Chevrolet Kodiak

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Chevrolet Kodiak/GMC TopKick
2008-08-04 GMC 7500 Pepsi truck parked at CVS.jpg
Manufacturer General Motors
Also called Isuzu H-Series
Production 1980–2009
Assembly Flint, Michigan
Toluca, Mexico
Bogota, Colombia
Tejerías, Venezuela[1]Janesville, Wisconsin
Body and chassis
Class Medium Duty Truck
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive

The Chevrolet Kodiak (and similar GMC TopKick and Isuzu H-Series) is a line of medium duty trucks from General Motors. It was produced from 1980 to 2009, when General Motors exited the medium-duty truck market.

The Kodiak/TopKick were commonly used as a basis for work trucks, cargo haulers, dump trucks, and similar vehicles which required medium duty torque, GVWR, towing capacity. There are aftermarket coachbuilders that built them as pickup trucks and commercial trucks for consumers.

First generation (1980–1989)[edit]

First generation Chevrolet Kodiak
First generation
Production 1980-1989
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door truck

The Kodiak and Topkick were introduced in 1980 as stronger versions of GM's existing medium-duty C-Series trucks. "Kodiak" followed the pattern of "frontier beast" names given to heavier trucks such as the Chevrolet Bison and Chevrolet Bruin, while "Top Kick" came from military slang and tied in with GMC's heavy truck names of General and Brigadier. First-generation models can be distinguished by a full-width grille with quad square headlights arranged horizontally in chrome bezels underneath with the GMC lettering or Chevy "bowtie" above the grille; normal 1973–89 C50-C80s had single round headlights and the emblem all incorporated into the grille area. These trucks were available in both 2 and 4 door configurations.

Second generation (1990–2002)[edit]

Early 1990s Chevrolet Kodiak box truck
Second generation
Production 1990–2002
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door truck
4-door truck
Platform GMT530
Engine 8.1 liter V8 Big-Block gasoline
7.4 liter Vortec V8 gasoline
7.2 liter I6 diesel Caterpillar 3126B/E)
6.6 Caterpillar 3116

With the second generation in 1990, all GM medium-duty conventionals took on the "Kodiak" and "TopKick" names, until they were dropped in 1995; these models used the GMT400 pickup cab until 2003, always with the original "square" dashboard dropped from light-duty models in 1995. While U.S. production ended in 2002, they continued to be produced for the Mexican domestic market in GM's Toluca plant through 2008.

Third generation (2003–2009)[edit]

Third generation
Production 2003–2009
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door truck
4-door truck
2-door cutaway
Platform GMT560
Related Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana
Engine 6.6 L Duramax V8 engine diesel
7.8 L Duramax I6 engine diesel
8.1 L Vortec V8 gasoline
Transmission 5-speed manual
6-speed manual
9-speed manual
10-speed manual
5-speed automatic
6-speed automatic
2000s GMC TopKick in use as a U-Haul moving van.
C4500 GM 4x4 medium duty trucks.
Chevrolet C4500 4x4 crew cab

Beginning with the 2003 model year, US-market models moved to a new platform with a more spacious cab based on the G-platform full-size vans. The 4500 and 5500 trucks beginning in 2005, had the option for factory installed four-wheel drive. These trucks featured solid front axles, on both 4x2 and 4x4, instead of independent front suspension featured on the Class 3 3500 trucks. The drive-train consisted of a Duramax V8 engine, an Allison 1000 transmission, and a Dana S 110 rear axle. The 4x4 models added a New Process 273 C Transfer case and a reverse cut Dana 70 front axle.

In December 2007, GM announced its intention to sell GM's medium-duty truck business, whose products include the Kodiak and TopKick, to Navistar International.[2] In August 2008, both GM and Navistar announced that their memorandum of understanding for the purchase had expired and was not renewed.[3][4] After four years of working with multiple potential buyers, including an anticipated five-year deal with Isuzu Motors announced late in January 2009 to take over the production line in Flint, Michigan,[5] General Motors decided to wind-down its medium-duty truck operations.[6] Production of the Chevy Kodiak and GMC TopKick medium duty trucks in Flint ceased on July 31, 2009.


Pickup conversion[edit]

Autobot Ironhide TopKick conversion, on display at the 2007 Detroit River Walk Festival.

A special Kodiak C4500 was introduced at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show. Aimed at the International RXT (also introduced there), pricing was set at $70,000. The two shared a number of similarities, such as the options included in their premium packages (a powerful audio system and DVD-based navigation system). In comparison, the C4500 had higher power (300 hp versus 230 hp) while the RXT had a higher towing capacity at 16,000 lb (7,300 kg); the C4500 was a 4x4 like the larger International CXT.

A conversion of the commercial GMC TopKick called the Ultimate Class IV TopKick Pickup crew cab pickup truck was developed by General Motors and Monroe Truck Equipment (MTE). This special version features an 8-foot (2.4 m) steel dually pickup box and tailgate with custom composite side panels and protective Rhino interior lining. This vehicle serves as the alternate mode for the character Ironhide in the 2007, 2009 and 2011 Transformers films.

Cadillac One[edit]

"Cadillac One", a one-of-a-kind Cadillac body mounted on the Kodiak chassis.

Entering into service on January 20, 2009, Cadillac One is a common name for the Presidential State Car of United States President Barack Obama. Unlike previous presidential limousines, it is not at all based on a production vehicle. Although badged as a Cadillac, the armored limousine uses the four-wheel drive chassis and powertrain of a General Motors medium-duty truck (the Kodiak/TopKick).[7] As it is not a production vehicle, the car borrows parts from several different vehicles in the Cadillac lineup (primarily the Escalade and STS). For security, many other details about Cadillac One remain classified.

External links[edit]

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