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Retro vehicles–often modern muscle cars with classic looks–are big business. It’s unsurprising that Chevrolet tried to capitalize on this trend with some callbacks in the design of its Silverado 1500. But I think General Motors needs to go all-in by bringing back the beloved square body style pickup truck. And not as a full-size truck but as a redesign of the midsize Chevrolet Colorado.

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s retro style isn’t enough

Promo photo of a 2019 Silverado pulling a trailer down a quiet country road.
The all-new 2019 Silverado 1500 will introduce four levels of towing features to provide customers more confidence, better visibility, easier hitching and improved connectivity between the truck and trailer.

Chevrolet redesigned its Silverado 1500 for the 2019 model year. The new truck’s looks were divisive, with long, thin headlights wrapping from the top of its split grille and around its fenders. But longtime Chevy truck fans recognized the style.

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado‘s narrow slanted headlights are a callback to the slanted, narrow, stacked lights of the truck’s GMT 800 generation. Its split grille is another nod to the same classic truck built from 2000 through 2007.

There’s only one problem: many Chevy fans do not yet consider a 2007 GMT 800 a classic truck. Therefore, Chevrolet’s retro design cues didn’t strike much of a chord with truck buyers. If General Motors wants to lean into Chevrolet’s heritage, it needs to lean further.

The Chevy square body pickup truck is widely loved

This is a red and black 4x4 square body Chevy truck modified with a modern V8 as a pro-touring off-roader, by Chevrolet for SEMA.
1978 Chevrolet K-series | Isaac Brekken for Chevrolet

The square body generation of the Chevy C/K is one of the most classic pickup trucks of all time. The square body Chevy may have once been considered a budget replacement for the more art deco pickups of the 60s. But today, the 1973-1987 Chevrolet pickup truck is one of the most popular classics in the world.

The simple, square body of these trucks is an excellent canvas for hot-rodders–whether they want to lift it and paint it hot rod black or transform it into a luminous lowrider. The truck’s simple grille and lights give it a timeless appeal, even today.

The square body Chevy truck generation is the perfect vintage vehicle to bring to the modern market. But I don’t think Chevy should build a full-size square body. I think a retro style would be the perfect way to make its midsize pickup trucks competitive.

A square body Chevy truck could dominate the midsize market

One reason that the 2019-present Chevrolet Silverado didn’t look as retro as its designers might have imagined was the sheer size of the truck. Pickups have simply gotten bigger. While a retro Camaro or Mustang’s size might help it to look a lot like its historical counterpart, trucks don’t have this advantage.

What is more, full-size pickup truck buyers are often fleet operators or craftspeople looking for the best deal on a simple work truck. They aren’t looking to shell out extra money for the more retro-looking option. Midsize truck buyers might be a better target for a vehicle that pulls at your heart strings.

I’ve already written about why General Motors’ midsize trucks are undervalued, especially on the used vehicle market. The incredible range of reliable engines and cab/bed configurations of the Chevy Colorado make it a sensible used midsize truck to buy. But despite General Motors’ excellent design and manufacturing, the Canyon and Colorado can’t seem to take much market share from competitors such as the Toyota Tacoma. What better way to sell an American truck than to lean into its American heritage?

Chevy, please bring back your square body pickup design as the next generation of your midsize Colorado truck.

Next, read all about the 1973-1987 Chevrolet pickup truck generation or learn more about the square body Chevy in the video below:


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