Why Are Chevy OBS Trucks Surging in Popularity?
It’s hard to grasp that 1988 was 33 years ago, so while you’re letting that settle in and allowing the memories of the better days to flood in, let’s add on and discuss a dream purchase for some – the Chevy Old Body Style (OBS) truck. Did that grab your attention? Good, because these trucks seem to be fueling a nostalgia movement as they spike in popularity.
It’s hard to deny the explosion of the OBS models onto the used truck market, and we’re ready to jump in as well. Several years ago, it was possible to pick up an OBS on the cheap. However, with the surge in interest from sport truck enthusiasts, prices for the project trucks have nearly doubled. However, they’re still affordable; for now.
If you want to measure the popularity this way, you can find podcasts, forums, and social media platforms dedicated to this growing interest, proving it’s not a “trend” that’ll fade out – it’s here to stay. Despite its prevalence, some might be on their phone with Google open asking what “OBS” refers to – we’ll save you the trouble.
What is an OBS?
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.
Represented Model Years
GMT400/480: ’88-’00 GMC Sierra – Chevrolet C/K
GMT410: ’92-’99 Chevrolet Suburban
GMT415: ’92-’94 Chevrolet Full-Size Blazer
GMT420: ’95-’00 Chevrolet Tahoe
GMT425: ’92-’99 GMC Suburban
GMT430: ’92-’00 GMC Yukon
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.