What is an OBS Truck?

Old body style (OBS) trucks, known for their design and notable place in the history of American auto manufacturing, are now targets for collection and customization.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jan 20, 2023
OBS (old body style) trucks are a glimpse into America’s rich heritage in automobile manufacturing. They are commonly known for their durability and rugged-looking style. Built from the mid-1980s through the 1990s, OBS trucks are beginning to enter classic car territory.
OBS truck models are becoming a major target for collection and customization. Wherever your interest lies, the
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History of OBS trucks

OBS stands for old body style or original body style, which describes the frame design and other traits of trucks from the 1980s and 1990s. Many truck enthusiasts believe this was the peak of American truck manufacturing
But why are they becoming popular again?

Collection

Automobile critics and connoisseurs often mark the production of OBS trucks as the final transition in truck manufacturing from quality to quantity. The OBS trucks were known for their built-to-last design, which has fallen out of favor. Auto manufacturers in the 2000s switched to cheaper materials and mass production designs.
OBS trucks have become a target of collectors. Many collectors view ownership as a way to pay homage to the American tradition of rough and tough trucks.

Customization

Not only are OBS trucks a target of collectors, but they’ve also been a popular canvas for customization. Auto detailers love adding flashy new styles to these old-school trucks.
As long as the body, frame, and engine (optional) of the OBS truck stays intact, there are not many rules to esthetic customization. Here are some popular modifications:
  • Custom paint job (two-tone, high gloss finish, matte color)
  • Oversized tires and shiny rims
  • Chrome-plated exhaust systems
  • Custom seats and upholstery
  • And more! 
It’s your truck, so you can modify it any way you would like. But, altering the structure of the truck may decrease its value. It’s smart to stick with esthetic modifications if you want to retain its value and protect the nostalgia factor.

Notable OBS truck models by make

You'll find most OBS trucks were produced between the mid-1980s and 2000. Here are some famous makes and models that draw interest from OBS truck enthusiasts.

Chevrolet

The
Chevrolet
C/K was a platform of OBS trucks that encompassed a wide range of vehicles. The “C” meant two-wheel drive and the “K” meant four-wheel drive.
This platform came in popular models that included the Cheyenne, Scottsdale, and Silverado.
Chevrolet also applied the old body style of their trucks to their SUV models, which included the Tahoe and Suburban.

GMC

General Motors acquired Chevrolet in the early 1900s. Under the General Motors umbrella, Chevy and GMC’s OBS trucks share similar designs.
Then,
GMC
released their own popular C/K platform truck, the GMC Sierra. GMC’s version of an SUV that uses the OBS framework is the Yukon.

Ford

The seventh, eighth, and ninth generations of the
Ford
F-series are commonly known as iconic OBS truck models. The trucks featured various performance levels,
F-150
,
F-250
, and
F-350
, as well as various chassis configurations.
Key Takeaway Many of these models still exist today but not with the same original body style (OBS) that trucks had in the 1980s and 1990s.

Find affordable car insurance

Many insurance providers begin to define a vehicle as a classic car after 25 years. Depending on whether your OBS truck is your everyday vehicle or you store it as a collectible, you may benefit from
classic car coverage
To protect your piece of American history, you can trust
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