The GMC K1500 pickup was manufactured in United States in 1960. It had four generations spanning to almost forty years until its final release in 2000. Apart from its production in North America, some pickup models were also assembled in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Canada. The K1500 had numerous changes and upgrades from the engine to the body, as it stood the test of time from the classic to the modern era.
1960 – 1966: First generation
The arrival of the GMC K1500 had marked the change in the designation system for trucks by GM, and the “K” nomenclature indicated the four-wheel drive system for pickup trucks. The first GMC K1500 model had a torsion bar front suspension and a trailing arm rear suspension. There were three different engine types for the K1500. The first was the GMC 305 V6 engine for the base trim line, next was the 135 horsepower straight-six engine, and the last was the 185 horsepower V8 engine. In 1963, a coil-spring front suspension was introduced; while the air-conditioning was added in 1965.
1967 – 1972: Second generation
A different look and the nickname “Action Line” for the K1500 came in 1967. The aim of GM was to add more comfort to the vehicle. Thus, the pickup models had standard leaf springs, and the coils springs became optional. The drivetrain of the vehicle had a three-speed manual transmission system, while a four-speed manual transmission was optional. A year later, changes in the engine followed, and a bigger 310 horsepower V8 engine was used. The grille of pickup was redesigned to an “egg grate” style in 1971. Also in the same year, a new trim line called Sierra was introduced.
1973 – 1987: Third generation
Before the start of the 1973 model year, GM had already started the development of the new pickup trucks. Prototypes had been tested on computers before it was produced. The design of the K1500 was changed, and it was referred to as “Rounded Line” because GM’s aim was to improve the truck’s aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. In 1982, the 6.2 diesel type engine debuted, but it was only available on two-wheel drive pickups. In the latter years of the third generation, TBI or throttle-body fuel injection was introduced for V6 and V8 engines that gave the K1500 an increase in horsepower up to 210 hp.
1988 – 2000: Fourth generation
After two years, the fourth generation of the GMC K1500 was born, and it had an independent front suspension compared to its predecessor’s solid front axles. The start of the 1999 debuted the 4L80-E automatic transmission for the one-ton version of the truck. In the same year, a turbocharger was made available for the 6.5 diesel engine. The Vortec V8 engine that produced 255 to 290 hp was introduced in 1996. Two years before its production was stopped, the GMC K1500 design was upgraded with an airbag system and the PASSLOCK II anti-theft system.