Almost a 100 years ago, Chevrolet launched the legendary 1918 One-Ton, a truck that went on to inspire multiple iconic designs during the automaker’s history.
While aesthetics have changed considerably over time, one thing has always remained the same – form has always followed function when it came to Chevrolet’s truck design.
“Today, the Chevrolet truck design studio is focused on purposeful design that creates personality and customization options for a wide breadth of truck customers,” said Chevy Trucks exterior design director, Rich Scheer.
“Looking back on the past century of truck design, I realized that Chevrolet designers have been focused on the same goals since the very beginning.”
A list featuring the 10 most iconic Chevy trucks in history, would definitely need to start with the previously mentioned 1918 One-Ton. It had a rolling chassis with an open cab, an in-line four-cylinder engine and an open frame, allowing for customer customization. Chevrolet even wanted to give it a beautiful badge, according to Scheer.
1929 International Series LD
The International Series LD was the first-ever Chevy truck to feature a closed cab, which in turn created the potential for what would later be called “interior design”. This model was also around when the American automaker started introducing color.
The Half Ton was the first truck designed by Chevrolet’s newly formed Art and Color department, later known as the Design Center. It was also the year in which designers realized that trucks needed their own visual identity. That’s how this lower and longer vehicle with a styled grille and elegant fenders was born.
1947 3100 Series
According to Scheer, the 3100 is one of the most iconic designs in automotive history. Mention a classic Chevy truck and it’s likely that people will think about the 1947 3100 Series model. It was larger than previous trucks and featured a five-bar horizontal grille instead of the vertical grilles in the past. It also had more of a presence on the road thanks to the integrated fenders and the positioning of the headlights.
1955 3124 Series Cameo Carrier
The Cameo Carrier, also known as the Task Force truck, was Chevrolet’s first Fleetside design and first bumper-to-bumper styled truck. It’s exterior was more elegant, so to speak, mainly because of the bed surface being flush with the cab and fender – a design philosophy that would carry on.
1967 C10 Fleetside
Scheer says that the C10 Fleetside is the first truck he’s ever fallen in love with. He admired its sleek design and its hint of wheel flare. Other noticeable design elements are the strong shoulders that taper towards the rear, and the Chevy bar in front which connects the headlights with the bowtie. Also worth noting that this time period is also when metallic paint was introduced, helping highlight certain subtleties and body lines that weren’t so visible before.
1973 C30 One-Ton Dually
As the first crew cab dually to hit the U.S. market, the C30 One-Ton was considered “simple, tough and purposeful,” according to Scheer, much like Chevrolet’s earliest trucks. This model also came with a dramatic increase in capability, helping customers use their trucks for work, as well as recreation.
1988 C/K 1500
The C/K 1500 was a very advanced truck for its time, especially since it was the very first design influenced by aerodynamics. It also featured a new interior design with a low instrument panel, a pod-like setup and some futuristic-looking buttons. You can argue that even to this day, this model doesn’t look particularly old.
1999 Silverado 1500 LT Z71
This was the very first Chevy truck to utilize the Silverado nameplate, as well as the brand’s current front end design. It wasn’t the most imposing truck ever built, but it did feature lots of modern design elements that previous models could only dream of.
2007 Silverado 1500
“Simple, modern and powerful,” says Scheer when thinking about the 2007 Silverado. It’s got flared arches and a clean body design, looking a lot more imposing than the previous generation model. Since it came about, Chevy truck design has yet to change considerably.