Chevy Truck Names: What the Heck Do They Mean?

Last Wednesday, we talked about Curb Weight, GVWR, GCWR, GAWR, payload capacity and how “tonnage” slang terminology is not reality.  Now, let’s put all of that great knowledge to use by deciphering the name’s of Ford, Chevy, and GMC trucks.  The automotive slang is in quotes for your reference.  To determine which truck you have, just look at the 5th digit of the VIN number.  This is the digit of the VIN that tells you the series of the vehicle.  Interesting in learning more about deciphering your vehicle’s VIN number? For Chevy and GMC full size trucks built after 1980, it will be C, K, R or V.  Oooooh, a secret code? Read on….

Chevy C/K Trucks

C-Series Truck = 2 Wheel Drive (1960-2002)

K-Series Truck = 4 Wheel Drive (1960-2000)

C10 = “½ Ton” 2wd (1960-1987)
C20 = “3/4 ton” 2wd (1960-1988)
C30 = “1 Ton” 2wd (1960-1988)

K10 = “½ Ton” 4wd (1960-1987)
K20 = “3/4 ton” 4wd (1960-1988)
K30 = “1 Ton” 4wd (1960-1988)

C1500 = “1/2 Ton” (1988-1999)
C2500 = “3/4 Ton” (1988-2000)
C3500 = “1 Ton” (1988-2002)

K1500 = “1/2 Ton” (1988-1999)
K2500 = “3/4 Ton” (1988-2000)
K3500 = “1 Ton” (1988-2000)

Chevy R/V Trucks

R-Series Truck = 2 Wheel Drive (1987-1991)

V-Series Truck = 4 Wheel Drive (1987-1991)

R10 = “½ Ton” 2wd (1987-1988)
R20 = “3/4 ton” 2wd (1987-1988)
R30 = “1 Ton” 2wd (1987-1988)

V10 = “½ Ton” 4wd (1987-1988)
V20 = “3/4 ton” 4wd (1987-1988)
V30 = “1 Ton” 4wd (1987-1988)

R1500 = “1/2 Ton” ( Didn’t Exist!?)
R2500 = “3/4 Ton” (1989)
R3500 = “1 Ton” (1989-1991)

V1500 = “1/2 Ton” (Didn’t Exist!?)
V2500 = “3/4 Ton” (1989)
V3500 = “1 Ton” (1988-1991)

Let’s see examples!

Imagine you have a truck with VIN #:

1GCDC14H3G……. = 1986 Chevy C10 (2wd, 1/2 ton)

2GCEK19K0J……. = 1988 Chevy K1500 (4wd, 1/2 ton)

1GCHR33N7J……. = 1988 Chevy R3500 (2wd, 1 ton)

Fun Stuff, Right?

Now that you understand Chevy Model Names, check out this great read about what the letter in GM’s body styles mean.

Ford also has a model naming convention that you can learn more about! Check out our article on Ford truck names.


Taking it Back to 1984 with “Fat Charlie”

Recently I had the pleasure of working on an absolutely beautiful 1984 Chevy Caprice.  I know, I know, “absolutely beautiful” and “Caprice” probably shouldn’t ever be used in the same sentence.  However, I assure you that this car is an exception to the rule.  This big fella, nicknamed “fat Charlie” by its owner, was clearly babied from the start, and always well taken care of.  He was parked indoors, and only driven when necessary which kept the mileage down around 2800 miles per year.  Yes, you did read that correctly, Charlie has just over 70K miles on it today.

When Charlie arrived in my driveway under the cover of darkness (don’t ask), he had a saggy headliner, stripped out windshield wiper arm, a leaky muffler, and a directional that only wanted to make left turns.  All were easy fixes that I thoroughly enjoyed doing.  Every nut and bolt was removed without a fight, and I took special care on everything I removed because I didn’t want to damage any of the original interior trim that was in perfect condition.  Overboard? Yea, maybe, but I love cars.

Several days later, Charlie had officially passed the state inspection, and I got to take the big guy for a truly enjoyable jaunt down the road.  It basically feels like a brand new 1984 car.  There is plenty of room for you and 16 of your closest friends, it has power everything, and the floats like a Cadillac down the bumpiest of roads.  I even got thumbs up from multiple people!  Going forward, Charlie will be kept in the family of the original owner, and driven and enjoyed daily for the foreseeable future.  Maaaybe Charlie will even make it to some local cruise nights?  We’ll see. 🙂

Any other 1980’s B-Body fans out there?