|Chevrolet's Early V-8 Pickup Era ended after only a five year run, which compares to nine years for the Advanced Design Pickup Era. The only 1959 pickup carried over was the car based El Camino. This was the El Camino's last year until 1964. One of management's key motives for a new truck series was to get improved market coverage. That coverage had mostly to do with|
|medium- and heavy duty trucks. Historically Chevrolet was always known as a light-duty truck builder and only second as a medium duty producer. In 1955 with the addition of truck V-8 engines Chevrolet's engineers began to build bigger trucks. The only change of note concerning pickups was that the one-ton 4 wheel drive model was dropped, Chevrolet continued to build half- and 3/4-ton 4WD trucks only. Maximum||
GVWs for the half-ton 4 wheel drive models was increased to 5,200 lbs. from 5,000 lbs.
Model Series designations for 1960 were completely revised. The new system began with a letter prefix. For example, a "C" prefix indicated a conventional cab; a "K" indicated a 4 wheel drive model; a "P" model was forward control; an "L" was a low cab forward; an "S" was a school bus and an "M" was a tandem.
A half-ton pickup was now either a model C1404 or C1434. The "C" designated a conventional cab; the "1" half-ton; the "4" a 6 1/2-foot body and the "04" and "34" were for Stepside or Fleetside body types.
The C/K designation
became well known over the years and continued in use through the 1997
engineers worked overtime changing the proportions of the new light-duty
truck line for more favorable weight distribution and lower overall heights.
First of all, they increased the front axle loading by up to eight percent
by adding 5.6-inches to the CA dimension (the back of the cab to the center
of the rear axle) and by moving the front axle back by 1.88 inches.
length for the half-ton was increased by one inch to 115 inches and on the
the 3/4-ton by 3 3/4-inches to 127 inches, but the one-ton was decreased
by 2 inches to 133 inches.
The half-ton and 3/4-ton cab models utilized a new, drop-center, X-type frame assembly. This construction was necessary to beef up the frame because of the new four-wheel independent suspension system, especially for the front torsion bars. The new frame construction coupled with the new cab styling, which was 3.88-inches lower than the previous cab, reduced overall vehicle height by up to seven inches. This substantial reduction in height provided a lower center of gravity and improved vehicle stability. A second benefit of the reduced height was the lower seat-to-ground dimension, which made the cab entrance and exit easier.
The new cab dimensions resulted in greater driver and passenger comfort. Cab width (hip room) was increased by 5.8 inches; shoulder room by 5.1 inches; interior height by 1.3-inches and legroom by 1.9-inches. For all-around visibility for easier, safer driving Chevrolet engineers offered an extra-large rear window as an option on all pickups. The "dog leg" windshield returned for 1960 except that it was wider and higher. Total glass area was increased 263 square inches. Side door glass and ventipanes were reduced because of the new styling.
All 1960 Chevrolet trucks, including mediums and heavy-duties, featured new independent front suspensions with the exception of 4 wheel drive and forward control models. The pickup's front springing was by extra heavy and durable torsion bars while rear springing for half- and 3/4-ton pickups employed coil springs. One-ton pickups retained the use of leaf springs in the rear but with torsion bars in the front.
For 1961 Chevrolet introduced the Corvair 95 lie of short wheelbase, rear engine light-duty trucks. The line included a van, wagon and two pickups - with or without a swing-down side ramp called a 'Ramp-Side'. Corvair pickups were designed for light and bulky loads. In no sense were they expected to replace the hard working conventional half-ton pickups.
The 1962 Chevrolet pickups featured a new hood and grille style. An optional alternator and directional signals were made standard equipment in all but one series. The pickup line continued to consist of the Corvair, 6 1/2- and 8-foot Fleetsides and Stepsides, the 8-foot Stepside 3/4-ton and the 9 foot Stepside one-ton. Engine options for Series C10 through C30 included the standard 235.5 cubic inch six and the optional 283 cubic inch 160 horsepower V-8.
changes for 1963 included replacing the light-duty model's torsion bar
front suspension with coil springs and replacing the former standard six
cylinder engine family with all new 230 cubic inch and 292 cubic inch
sixes. The former 235.5 and 261 cubic inch sixes remained the standard
engines for K10 and K20 pickups only. A restyled grille freshened up all
pickup's front appearances.
The most significant improvement for 1964 was the change from the dogleg windshield to the conventional curved type. It provided easier entrance and exits for driver and passengers and looked much better too. The 230 and 292 six cylinder engines continued as the standard engines for all 2 wheel drives and beginning in 1964 for all 4 wheel drive pickups also. The 235.5 and 261 sixes were dropped. The 283 cubic inch V-8 remained optional for all C/K pickups. The El Camino returned after a four year absence. It was built on the Chevelle's 115-inch wheelbase chassis.
The 1964 models continued through 1966 without any changes worth noting. The Corvair 95 pickups were discontinued after 1964 when the new front engine Chevrolet van replaced the Corvair vans. The El Camino pickups continued as a staple of the Chevrolet line. Chevrolet continued to be America's favorite pickups throughout the years 1960 to 1966. Chevrolet sold 588,320 trucks in 1966, which was its biggest year ever.