It’s Hip to Be Square: Is It Time to Invest in an OBS Truck?

It’s one thing to say, “OBS trucks are hot,” and another to see the numbers. Values of these cool old-body-style Chevy trucks are, indeed, rising. They’re riding a wave of cool 80s and 1990s nostalgia, as those of us of a certain age want the truck we remember our dads or moms proudly driving. Today any C/K Chevy OBS truck from 1998 to 1998 is worth a whopping 15% more than it was last year.

Values are skyrocketing for square-body and OBS Chevys

1990 Chevy 454 SS OBS truck
1990 Chevy 454 SS truck | Bring a Trailer

The numbers are in: the super-trendy 1980s/1990s OBS and square-body Chevy trucks, the C/K line, saw their price increase by a staggering 14.65% in the last year according to CarGurus. CarGurus tracks used car sales and while nearly every vehicle loses value year-over-year, C/K OBS pickups, or Chevy 1500 trucks, have seen an incredible rise in value while every other truck is losing value.

At Bring a Trailer, which tracks the prices of cars and trucks it sells, its data for 1998 to 2002 OBS (and early Silverado) Chevy trucks shows a steady price increase since 2020. CarGurus numbers also mostly track with Classic.com’s moving price average chart, too. In 1998 square body Chevys were selling for about $14,300 on average, while they’re averaging about $20,000 today at Classic.com.

What year of OBS truck is the best?

You can see an increase in price for many, though not all OBS trucks, at the auction site Bring a Trailer.
Auction results for 1988 to 2022 Chevy trucks at BringaTrailer | Br

When it comes to an increase in value, the market says that the 1996 C/K 1500 truck is the best. The 1996 versions saw a price increase of 46.39% in the last two years, according to CarGurus. The second most popular year is the 1997 version, which saw its value jump by 31.01%  in the same time, followed by the 1991 versions. There really isn’t much difference in the base OBS trucks of those years, but Chevy did make several special editions that can spike a year’s value. From 1991 to 1993, for example, Chevy made the 454 SS version, which had a giant V8, and in 1993 it made the black Pace Truck replicas.

While it’s hard to tell anyone a 35-year-old truck is a good investment, the sporty two-door versions with V8s seem to be selling at the highest prices, according to the three sites listed above. Four doors, which were rare, and diesels seem to be on the lower end of the spectrum. Two-door OBS trucks with V8s and a short bed are, simply, more fun to drive than giant crew haulers or stinky, loud, diesels.

Where can you buy a square body or OBS Chevy?

OBS Chevy trucks
OBS Chevy trucks | Facebook via Bell Tech

Several sites have listings for square body and OBS Chevys. The Bring a Trailer auction site has a few for sale now, as do Cars and Bids and Classic.com. However, Chevy made millions of these trucks, and there are likely a few hiding in your local classifieds, or maybe a barn or two. Like with most classics, it’s important to find one that hasn’t been beat, isn’t rusty, and has low mileage.

Options like fancy cassette decks, velour seats, and power windows increase their value, too, on these super-trendy trucks.

What is an OBS truck?

OBS is an acronym that, depending on who you talk to, can either mean Old Body Style, or Original Body Style, truck. Chevy considered them the GMT400 generation, but, basically, it means square-body Chevy trucks from 1988 to 1998. Purists even say Double-O B-S, or O.O.B.S., for “old, old body style,” which denotes the first square-body Chevy trucks made from the 1970s to 1987.

These trucks predated the Silverado name. Instead, the C version denoted two-wheel drive, while the K versions had four-wheel drive. They came with a V6, a Vortec V8, or a diesel, and in two-door, extra cab with a third door, or four-door styles, as well as work trucks with giant long beds. Chevy pioneered the Z71 off-road package on these trucks and to many the factory lift of that suspension looks the best. Others, though, prefer the street rod look of the standard trucks that came lowered with dealer-added suspension options.