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The C20's Beginnings

Chevy's C20 was long a step above the C10 in Chevrolet's pickup line.  The C/K pickup line, manufactured by GM, dates back to 1960. It was one of the best-selling truck lines in the U.S, with the "C" representing two-wheel drive while the "K" representing four-wheel drive.

The C20, which stood for three-quarter-ton truck, came in Stepside or Fleetside bed styles.   with three engine choices:  a 235ci I6, a 283ci V8, or a 348ci V8.   In 1963, the C models received 3.8L and 4.8L inline-six engines as the standard. The following year, the windshield changed to a curved form to provide better visibility and room inside the cabin.

The C20 Built Throughout the Years

In 1967, the second generation saw some significant changes. A growing popularity in V8s lead to a larger big-block and a plethora of new engines to choose from. Some of these included a 230ci I6, 250ci I6, 250ci I6 OHV, 4.8ci I6, 307ci V8, 307ci V8 OHV, 327ci OHV, 327ci V8, and 396ci V8. The C20's height was lowered by five inches, rear coil spring suspensions became standard, and a CST package was offered for the camper pickup.  In the next generation, the ‘70s pickup supported a boxier look and feel to the truck. The flatter hood, egg-crate grille with square headlights, sharply carved body, and sleeker windshield gave the C20 a new image.  It had three new trim levels: the Scottsdale, Cheyenne, and Silverado.

In the late ‘70s, Chevy was the first company to offer a package with power windows and locks for trucks. However, the design generally remained unaltered other than a few comfortable interior upgrades. Due to government regulations and the energy crisis, most of the improvements were made on the engine. A truck that was still capable of tugging weight needed a fuel-efficient engine, so a powerful, electronic fuel-injected Vortec V6 was introduced as the new standard. A diesel engine was also introduced for the C and K10.

During this time, for one year in 1987, the "C/K" nomenclature was switched to "R/V," while Chevy worked on a new version of the C/K platform.   The older style continued to be built as R/V models until 1991.  The new trucks were built upon the GMT400 platform with longer bodies, and they stood for the same thing: "R" for 2WD and "V" for 4WD. Headlights were changed to a rectangular shape, and the interior was enlarged.   In 1988, Chevrolet returned to the "C/K" nomenclature and changed the name from C20 to C2500.

Even though the C20 was eventually replaced by the C2500, and then the Silverado, The C20 still remains important as the truck that started it all.  With its rugged manner, you can still see C20s on the road, alongside their descendants, today.  

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