You can find vast numbers of individuals who like modern trucks for their design or those who just want a rugged work truck. Besides these groups, there lies another, and they are the OBS truck owners. Now, you may ask, what does OBS mean for trucks? The iconic OBS truck was first produced in the 1990s, precisely in 1988.
Trucks from the year 2000 onward are referred to as “New Body Style,” and the year 2000 marks the cutoff for a truck to be termed OBS (Old Body Style or Original Body Style). This is because around the year 2000, American auto manufacturers overhauled their pickup truck design.
The only other need for an OBS truck is that it be produced in America, though occasionally, a desirable import model with the same look is also referred to as an OBS truck.
Over twenty years later, classic cars are more in demand than ever, and most OBS trucks fall into this group. Unlike new trucks, classics turn heads with a good paint job, new rims with off-road tires, and custom-painted rocker panels.
There is more to know, so our guide looks at the real OBS truck meaning and how the previous generation looked through various models from Ford and Chevy trucks. By the end, you can find some ideas on what to do with your OBS Chevy Stepside, or it can put you on the market to search for something you can admire yourself. (Learn How Far Can You Drive An Overheating Car)
What Does OBS Truck Mean?
OBS trucks: What does that mean? It refers to the boxy, tough truck designs made by American automakers in the 1990s and is called “Old Body Style.”
The definition of an OBS truck is somewhat subjective because it refers to vehicles with this vintage body type.
Most Common OBS Trucks
OBS trucks are becoming collectible classics; thus, their prices are dropping. If you want one, act quickly before costs climb.
Most old-style vehicles are American-made, as noted. As a result, Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC make the most-wanted models.
Below are important model specs for these most popular OBS trucks.
Chevrolet and GMC C/K
General Motors released eight different versions of the C/K line for 1988, each in either 2WD or 4WD:
They marketed under the Chevrolet and GMC brands the Chevy C/K series from 1988 to 1998. While most frequently associated with Chevy trucks, the C/K series also comprised medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
General Motors released eight C/K models in 1988, each with 2WD or 4WD:
- Fleetside Single Cab
- Fleetside Extended Cab
- Fleetside Crew Cab
- Stepside Single Cab models.
Cheyenne, Scottsdale, and Chevrolet Silverado were 1988 trim levels along with the differing chassis cab configuration in the OBS category.
OBS refers to the Chevy C/K trucks that General Motors produced between 1988 and 1998. The C/K series, which was marketed under the Chevrolet and GMC brands, featured a variety of vehicles, including a truck and two SUV models.
The model range also comprised medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, most frequently associated with pickup trucks. The “C” stood for two-wheel drive, while the “K” denoted four-wheel drive.
The fourth-generation C/K platform was known as GMT400, where C/K and GMC dubbed their full-size pickup trucks Sierra.
Chevrolet introduced the 454 SS (Super Sport emblem) high-performance GMT400 in 1990 as a 2WD half-ton conventional cab short box in Onyx Black. The GMT400 pickup trucks platform, which was initially developed as a full-size pickup truck and chassis cab, later evolved into full-size SUVs.
The old body style OBS trucks have a red interior and unique exterior features, including custom rims, red trim emblems, a black painted grille, and a front air dam with fog lights.
The axle is a 14-bolt semi-floating unit with 5 on 5-inch rims and was the only one of the American manufacturers’ 14-bolt axle with that wheel bolt pattern. (Read Check Engine Light After Oil Change)
Ford F-Series Old Body Style Trucks
The old body style F-series include the seventh, eighth, and ninth generations, although some enthusiasts would argue that the seventh generation (1980-1986 model years) is too old and thus refer to it as OOBS (old-old body style).
The most popular examples of the seventh-generation OBS are F-150, F-250, and F-350 regular cab, super cab, and crew cab configurations. Being a significant redesign of the 1965 model, the 1980 F-series received an all-new chassis and a completely new body with straighter body lines for improved power and fuel economy.
The eighth generation of the iconic Ford F-series (1987-1991 model years) was a significant revision of the 1980-1986 models but built using the same cab and chassis of the seventh generation.
The interior was completely redesigned, while the exterior also got many prominent upgrades, including composite headlamps, circular fenders, revised body panels, and a completely new and more aerodynamic front fascia.
The ninth generation F-series (1987-1991 model years) marks the final F-series OBS trucks from Ford, where they switched to the new body style trucks.
The larger F-series trucks, models F-250 and F-350, were replaced by Ford Super Duty trucks, with the F-150 remaining the only model of this generation. There is a sub-model of the F-150 that has been updated with a modernized bodywork and a Flare Side bed to attract to younger shoppers.
OBS Trucks Modifications
The appearance of the old body style truck is enhanced by a custom paint job, which is especially noticeable when contrasted with the original paint on the door panels, which is twenty years old. Additionally, the hood contributes to the timeless OBS aesthetic.
There are no particular patterns, although the following are some old modifications for OBS trucks:
- Returning paintwork to its original, single- or dual-color shade.
- Applying a high-gloss or pearly finish.
- Changing to a matte color, especially black.
Old Body Style Trucks Lighting
New headlights and taillights add a lot of glamor to the stock appearance. In addition, a bespoke chrome grille can make any Ford or Chevy OBS vehicle stand out.
OBS Truck Interior
Adding personalized seat covers, a new dashboard, and a new steering wheel are some more ways enthusiasts like to modify and personalize their trucks. Although this modification is common, many OBS fans still favor the original or reconditioned form. (Read What Causes Gas To Come Out Of Exhaust)
What Makes OBS Trucks Special?
The OBS is a vintage vehicle. It has an open body engine, a manual transmission, 44 capability, and a 5.9L V8 diesel engine.
To make it simpler to use on the road or in the field, the OBS also offers a 3-speed automatic transmission.
When traveling long distances into remote locations without access to contemporary car shops or repair facilities, the diesel engine will help you get through rugged terrain without overheating. In addition, the basic design makes it easy for mechanics to remedy any difficulties you might have with your vehicle.
Trucks Are Noisy
The vehicle itself is solid and dependable; however, it may be noisy. Long drives might be difficult because of how noisy the engine and transmission are.
Even at slow speeds, the engine continues to make noise. Even if it’s not particularly bothersome, it can become grating after a while, especially if you don’t have any music playing for your own amusement.
When driving, you need to listen to music or talk radio, but with this truck, there was nothing to take my mind off the sound of the engine.
Because of the racket, it is difficult to hear approaching vehicles or other sounds that could warn you of impending threats in time for evasive action or avoidance.
A vast letdown is a manual transmission. It’s sluggish and clumsy, and the clutch has so much play that you never feel connected to the vehicle. Both the steering and the transmission are loud.
This vehicle pulls five tons more than it weighs (around 12 tons). Even with a full gas tank, it can be a beast to maneuver this vehicle through U.S. highways.
It doesn’t take long to become weary from fumbling with the steering wheel and the frequent downshifting necessary to make any forward motion on city streets or highways.
Bare Bones Interior
Considering what they’ve done here, these are minor complaints in the grand scheme.
The interior of many models is minimal but functional; the seats are comfortable enough for long trips but lack adjustability.
However, since you’ll be driving this beast around town alone and not having any passengers, these are minor complaints in the grand scheme of things.
Lots of Fun
I won’t deny you may feel anxious about driving such a truck, to begin with. It may be as old as a Ford F-100, which is decades old. However, concerns quickly vanish as you climb behind the wheel and begin maneuvering your truck.
The weight of this truck is the first thing you notice about it. Despite having more than a quarter of a ton of steel only in the body and frame, it handles like a dream thanks to the independent front suspension and shockingly comfy rear leaf springs.
This implies that you never feel overwhelmed by your steering input or need extra effort from your foot on the gas pedal, even when turning hard into bends or accelerating out of them at speed—which feels exceptionally smooth given how much torque the V8s generate.
Despite having such large tires on all four wheels resembling a tractor, the OBS Truck drives well in confined situations because of its low wheelbase length. As a result, parking lots don’t seem as daunting any longer.
Old body style trucks are dependable and straightforward to repair even though they don’t have as much technology as some more recent car models. Because of their sturdy build, they also make great work trucks.
Because you don’t have to be concerned about ruining anything expensive just by altering the seats, this is a benefit for individuals wishing to customize their truck. (Learn How To Turn Off Advancetrac)
Even common OBS trucks are more reasonably priced than other brands, making them more cost-effective in the long run if you intend to keep your vehicle for several years.
Since there aren’t any fancy electronics, replacing your vehicle if damaged beyond repair in an accident or collision with another car or truck won’t cost as much money.