Chevrolet is known as one of the best manufacturers of pickup trucks in the market. Each of the models released by General Motors under the Chevrolet line surely makes an impact in the automotive industry and attracts millions of consumers worldwide. The Chevy 3500 is more popularly known as the Silverado and is also considered as the other version of the GMC Sierra. The K3500 prefix, however, mainly pertains to the vehicle being a four-wheel drive and falling in the one-ton range.
An overview of the Silverado
The Chevrolet Silverado is a full-size pickup that is known as the first truck produced by General Motors in 1930. Its production was primarily for the purpose of having a name for the pickup trucks and Suburban units released by the brand from 1975 to 1999. However, GMC used another name to distinguish the trucks from its line–Sierra.
The Chevrolet K3500 and GMC Sierra were practically like twins because of the very slight differences that they have be it on the mechanical aspect, or the interior and exterior designs. One of the few things that set the two models apart is that the Silverado is known as the standard pickup truck design, while the Sierra is the more luxurious type.
First generation: 1960 to 1966
During this time, pickup trucks were relatively new in the industry, which is why General Motors managed to introduce a lot of firsts for consumers when it comes to truck features. In 1960, the Chevrolet K3500 featured a drop-center ladder frame and an independent front suspension. The unique ladder frame allowed the vehicle to sit lower and likely touching the ground, while the independent suspension made drivers feel like they are driving a car instead of a truck.
In the following years, the earlier K3500 generation had a couple of changes on its system and appearance such as the coil-spring front suspension and a new engine in 1963, the removal of the wraparound windshield and the installation of the new front grille design in 1964, an improved air-conditioning system in 1965, and a new 155-horsepower engine in 1966.
Second generation: 1967 to 1972
By 1967, GM launched a new line of K3500 trucks called as the “Action Line”. It was a revision of the pickup truck with the necessary enhancements for comfort and convenience. In this generation, most of the models had coil springs for the rear suspension, although there were still trucks that carried the leaf springs because it was the standard among Chevy and GMC trucks at the time. The drive train also had a manual transmission, but the manufacturers still gave consumers the option to get other types of transmission such as the Powerglide and the Turbo-Hydramatic.
In the latter years of the second generation, the Chevrolet K3500 went through a series of changes that contributed to how the truck looks now. Some of the most noticeable modifications are the enlarged V8 engine and new grille design in 1969 and 1970, an additional trim package for the vehicle, more padding and insulation for the interiors, the installation of AM/FM radios, and a switch to disc brakes in 1971.
Third generation: 1973 to 1987
When the third generation was introduced, General Motors made sure that there are things that consumers could look forward to. The brand made sure that the upcoming line of Chevrolet K3500 trucks has something new to offer in the market, and it has achieved this goal.
The latest line of K3500 trucks brandished a rounded-line exterior, which was focused on improving the truck’s aerodynamics and making it more fuel efficient. It also had a double-wall construction and a sculpted body work for a sleeker look. The wheelbase was again extended and a dual rear wheel option was developed.
Fourth generation: 1988 to 2000
Come 1988, General Motors came up with eight different versions of the truck: the Fleetside Single Cab, the Fleetside Crew Cab, the Fleetside Extended Cab, and the Stepside Single Cab, each of them available in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive designs. It also featured a 4x4 front suspension and a sport appearance package with a black bumper and body trim, wheel flares, mirrors, and a spot grille.
However, the production of the K3500 slowly waned until it has eventually ceased in 2000 due to the introduction of newer models from the brand carrying the same features as the truck. Instead, General Motors opted to focus on improving the Silverado and the Sierra lines.