Segment Seven: 1960-1966 Fleetside Pickups Author:
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
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
Only the 1960 and 1961
Chevrolet pickups had the front styling shown on this 1961 C10 Fleetside
pickup. The only appearance to differentiate between the 1960 and 1961
trucks were that the parking light ovals were open around the spinners
in 1961 whereas in the 1960 models this area was entirely closed. The
C1434 truck shown is powered by the 283 cubic inch Trademaster V-8 engine.
Its transmission is the Powerglide (Photo: Don Bunn)
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
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.
The Greenwood, DE Volunteer
Fire Dept. owned this 1963 K2534 3/4-ton Chevrolet Fleetside 4x4 brush
fire pickup. It had a 250-gallon water tank and a 300 gpm pump. It was
rated for a max payload of 3300 lbs. Its standard engine was the 230 six
(Photo: Don Bunn)
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.
Chevrolet pickups were
given a restyled grille for 1964. It's a little difficult to detect in
this photo but its top grille bar has the Chevrolet name displayed in
black block letters. This grille continued through 1966. One has to distinguish
between model years by the location of the model numberplate seen here
on the lower section of the front fenders. A 1964 model C1534 half-ton
Fleetside pickups is shown. (Photo: AAMA)
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
Corvair 95 Loadside pickup, shown, was one of two Corvair pickups. The
other was the Rampside. It had a side gate with a hinge, which doubled
as a ramp when opened. Corvair's load height was only 16 1/4-inches. The
95 in its name comes from its 95-inch wheelbase. Corvair pickups had a
huge cargo area in terms of cubic capacity but is maximum payload was
limited to 1850 lbs.
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.
Note how this 1965
Chevrolet model C1534 half-ton Fleetside pickup shown has its model number
placed high up on the cowl. Standard engine was the 230 six; the 292 six
and the 283 V-8 were options. (Photo: AAMA)
The 1966 pickup's model
number plate was moved to low on the front fenders. Its shape differs
from that of the 1964 model however. The 1966's plate was horizontal in
shape versus the "T" shape of the 1964. Shown is a 1966 Chevrolet
C1504 Stepside half-ton pickup. Its standard engine was the 250 six. The
292 six and the 283 and 327 V-8s were options. (Photo: Don Bunn)