The C/K was Chevrolet and GMC's full-size pickup truck line from October 1959 until 2000 in the United States and Canada, from 1964 to 2001 in Brazil, and from 1975 to 1982 in Chile. The first Chevrolet pickup truck was introduced in 1924, though in-house designs did not appear until 1930. "C" indicated two-wheel drive and "K" indicated four-wheel drive. The aging C/K light-duty pickup truck was replaced with the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra names in 1999 in the United States and Canada, and 2001 in Brazil; the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD heavy-duty pickup trucks followed. Until this time, the names Silverado and Sierra were used to identify the trim level of the C/K trucks.
An all-new clean sheet redesign of General Motors' Chevrolet and GMC brand C/K-Series pickups débuted in mid-1972 for the 1973 model year. Development of the new third-generation trucks began in 1968 with vehicle components undergoing simulated testing on computers before the first prototype pickups were even built for real world testing. The redesign was revolutionary in appearance at the time, particularly the cab, departing from typical American pickup truck designs of the era. Aside from being near twins, the Chevrolet and GMC pickups looked like nothing else on the road. The third-generation trucks are colloquially known as the "Square-body" or "Box-body" generation. GM's official "Rounded-Line" moniker highlighted the pickup's rounded styling cues that were incorporated into the design. This included rounded windshield corners, rounded corners of the cab roof, rounded-corner doors which cut high into the cab roof eliminating roof height, slanted front fenders, and rounded pickup box corners which allowed for rounded wraparound taillamps, a first for GM pickups. The design also featured strong distinctive curved shoulderlines which rounded out below the beltline. The curved shoulderline continued across the back tailgate on Chevrolet Fleetside and GMC Wideside models. However, the low slope of the hood and rectangular front end of the truck originated the "square/box-body" nickname, which was propagated through truck magazines and word of mouth.
GM's design engineers fashioned the "Rounded-line" exterior in an effort to help improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, using wind tunnel technology to help them sculpt the body. Other design traits include sleek sculpted body work, an aerodynamic cab with steep windshield rake, and a unique available hidden radio antenna embedded into the windshield glass.
There were two types of pickup boxes to choose from. The first type, called Fleetside by Chevrolet and Wideside by GMC, was a full width pickup box and featured a flared shoulderline to complement the cab in addition to rounded box corners and the new aforementioned rounded wraparound taillamps. Both steel and wood floors were available. The second type, called Stepside by Chevrolet and Fenderside by GMC, was a narrow width pickup box featuring steps and exposed fenders with standalone tail lamps. Initially, only wood floors were available.
The wheelbase length was extended to 117.5 in (2,985 mm) for the short wheelbase pickups, and 131.5 in (3,340 mm) for the long wheelbase pickups. A new dual rear wheel option called "Big Dooley" was introduced on one-ton pickups, along with a new Crew Cab option on the 164.5 in (4,178 mm) wheelbase. An optional Elimipitch camper was made available for the Big Dooley. Crew Cabs were available on C30 pickup and chassis cab, and K20 chassis cab models in two versions: a "3+3" which seated up to six occupants and "bonus cab" which deleted the rear seat and added rear lockable storage in its place. The fuel tank was moved from the cab to the outside of the frame, and a dual tank option was available which brought fuel capacity to 40 US gallons. 1980 was the first year that a cassette tape player could be purchased, along with a CB radio.
The Rounded-Line generation ultimately ran for a lengthy 15 model years (1973–1987) with the exception of the Crew Cab (C/K-30 four-door cab), Blazer, Jimmy, and Suburban versions, which continued up until the 1991 model year. GM ends this generation with 1987 as 1987 was the last model year for the conventional cabs (two-door cab).
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