History of the Chevy C/K Trucks (1960-72)
The first generation of Chevy C/K trucks began in 1960 and ran through 1966. A “C” truck designated 2-wheel drive, rear of course, while “K” designated a 4-wheel drive. Two body styles were available: the Chevy “Fleetside” (known as the “Wideside” in GMC models) which offered a smooth panel down each side of the bed; and the Chevy “Stepside” (which GMC labeled “Fenderside”) which provided a contoured panel outlining the rear wheel-wells and a “step” behind the driver and passenger side doors. These trucks rode very much like a long-wheelbase automobile due to the drop-center ladder frame and low-profile seats. There was no climbing up into the cab of one of these trucks unless you were under five feet tall.
The 70’s model was still based on the Chevy Nova but 2inches longer. It got a longer, wider F-body and maintained its unibody structure, front subframe, A-arm front suspension and leaf springs on the rear axle - similar to the previous generation - but with lots of cosmetic upgrades and increased noise reduction. It’s proposed 454 engine never came to fruition so only the 350 and 396 engines were available. Oddly enough, 396 was actually a label for a 402 CID engine. Chevy kept the 396 label due to its widely recognized name.
C/K trucks were available in half-ton (C10 and K10), three-quarter ton (C20 and K20), and one-ton models (C30) with either long or short-beds. Trim line offerings came in base and custom. Under the hood on Chevy models, you would find the 135 horsepower 236 inch V6; 150 horsepower 261 inch straight-6; or the 180 horsepower 283 inch V8. The base engine for the GMC trucks was the 305 inch V6.
1963 Chevy trucks received the all new coil spring front suspension. Engines for this model year included a 140 horsepower 230 inch L6 (otherwise known as a straight-6) and the optional 165 horsepower 292 inch L6.
1964 Chevy trucks revealed the elimination of the wraparound windshield and the addition of air conditioning. To this, on 1965 Chevy trucks, a 220 horsepower 327 inch V8 engine was available. The second generation of Chevy C/K trucks began in 1967 and ran until 1972 with the nickname “Action Line.” The half-ton (10) and three-quarter ton (20) models were tricked out with the new coil-spring trailing arm suspension which provided a far superior ride in comparison to the traditional leaf springs. All four-wheel drive models were equipped with leaf springs on both the front and rear axles. The standard drivetrain was the 3-speed manual tranny with two available engine options: The 250 inch straight 6 and the 283 cubic inch V8. Optional transmissions available were the 4-speed manual transmission; Powerglide; and Turbo-Hydramatic 350 or 400. Optional engines were the 292 inch and 327 inch V8
The 283 inch V8 was replaced on the 1968 Chevy trucks with the 307 cubic inch with 310 horsepower and the 396 cubic inch V8. For the 50 year Truck Anniversary, Chevy offered a white-gold-white paint scheme: white cab roof, gold body, and white rocker panels. The Longhorn model debuted this same year on the 2-wheel drive three-quarter ton trucks with a 133 inch wheelbase. In 1961, Chevy upsized the 327 cubic inch engine to 350 cubic inch displacement that netted 195 to 200 horsepower. 1961 Chevy trucks received new grille work, upright hood design while the K5 Blazer, a short wheelbase SUV was introduced this year. Few changes were made to the 1971 Chevy trucks. These models got the “egg crate” grille, the new Cheyenne trim package (known as Sierra on GMC models), and AM/FM radios. Front brakes on light duty trucks were switched from drums to disks. There were very minor changes to the 1972 Chevy trucks.