Chevrolet’s first truck went to market as a 1918 model year. Named the One-Ton, it was effectively a Series 490 motor car with an open platform for building out whatever body the customer needed.
Here are several key designs that formed its legacy according to Rich Scheer, Chevrolet Trucks director of exterior design.
1929 International Series LD: This was a significant step forward for Chevy as it was the first truck to have a closed cab. Drivers were no longer exposed to the elements and interior design became a consideration—the interior was a separate environment from the outside world. Chevy also introduced exterior color combinations, signaling the start of personalization options for truck buyers.
1938 Half-Ton: Chevy’s Art and Color department, now known as Design Center, played a role in the styling of a truck for the first time. It’s evident in the art deco styling: teardrop drop fenders, a styled grille, and an overall streamlined look.
1947 3100 Series: This is the archetypical vintage Chevy truck. It employed the first use of the horizontal grille, a styling queue still used on the Bow Tie’s trucks today. The fenders are more incorporated with the body, signaling a shift toward contemporary truck design.
1955 3124 Series Cameo Carrier: Speaking of contemporary truck design this is arguably the first modern truck—due to the line that runs uninterrupted from the front to back. It’s also the brand’s first Fleetside truck; the bed’s bodywork is flush with the cab and fenders.
1967 C10 Fleetside: This is the first truck Scheer fell in love with. It maintains and advances the front to back line of the 3124 Series and overall has a very clean look. The Bow Tie emblem is integrated with the Chevrolet bar on the front fascia as well.
1973 C30 One-Ton Dually: Chevy’s first definitively heavy duty truck, the C30’s design emphasizes the vehicle’s utility. It’s minimalistic compared to previous generations but purpose-built.
1988 C/K 1500: This truck still looks modern today: a lot of the styling has carried into current models. Chevy did aerodynamic testing on the C/K 1500 because gas prices had gone up since the previous decades. The interior got futuristic buttons and a low-set instrument panel.
1999 Silverado 1500 LT Z71: The first generation Silverado is when Chevy’s trucks really take on the current look, especially from the front-fascia. It maintained the aerodynamic look and took it forward with an evolutionary step.
2007 Silverado 1500: Chevy bulked up this truck without losing the benefit of aerodynamic design. Its fenders bulge a little more than the previous generation.