1991 GMC Sierra 1500

1991 GMC Sierra 1500

Though it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that pickup trucks started becoming luxury cars with cargo beds, 1991 is pretty close to that point. Around that time, rear doors started appearing on extended-cab trucks, and leather upholstery began showing up on options lists.

That said, there was still some grit to these workhorses. Rear bumpers could still be deleted, radios weren’t always standard, and there were nearly as many rear-axle ratio options as there were paint-color choices.

Here, we look back at the half-ton pickups of 1991. Since Jeep dropped its J10 and J20 trucks after 1988, there are only four models to share here. Had we gone back to look at the pickups of 1975, we would have included the International Harvester 100-Series pickups, as that was the last year for those mostly forgotten half-tonners.

If you remember spending time with any of these rigs, do tell us about it. The place for comments is at the bottom of the page.

The Small Pickups of 1989


Chevrolet C/K 1500

1991 Chevrolet C1500 REgular Cab, Short Bed

1991 Chevrolet C1500 (regular-cab Sportside short bed)

Base Price: $12,115

Base Engine: 160-horsepower 4.3-liter V6

Optional Engine: 175-horsepower 5.0-liter V8

Optional Engine: 210-horsepower 5.7-liter V8

Optional Engine: 140-horsepower 6.2-liter diesel V8

More 1991 Chevrolet C/K Pickup pictures and specs

It wasn’t until 1999 that Chevrolet’s big pickups wore the Silverado badge as their official model name, instead of just a trim level. Prior to that, these big trucks were known simply as C1500 or K1500, the latter being applied to 4WD examples. Two trim levels were offered: Cheyenne and, as mentioned, Silverado. Silverado models generally included upgraded cabin trim, better audio systems, and additional exterior trim. In addition to the three engines listed above, a 230-horsepower 7.4-liter V8 came standard in the sporty 454 SS. The 454 SS came only as a short-bed regular cab, and only with rear drive and automatic transmission.


D0dge Ram 1500

1991 Dodge Ram Adventurer

1991 Dodge Ram 1500 (regular-cab short bed with Adventurer Package)

Base Price: $10,466

Base Engine: 125-horsepower 3.9-liter V6

Optional Engine: 170-horsepower 5.2-liter V8

Optional Engine: 190-horsepower 5.9-liter V8

More 1991 Dodge Ram 1500 Pictures and specs

With only 125 horsepower on tap, the Ram’s 3.9-liter V6 base engine was not exactly a powerhouse; the editors of Consumer Guide warned truck shoppers to avoid the V6 in their 1991 Ram 1500 review. Other than that, the CG guys rather liked the Ram. Dodge’s big truck was offered in base, SE, and LE trim levels, and with a number of dress-up packages designed to court shoppers looking for a bit more than a basic work truck.


Ford F-150

1991 Ford F-150

1991 Ford F-150 (SuperCab short bed)

Base Price: $10,455

Base Engine: 145-horsepower 4.9-liter six

Optional Engine: 185-horsepower 5.0-liter V8

Optional Engine: 210-horsepower 5.8-liter V8

More 1991 Ford F-150 pictures and specs

The Ford F-150 had been the best-selling vehicle in America for five consecutive years by 1991, and was commensurately available in a greater number of trim levels than the other-brand big trucks. Ford truck buyers were able choose between a stripper S model, plus base, XL, XLT, and XLT Lariat trims. Additionally. a cool “Nite” blackout trim package which could be added to XLT models. By 1991, the F-150 was the last large pickup available with an inline 6-cylinder engine—though at 4.9 liters, the Ford six was a fairly potent base engine, grunting out a respectable 265 pound-feet of torque.


GMC Sierra 1500

1991 GMC Sierra

1991 GMC Sierra 1500 (regular-cab long bed with dealer-installed Starcraft exterior-trim package)

Base Price: $12,409

Base Engine: 160-horsepower 4.3-liter V6

Optional Engine: 175-horsepower 5.0-liter V8

Optional Engine: 210-horsepower 5.7-liter V8

Optional Engine: 140-horsepower 6.2-liter diesel V8

More 1991 GMC Sierra 1500 pictures and specs

A virtual clone of the Chevrolet C/K-Series trucks, the Sierra differed from the Chevy only in trim and options availability. Instead of the C/K’s Cheyenne and Silverado trim levels, the Sierra was offered in base, SLX, and SLE trims. Sadly for GMC fans, there was no Sierra equivalent for the burly Chevy C1500 454 SS.

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