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1973 to 1987 Chevy Trucks


1973-1987 Chevrolet Trucks

Welcome to USA1 Truck. Here you are going to find different specs and information on 1973- 1987 C and K Series Chevy and GMC Trucks. First step to a restoration before you buy Chevy Truck Parts should always know what you have. Here we are going to make it easy for you to find out your pickup's model, year, and trim package. USA1 Industries has made an easy to read VIN# decoder chart to help you. Also we are going to touch on the differences between the years and trim packages.

1978 C10 Chevy Truck
1978 Chevy C10 Cheyenne Truck


C and K Series Third Generation

The development of the General Motors 1973 to 1987 C/K Series started in 1968 with innovating ideas to change the truck industry and would be presented to the public in 1972. Chevrolet & GMC had jump forward in time and was using wind tunnel technology to help shape the body of the Trucks, Blazers, & Suburbans. GM had made a more fuel efficient and aerodynamic truck and thus the generation was called  "The Rounded Line Generation" also some may know them as the "Square Bodies".  Chevrolet & GMC trucks in this line of years manufactured two different styles for the pickup bed boxes. Chevy had given them the names Fleetside and Stepside, while GMC were Wideside and Fenderside. The Fleet side Bedsides had a smooth aerodynamic look going down the sides where the Step side style is going to be featuring steps and the rear fenders to give a more rugged look. To promote these trucks Chevrolet came out with many ads to highlight on what was called the working mans truck. The population was growing year to year and General Motors wanted to come out with a truck that was going to last hence their slogan back then " Built To Stay Tough ". The public was needing trucks to withstand heavy loads and high mileage with the contractors needing them to transport materials and drive job to job and also with the travelers with there truck campers and pull behinds. GM had built a truck to last with newer and bigger engines, electronic systems, heavy duty suspension, and an effective brake system. They had changed the industry and left their competitors behind to start off a 15 year run for the 1973-1987 C and K Series Trucks.
1987 Chevy Silverado Truck
1987 Chevy C10 Silverado Truck

Vehicle Identification Number

     The Vehicle Identification Number better known as VIN # for Chevrolet Trucks & GMC Trucks were a particular group of numbers used by General Motors to identify a single pickup to make, model, year, etc. Have you wondered where the location of your VIN number on your Chevy Truck is? Good news for you is that between the years of 1973 and 1987 there were a couple of places you could find them. If your pickup is a 1973 to 1980 you could look at the engine block and transmission as long as they were not switched out. Also you could locate them on the inside driver's door pillar on a V.I.N. plate. But if the engine blocks and transmission had been replace and you cannot read your plate then check your glove box for the factory option decal and the VIN# should be located on it as well. Now if your a 1979 through 1987 person you should have all those locations as well but should also have it at the left side of the dash where it meets the window just as the newer Silverado does. Now from 1973- 1980 Chevy Trucks had a 13 digit VIN# and 1981- 1987 Chevy Pickups started using a 17 digit vehicle identification number. Below is bullets of what the VIN # will tell you and a link to an easy to read diagram of a V.I.N. Decoding Chart.
1973- 1980 VIN# Decoder Chart Link            1981- 1989 VIN# Decoder Chart Link
  • #1 Division
  • #2 Chassis Type
  • #3 Engine Description
  • #4 Series
  • #5 Body Type
  • #6 Assembly Plant
  • #7 Year


  • #1 Division
  • #2 GVW Range & Brake System
  • #3 Line Description & Chassis Type
  • #4 Series
  • #5 Cab Type
  • #6 Engine Designation
  • #7 Check Digit
  • #8 Year
  • #9 Assembly Plant
The last six numbers on the V.I.N. number is going to be the production assembly sequential serial numbers.
Special Note( If your 6th digit in your VIN # is a four then your truck is a " Heavy Half ", aka " Big 10."

Trim Accessory Packages
Chevrolet Trim  Accessory Levels normally changed the appearance of the interior and exterior of the Trucks, Blazers, and Suburbans depending on the classification it was under. In the Chevy C10 Truck Series this meant that you could have different paint patterns, molding styles, and interior trims on these trucks. The trim levels would vary in price depending on whether you had the base models or if your pickup was the top of the line luxury model. The different levels were regulated and assembled by General Motor's at different plants, but sometimes the dealerships would take a 1975 Custom Deluxe and change the moldings and interior to a Silverado package depending on what the customer wanted. So depending on which trim and year you had you could have a vinyl or cloth seats, plastic or chrome moldings, and the interior trim in wood grain or brushed aluminum.
Chevrolet Truck Trim Packages Broken Down By Years
Exterior Trim on Scottsdale Stepside
Scottsdale Stepside Truck

1987 Silverado Fleetside Body Side Moldings
Silverado Body Side Moldings

1973 and 1974

  • Base Model = Chevy Custom

  • Lower End Model = Z62 Chevy Custom Deluxe

  • Higher End Model = Z84 Chevy Cheyenne

  • Luxury Model = YE9 Chevy Cheyenne Super

1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1981

  • Base Model = Chevy Custom Deluxe

  • Lower End Model = Z62 Chevy Scottsdale

  • Higher End Model = Z84 Chevy Cheyenne

  • Luxury Model = YE9 Chevy Silverado

1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987

  • Base Model = Chevy Custom Deluxe

  • Mid-Range Model = Z62 Chevy Scottsdale

  • Luxury Model = YE9 Chevy Silverado

Year Differences

1973 Chevy Truck

First of the new body style where GM moved the gas tank from the cab to the right bed side also known as the passenger side. Chevrolet Trucks would come standard with Front Disc Brakes and Chevy would also introduced the new factory Crew Cab Truck 3+3 Dooley

1974 Chevy Truck 

General Motors is going to add the drip rail gutters on the exterior of the truck along with the aluminum tailgate band molding to change the appearance between 1973 and 1974 Chevy Trucks. Also would  introduce the Full-Time 4WD on all V8 models and it would be the last year for the recessed " Egg Crate Grille Assembly."

1975 Chevy Truck

The Custom Trim Line was dropped and replaced by the Custom Deluxe Trucks. Cheyenne Super was also replaced by the Silverado Model as the Top Trim Level. First year of the Folding Seatbacks and last year for the Full Convertible Tops for the Blazers & Jimmys                                           

1976 Chevy Truck

First Year that white was not the only secondary color for two-tone models, but would be the last year for the Chevrolet Orange Engines. Chevy was manufacturing Trucks with a new Zinc rich primer to help rust prevention. New chrome bumpers with impact strips were available with options.

1977 Chevy Truck

Had alot of firsts with 1977. First year with power windows, power door locks, intermittent wipers, inside hood release, 1-Ton K30, and the first off the different style door panels. Trucks would of also had low backs for early models and high backs for late model for the bucket seats. Also became and option for rear defrosters.

1978 Chevy Truck

Chevrolet made changes to the frame to fit there new catalytic converter and would have also switched from the glass fuse box to the spaded type fuses. The Silverado Truck trim level introduced the interior brushed aluminum trim to replace the wood grain trim. General Motors Chevrolet set a record selling 1,317,466 Chevy Trucks.

1979 Chevy Truck 

The 1979 Chevrolet Truck would have a front change with combining the headlight bezels and turn signals along with adding a new apron below the grille. New paint schemes were available to reach customers interest. In 1979 the catalytic converters would be standard on all pickups with GVW up to 8,500 pounds.

1980 Chevy Truck

In the early models you would have had round headlights and the late models would have square headlights. NP203 Transfer Case was discontinued and being replaced by the NP205's. For the trucks would have available options for a 8-track and cassette tape players along with cast aluminum wheels.

1981 Chevy Truck

Facelift Truck with a new front end including quadruple headlights, horizontal side marker lights, and grille. The interior changed as well with dash pad, door panels, dash bezel, seat covers and door sill plates. This truck also had a weight reduction up to 300 pounds and would have moved the fuel tank to the driver side bed side.

1982 Chevy Truck

Chevrolet would have it standard for trucks to have the chrome grille and chrome bumper. K Series K10, K20, K30 came with power steering as a standard option now. Last year you could find a factory 2WD Blazer. Also Chevrolet was #1 in Chevy Truck Sales.

1983 Chevy Truck

In 1983 the turn signals would move from the bumper to the grille area and switched out the chrome front bumper. Also the 700R4 Transmission came available as an option for an automatic transmission.

1984 Chevy Truck

The dual headlights were made optional for the front end and the hood ornaments would disappear. Interior the wiper controls would move to the column and the high beam lights, cruise control, and trunk signal lever would all be integrated together. Chevrolet would have also sold 30,000 K-Series Trucks and 23,000 Blazers to the Army.

1985 Chevy Truck

Introduction of the Vortec V6 with a 4 barrel carburetor along with hydraulic clutches being manufactured in Chevy Trucks. Added Two-Tone Paint Schemes to the Custom Trucks as an option and also would have been a grille change for 1985. Also GM would introduced more variations of the C/K Series Trucks to Brazil.

1986 Chevy Truck

This was the last year that Chevrolet Trucks would have been equipped with carburetor engines. The 1986 Chevy Truck was also announced the official truck of the Indy 500. 

1987 Chevy Truck

Last year of the Round Line C/K Series Truck. C & K series would also have a name change with C Series and K Series now being the R & V Series. Along with the changes to the name designation Chevy would also introduce the TBI equipped engines and computer ignition controls.