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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

1973–1987 Chevrolet/GMC Truck Buyers Guide

Whether Chevrolet or GMC, the General’s third-generation, “square-body” trucks were a dramatic departure from the company’s previous efforts. The third-gen models featured squared-off front and rear fascias, subtle body contours honed by wind-tunnel testing, a more accommodating and ergonomic interior, and even an available crew-cab body, a style decades ahead of its time.

 

With that in mind, what follows is a quick, high-level overview of the third-generation C/K truck—be it two-wheel-drive C10/C20/C30, or four-wheel-drive K10/K20. We’ll take a look at model differences year by year but also highlight special editions, so you’ll know which examples are best for you!

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/buying-and-selling/1973-1987-chevrolet-gmc-truck-buyers-guide/

 

13 REPLIES 13
stant52
Passenger

No comment on the 1974 Super Cheyenne with a 454 cu in engine.  I've had one for the past 19 years . Original 454 cu in with turbo 400 and factory a/c in a short bed fleetside style.

Sajeev
Community Manager

Hello @stant52, thanks for your comments.  I try to keep these articles as brief as possible (but they still get real long!) so can you tell me what changed between 1973 and 1974 for a Super Cheyenne truck, or the 454 engine, etc? Everything I see says 73 and 74 were very similar. 

stant52
Passenger

Sorry Sajeev, to be honest , I skipped right over the 1973 write up to read about my 74 . Guess next time I better read the entire article. Thanks

Sajeev
Community Manager

No worries!  

Koolken
Passenger

Unfortunately for gm this was the beginning to the end for gm’s trucks as they were rust buckets and that diesel was an awful attempt at a diesel. As a gm owner of cars and trucks forever I changed to Ford pickups which lasted from 1978-2007 when I finally came back to Chevy which I still drive today my 2008 Silverado has 187,000 miles on it. It has sat outside for 12 years and not an ounce of rust anywhere, and runs great with minimal maintenance. Those square bodied trucks from GM cost them a lot of $

MrKnowItAll
Detailer

Internally during development at GM, these were known as “round body”. The “square body” moniker is of recent use.

I drove a new ‘73 and the first time it rained, water poured in at the top of the doors... no rain sill. What were they thinking? A subsequent add-on sill was added. As stated, this truck ended Chevrolet’s reputation and the rise of Ford. I owned a very low mile ‘86 C20, and the fit and finish and build quality were dismal.

Crew cabs soldiered on until ‘91 with this body, btw.

pauluptime
Pit Crew

I always wanted a mid-70's Chevy truck and 13 years ago bought a low-mileage Silverado at auction, offered at no-reserve. The bids were quiet on this one but after we bought, what excitement! Didn't know it at the time but '75 was the first year of the Silverado trim and I was shocked at how well, and straight it drove. Even more surprising was how much positive attention it gets. Seriously, as much, maybe more than our '65 Sting Ray convertible! We've driven this truck cross-country 3 times, it can eat up BIG miles in comfort, LOL gasoline too. We're doing a full resto on it now and anxious to start enjoying it again.
DMDeLuka
Pit Crew

1977 GMC offer a Hickey Sidewinder winch on Desert Fox model?  I had a 1977 Dodge Warlock with Dealer installed Sidewinder winch under the bumper. Slick!

JohnB
Passenger

These are the best designed trucks for a truck used for working. Very Solid with enough power to do the job. I have owned several of these trucks: 73, 76, 77, 79, 84, 88, 89. The 73 I had to replace all the sheet metal including the entire cab, other than that I had no other rust issues. Any of these trucks will out work anything you can buy today. I currently am using a 2014 ford and the body is very flimsy, doesn't take much to dent it. I guess if you want a vehicle with car options, the newer trucks are okay; but, I want a vehicle to get the job done for a reasonable price. I still drive a 73 GMC K25 350, 76 GMC C35 350, 79 C15 250, 88 V35 454, 89 Chevy R35 350. I also drive a non-square 06 GMC and it doesn't compare for durability. Especially the plastic clutch pedal/master cylinder assembly. 

Wildfire
Passenger

I bought a brand new 1973 K20 350 4-sp.  It got 9mpg.  I had to get out and lock the hubs in the icy wind, snow and slush, as  I lived in Alaska.  That's the way it was back then.  It was one stiff rig.  These trucks also rusted out in a big hurry.

Wjcurt
Passenger

My 87 R10 has a computerized, throttle-body fuel-injection on 305 (5.0 Liter) engine not mentioned in the article.

Bill C.

Sajeev
Community Manager

How did I miss the 305?  Ugh...I am adding that right now, thank you for bringing it to my attention!  

polo128
Passenger