The History of the Chevy Silverado

2014 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ

You may know that the Silverado is one of the most popular Chevy trucks for sale right now, but you might not know that the truck shares its name with a trim level that was used on a previous model truck that was introduced in 1975. The Chevy C/K and the GMC Suburban both offered a Silverado trim before the name was transferred to the new truck that would take the place of the C/K.

While facts like these might seem like little more than interesting trivia, they actually help you gain a more complete understanding of the history of the Chevy Silverado, which can help you understand how it has evolved to become the quality truck it is today. Then when you go shopping for Chevy trucks for sale, you have a better appreciation for the value the Silverado offers.

Here’s what you need to know about the history of the Chevy Silverado:

First Generation

1999 Chevy Silverado

The Chevy Silverado was first introduced as a light-duty pickup truck in 1999, and the GMC Sierra was its mechanical twin. The C/K pickups, which the Silverado was meant to replace, continued in production through 1999 and 2000 for light-duty models and heavy-duty models, respectively.

The first generation of the Silverado is referred to as the “classic” body style. It came with three cab styles (a two-door standard cab, a four-door extended cab, and an extended cab with front-hinged doors) and three bed lengths (short, standard and long). For the first model year, the only options were a regular cab and a three-door extended cab.

Three engine options were available for the first year: A Vortec 4300 V6, Vortec 4800 V8, and a Vortec 5300 V8. Additional options were added in later years: A 6.0-liter Vortec 6000 V8 and an 8.1-liter Vortec 8100 V8. All options were powerful enough for off-roading and hauling.

Chevy gave the Silverado a face lift a couple of times during the first generation, including a reworked front and rear end in 2003 and several changes that made it look more like its heavy duty counterpart in 2006.

Several variants of the Silverado were offered during the first generation, including an SS model that was introduced in 2003, a special edition Intimidator SS in 2006, a Performance Edition in 2004, a hybrid introduced in 2004, and a heavy duty variant that ran from 2000 to 2007.

Second Generation

2007 Chevy Silverado

The second generation of the Chevy Silverado was introduced in 2007, and it received an all new design and a new engine. The new Silverado got a new interior and exterior, a new frame and new suspension. It was built on the “Shakebody” platform, and it was referred to as the “new body style.”

The new Silverado offered the same cab configurations as the previous generation, and it came as either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. It received the Generation IV small block V8 engines, and the LTZ trim offered a high-performance 6.2-liter V8 engine. The entire lineup was more powerful.

The second generation of Silverados was also made to be tougher. The truck received a new steel frame made of higher strength, improving the stiffness of the body by a whopping 92 percent. New rear springs, hydraulic body mounts and other changes improved the durability of the truck while also improving the ride. The new Silverado could stand up to tough road conditions and carry heavy loads. In fact, the new weight ratings on the truck allowed a four-wheel drive to handle as much as a snow plow.

Silverado’s second generation racked up accolades. It received top safety marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it was awarded the North American Truck of the Year and Motor’s Trends Truck of the Year for its inaugural year in 2007.

Current Generation

2015 Chevy Silverado z71

The third and current generation of the Chevy Silverado was introduced in 2014, and it saw several improvements while also maintaining the same quality characteristics that had made it such a success up to that point.

With the introduction of the third generation, the Silverado got three engine options: a 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V6, a 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8, and a 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8. They offered 285 horsepower, 355 horsepower and 420 horsepower, respectively. Buyers could get all the power they needed from a Silverado truck.

Structural changes were made that increased the strength of the new Silverado, including a high-strength steel frame with hydroforming technology and a high-strength steel frame in the bed of the truck. The steel used in the bed is roll formed instead of stamped to make it more lightweight to improve the performance and fuel efficiency of the truck. Aluminum is also used on the hood, engine block and control arms to save weight.

Numerous features were added to the third generation of the Silverado, either as new features or standard features that were once optional. Examples include the MyLink infotainment system with touch screen, Bluetooth technology for streaming music and making hands-free phone calls, a Bose premium audio system, OnStar navigation and roadside assistance program, and USB ports and auxiliary cables for charging or streaming personal devices, such as smart phones and tablets.

The new Silverado also got its first luxury model, the High Country special edition. This upgraded model included special leather upholstery, subtle exterior styling changes, and special badging throughout.

With the 2015 model, the Silverado received a 6.2-liter EcoTec3 engine with an eight-speed 8L90 transmission. The new transmission allows for faster shifting and acceleration and improved fuel efficiency.

The Silverado continues to be one of the most popular Chevy trucks for sale, and it has received numerous awards since it was first introduced. The Silverado is flexible to provide the performance you need without sacrificing your style.

Visit DePaula Chevrolet to take a test drive of the new 2015 Chevrolet Silverado or a previously owned Silverado. Whether you buy new or used, you can feel confident knowing that you are getting a quality truck that will serve you for years to come.