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.


Jeremy Nutt

Hi, I'm Jeremy.

22 thoughts on “Chevy Truck Names: What the Heck Do They Mean?

  1. I can’t wait for when you do 1980s Toyotas…
    Toyota Pickup= 1/4 ton
    Toyota Pickup= 1/2 ton
    Toyota Pickup= 3/4 ton
    Toyota Pickup= 1 ton

    1. Hi!
      I’m surprised that it says that on your title, and not “K10”, but it does have meaning.

      K14 = regular cab
      K19 = extended cab

      So it sounds like you have a 4 wheel drive, regular cab truck.

      Hopefully that helps!

    2. Ever get a response for this? My truck is known to all as a k10but according to the vin it defaults to a k14 and that’s what is on my registration….
      (86 1/2 ton long bed 4wd)
      Thanx in advance

  2. Hi can you help with finding what truck I have 1GCDC14K9 thanks for any help!!! I know it’s an ’89 2wd standard cab short bed was stepside factory,just not sure on the r/v part of it trying to put newer style grill ’92-’94 style but they said it’s r/v and it’s different thanks again.

  3. How do I know what my Chevrolet k10 is? I was looking at emblems, and there is scottsdale, silverado, etc…how do I know which mine is?

  4. I have a 1986 4×4 sierra classic with a 350ci engine…auto parts stores ask if it’s “L” or “M”… can I tell which?

    1. There most likely referring to the engine code. L is a regular 350ci and M is a 350ci HD. The 8th digit in the vin is the engine code. I will let a secret out if you go to they have parts for lots of trucks on there online and mailed catalogs a few pages in the catalog there is a vin decoder it tells you almost anything you need to know.

  5. I also have a question. I have two identical trucks, both 1995 Chevy half ton 4×4 w/t series. One has GMT-400 on the title, and one says GK1. There is no difference in these trucks except one has cruise, one doesn’t. I cannot find the meaning of GK1 anywhere. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

  6. Hi does anyone know this? I have a 4×4 suburban 98. According to the VIN the 4th digit is a C. So it’s a 4×2 pickup? Is this correct? I bought this vehicle from an auction just trying to figure out what’s up with that.

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