Discovering The History of Chevy Trucks

December 13th, 2019 by

An early model Chevy One-Ton truck, which is not common among used Chevy trucks in Ennis, TX, is driving on a cobble road, shown in black in white.

There’s nothing like a classic truck. Sure, the modern pickup can do more than any other truck in the history of automobiles. And yes, classic trucks don’t have the same high-end interior feel that a current pickup may have offers, but there’s just something about the way these old trucks look that is truly incredible. It is why you’ll find classic truck collectors around the world who swear by them. And if you’re a Chevy fan, there is no limit to the kind of used Chevy trucks out there. And you never know, if you keep an eye open, you might find some of the classic Chevy trucks we list below as we take a brief dive into the history of the Chevy truck.

An Introduction Of A Legend

There’s always been a need for trucks. From farmers to shop owners, the ability to move large amounts of goods created a strong need for something more durable than the average car. So, in 1918, Chevy released the One-Ton, the very first pickup truck ever made by the company.

This pickup had a single front cabin, yet the rear was a flexible design. In fact, it came partially assembled, which make it possible for those buying the truck to use an offered curtain top or adjust the design to fit their needs better. This particular truck used a 3.67L OHV 4-cylinder engine that churned out a total of 36 horses.

Following the conclusion of the First World War, the United States was still in the midst of the Great Depression, but those manufacturers still producing goods and farmers still growing crops needed trucks that were a bit more powerful than the One-Ton. And so, in 1929, Chevy released its International Series AC Light Delivery truck. With this model, Chevrolet (which had merged with General Motors back in 1918) stopped using wood tires and instead swapped to new steel disc wheels. This Light Delivery pickup also became the very first truck available anywhere to feature an OHV 6-cylinder engine. The larger engine boosted horsepower to 46 and torque to 125 lb-ft.

The Art Deco Pickup

In 1938, Chevy released an all-new pickup known as the Half-Ton. This is the first pickup that looks like what modern pickups have become. It also came with several new colors that had not yet been available. The 1938 edition of the pickup saw another boost in its engine with a new 3.5L I6 that increases the horsepower to 78 and the torque to 170 lb-ft. Eventually, this led to the production of the Chevy AK Series pickup. This pickup took the similar, vertical grille design, but added in an angular hood and combined chrome with colors such as burgundy, which led to the vehicle design to be known as the Art Deco pickup. It was built on the same line as the Chevrolet Deluxe sedan, which is why the pickup and the car do share several design elements, although the bulkier size did lend itself to the Chevrolet Suburban.

Post World War 2 Pickups

Following the conclusion of the Second World War, Chevy released the 3100 in 1947. This truck took on a more rugged design than what the Art Deco pickup look had. The truck saw an improvement in the engine performance (it used a 3.5L I6 that produced 78 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque). Yet, likely the most significant improvement feature on the pickup was the wider cabin, which made it possible for three passengers to ride on the bench seat. Also, the 1947 pickup was the first truck to offer a built-in radio, the classic corner window, and a defroster system.

The 3100 was part of what Chevy called the Chevrolet Task Force, which took over for the AK series of pickups. All of the trucks were 2-doors and came in one of three engine styles: 3.9L I6, 4.3L V8, or a 4.6L V8. The Chevrolet Task Force lineup of pickups included the Apache, Chevy 100, and the Chevy Cameo Carrier (which would eventually go on to become the El Camino).

The Cameo Carrier was also referred to as the Chevy 3124 and came out in 1955. The truck featured a unique wrap-around front glass window, which curved at the edges instead of being a straight piece of glass. This particular 1955 model used the 3.85 IL engine with 123 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque.

Introduction of the Chevrolet C/K

The Chevy C/K has helped make Chevy trucks what they are today. This is a full-size line of pickups that first came out in 1959 and stayed in production until 2002. The first generation of the C/K still shared much of the Chevrolet Task Force design. However, it was the second-generation C/K that propelled the Chevy pickup into the look of modern-day Chevy pickups.

The second generation came out in 1967, which is when the C/K became a true work truck. It also offered not only an I6, but a big-block V8. Even the smaller I6 offered 153 horsepower and 255 lb-ft. of torque. Many of these trucks came with two-tone colors, such as a red or blue body with a white roof to the cabin.

By 1988 Chevy had a number of “C” pickups on the road. This included the C/K1500. The C/K1500 at the time of its release used a 5.7L V8 that produces 185 horsepower and 295-lb ft. of torque. This eventually went on to the release of the Chevrolet Silverado. Now, the Silverado had been as a trim package back in 1975. It did not become its model-type until 1999 when General Motors stopped with the production of the C/K1500 and instead focused on the Silverado 1500. The 1999 Silverado 1500 used the same size engine as the previous C/K1500. However, its overall power and performance took a significant jump up with the inclusion of the Vortec V8. This V8 boosted horsepower to 270 and torque to 320 lb-ft.

Continued History

Now, there are several other Chevy trucks we were not able to fully dive into. With over 100 years of truck-building history, it’s impossible to cover all the different pickups Chevrolet has made. Yet it’s impossible to deny just how far the pickup has come in recent years. From a sub-50-horsepower engine to trucks that are powerful enough to tow just about anything you might ever dream of, there is a lot to love about the world of Chevy pickups. And whether you’re interested in buying a piece of history or you’re searching for a modern truck, there’s a Chevy pickup just for you.

The Love Of Chevy Trucks And Your Own Classic

If you are a lover of pickups, you probably enjoy everything about the world of pickups and the overall history of Chevy trucks, look no further than Frank Kent Chevrolet in Ennis, TX. So, if you’re shopping around for a classic Chevy pickup, make sure to check out the current selection. And if there is a specific classic model you want to try and track down, just let us know. We’ll work with you in finding the exact kind of classic Chevy truck you’ve been searching for. Or, if you’re more interested in a modern pickup that only adds onto the tradition and the history of Chevy trucks, you’ll always find a great selection of used Chevy pickups right here at your local Frank Kent Chevrolet dealership.