dave C. for his research and contributions on this page.

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