1971 GMC Sprint – Badge-Engineering from the Past

First introduced in 1971, the GMC Sprint has a familiar look to it, it was a car based pickup truck, similar to the legendary Chevrolet El Camino.
In fact, it was more than similar, they were identical aside from badging and decals; they were even built upon the same platform – based on the Chevrolet Chevelle station wagon.

1971 GMC Sprint brochure

1971 GMC Sprint Design

A 2-door car based pickup; car dimensions (including height) means that it wasn’t the rough and tough utilitarian vehicles that we’d find today.
Looking at the profile, it is quite flat, aside from the cab just sticking out, but this is a classic design, even now, it looks cool.

1971 GMC Sprint design

1971 GMC Sprint Interior

Fairly basic, but then we have to remember that the Sprint was sold as a work truck, not a luxury sedan. However, you’ll find plenty of comfort and nothing has been skimped on; there is a full instrument cluster, a two, three or four spoke steering wheel and of course, a wide variety of badges depending on which model you’re looking for.

1971 GMC Sprint interior

1971 GMC Sprint Specs

The Sprint had a number of options and upgrades, and came in a few different variants. There were of course the usual things like air-con, but we also had the Turbohydramatic transmission, manual 4-speed stick shift, power windows, stainless trims and vinyl split bench seats, that matched the vinyl roof covering.

1971 GMC Sprint specs

1971 GMC Sprint Performance

Lots of different engine specifications, including one straight-six (4.0 liter, 145 BHP) and five V8’s, ranging from 5.0 liter through to 7.4 liter (200 – 365 BHP). The 7.4 liter was only available with the ‘Turbohydramatic’ transmission, although the others could have a 4-speed stick shift. The 454 cid V8 only sold 25 throughout the whole of 1971.

1971 GMC Sprint performance

Performance could be good; as you may imagine, 145 BHP isn’t much to write home about, and certainly wouldn’t be considered brisk, but when you start getting in to the high output V8’s, performance is more than adequate – certainly enough to ‘make progress’.

1971 GMC Sprint Collectability and Price

Perhaps not as well-known or as collectible as the Chevy the El Camino, the ’71 Sprint is great alternative; it gives you everything that the El Camino does but for less money.
Expect to see prices starting around $6,000 for a ‘fair’ condition and rising up to about $20,000 for a concours one. However, occasionally you’ll see an absolute low mileage original or fully restored model selling for $35,000 +.

In 1971, there were only 5536 Sprint’s sold, this means that prices will keep on increasing for clean examples.

1971 GMC Sprint images

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