What does OBS mean in trucks? It’s no secret that the custom truck scene is on fire right now with many different models creating their own niches. One of those being OBS trucks from a few decades ago. For those not in the know, you might be asking what truck this is and what does OBS mean?
What does OBS mean in trucks?
OBS, otherwise known as “old body style,” refers to Chevy C/K trucks manufactured by General Motors between 1988 and 1998. These trucks were marketed under the GMC and Chevrolet brands, and the C/K included various vehicles, as well as a truck and two SUV models.
Although they’re most commonly associated with pickup trucks, the line also features medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. The “K” refers to four-wheel drive, while the “C” references two-wheel drive.
General Motors released eight versions of the C/K line for 1988, including a Fleetside Extended Cab, Fleetside Single Cab, Fleetside Crew Cab, and Stepside Single Cab models. Each of these was offered in 2WD or 4WD. Three trim levels came with these trucks, including Scottsdale, Silverado, and Cheyenne.
In 1988, General Motors wanted to make their trucks more car-like, and they were dedicated to building America’s best truck. They deemed it the “American success story.” Chevrolet wanted something brand new that was cutting edge. At that point, trucks were designed to haul manure and dirt, not be “cool,” but when the 1988 was introduced, it changed everything.
When you couple that with support from the aftermarket industry, it helped the body style to take off. General Motors knew they had something big and began marketing the truck aggressively – it worked.
What trucks are considered OBS?
OBS most often refers to Chevrolet C/K pickup trucks of 1988 – 1998 years of manufacture. These General Motors heavy goods vehicles were sold under the Chevrolet and GMC brands and included medium and heavy-duty trucks and some SUV models. “K” means four-wheel drive, and “C” – two-wheel drive.
In 1988, GM released eight versions of the C/K line:
- Fleetside Extended Cab,
- Single Cab,
- Crew Cab,
- and Stepside Single Cab.
They were based on a Chevrolet GMT 400 and GTM 480. The truck had three trim levels: Scottsdale, Silverado, and Cheyenne.
In 1988, GM wanted to make the pickups look more car-like, and they dedicated themselves to making the best trucks in America. Chevrolet wanted something completely new and advanced. At the time, trucks were designed to carry manure and dirt, not to be stylish, but from 1988 that all changed.
Supported by the aftermarket industry, this body style manages to take a leap forward. The GM company knew they had something special and began selling trucks heavily. And now you can choose from the rich assortment of used Chevy and GMC trucks that combine power, style, and top-notch technologies to meet the most demanding needs.
Who buys OBS trucks, and what causes the OBS popularity?
Several years ago, it was possible to buy an OBS truck in Indianapolis on the cheap. However, the prices have nearly doubled with the current shortage on the market. And the demand for such vehicles continues to grow.
Most buyers’ interest in OBS trucks is encouraged by the nostalgic move. It can be explained by the memories of traveling with parents or grandparents who owned such a vehicle, but it is also of interest to young enthusiasts.
Clean design, assembly/reconstruction practicality, fuel injection, economy, and affordable price range are the factors that make such old body style trucks favorites of many Americans.
Tailor-made improvements and regular maintenance, as well as repairs, are inexpensive. And parts, such as grilles and mirrors, can be replaced from year to year. Because most of the cladding is held in place with glue, it can be easily removed. OBS trucks are also very reliable, comfortable, and can be used for daily drives.
The reason for the surge is that the OBS vehicles are not only incredibly strong, but they are fuel injected, and it is easy to find the right parts without spending a lot of money. You can get a variety of answers by chatting with hundreds of passionate fans. Simply put, these are cool road carriers with amazing possibilities and custom options. If you own it, you know what you have.
Problems with old body style trucks
As with many older cars, it is important to step back and consider the issues that are common to most OBS trucks. GM’s fourth-generation pickup trucks look impressive, but they can hardly match the power, fuel efficiency, and safety of modern vehicles without major modifications:
- The 1988 Chevy C / K with the standard 4.3-liter V6 provided a total consumption of 15 mpg.
- The 2020 Silverado with the 3-liter diesel engine can boast 27 mpg, 277 hp.
And although the interior of old body style trucks at the time was good, the cheap plastic used in previous models was prone to cracking, and the inner and outer door handles often break.
Also, if you want to buy an older model, it is critical to drive carefully, as airbags were not introduced on GM trucks until 1995. However, all these issues are very common among buyers of vintage and classic cars.
What’s driving the OBS surge?
The surge of interest in these trucks makes sense. A young guy or girl who was into the sport truck scene of the 1990s is in their 40s or 50s now, meaning they’re primed for a trip down memory lane.
It’s similar to the generations that rediscovered street rods in the 1970s and 1980s or muscle cars in the 1990s and 2000s. The sport truck crowd has some money invested to revisit their past, and they’re clearly doing so.
For most buyers, yes, it’s fueled by a nostalgic movement, which could be attributed to memories of your parents or grandparents owning one of these larger than life trucks, but there’s also interest from younger enthusiasts as well.
Plenty of factors make these trucks desirable, such as the clean design, practicality when it comes to building/re-building, fuel injection, affordability & availability, and they’re a lot of fun to slam or lift.
Custom parts and replacement-style parts are inexpensive, and parts like grilles and mirrors can be swapped between the different years. Since most of the trim was held together with adhesive, it’s easy to remove. The trucks are also extremely reliable, comfortable, and have no issues with being used as your daily driver.
What’s driving the surge is not only that they’re incredible trucks, they’re rugged, fuel injected, and you can easily find the parts you need without breaking the bank. You can talk to ten enthusiasts and get different answers.
Simply put, these are cool trucks with a lot of character that have options dependent on your specific preferences. If you own one, you know what you have, and if you’re considering a purchase, you’re justified in your feelings.
While our reasons to purchase one may be influenced by anything we touched on above, it’s hard to deny that these trucks possess the “it” factor. Fortunately, a lot of them were produced, meaning we’ll be seeing them or have access for many generations to come.
What year Chevy is OBS?
Chevrolet replaced the “Rounded Line” pickup (often called the square body Chevy) with its new C/K truck in 1988. It continued to build this generation–also called the OBS Chevy–until 1998.
The OBS Chevy features more rounded lines than its predecessor because it was the first aerodynamic influenced truck on the market. General Motors’ had an internal code for the 1988 through 1998 generation of its Chevrolet C/K and GMC Sierra. The automaker called this chassis the GMT 400. OBS Chevy is obviously a slang term that fans of the truck have adopted.
Referring to any generation of truck as the “old body style” obviously becomes problematic as successive new generations come out. Who knows, maybe in a few decades someone will call a 2023 Chevrolet Silverado an OBS Chevy. But for now, the consensus is that an OBS Chevy is the GMT400.
With independent front suspension and fuel injection, these OBS Chevy pickup trucks are prized for modern driving characteristics paired with vintage good looks.
When did Chevy stop making OBS?
The last generation of the Chevrolet C/K trucks, often called the Chevy OBS, ran from 1988 through 1998. In 1999, Chevrolet introduced the first generation of the Silverado (which confusingly coincided with the second generation of the GMC Sierra)–replacing the Chevy OBS.
The 1999 GMC Sierra/Chevrolet Silverado featured much more rounded lines than its predecessor. Its slanted headlights make it instantly recognizable. This new generation is often referred to as the GMT800.
What engines were in the OBS Chevys?
You could order an OBS Chevy pickup truck with a range of engines. The base model came with a 4.3-liter V6. Your gas V8 options ranged from 5.0-liter all the way up to 7.4-liters. General Motors also offered a naturally-aspirated and a turbocharged diesel V8.
Are OBS Chevys reliable?
If you are used to working on modern cars, you may prefer an OBS Chevy to an earlier generation. This is because it was the first GM truck generation to exclusively use modern technologies such as fuel injection and independent suspension even on its 4×4 trucks. It even did away with locking hubs so you could shift into 4×4 from the cab.
If you are used to carburetors and solid frond axles, the OBS Chevy might be a pain to work on. Every old vehicle will have some mechanical issues. And it’s important to remember that a 1988 OBS Chevy is over thirty years old. But they have a reputation for being reliable.
Why are they called OBS Fords?
The rise in popularity of the late 20th century Ford pickup trucks has turned America’s workhorse into something of a classic. Old body style, or OBS, is a term used in reference to the much-revered pickup trucks produced before the controversial redesigns of the early 2000s.
Why are OBS trucks so popular?
The reasons are many but include their terrific styling, dependability, and prices. Equipped and functioning much like newer trucks, millions were produced. That keeps a lid on the price.
Are OBS trucks going up in price?
As far as values go for these trucks, OBS Fords and Chevys are on the same level. From what we have seen in the last few years, prices have been on the rise for all of these trucks. Now that they are considers classic and people are nostalgic about them, the market is seeing a dramatic increase.
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