HomeAutoHunterAutoHunter Spotlight: 1971 GMC Sprint

AutoHunter Spotlight: 1971 GMC Sprint

Sprint to the auction finish


Featured on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by, is this 1971 GMC Sprint.

Car-based pickup trucks hold a unique spot in automotive history. One could argue that the segment still exists in modern day. After all, vehicles like the new Hyundai Santa Cruz, Ford Maverick, and others are essentially just that – car-based, front-wheel drive platforms with utility beds for light-duty cargo hauling duties. But let’s look at one of the vehicles that pioneered the segment: This restored olive green Sprint packs a big-block punch and a dual exhaust system. It is being sold by a private seller in Escalon, California, and the auction ends on Tuesday.

The Sprint model launched in 1971 as a contender in what was known as the “coupe utility” market. Aside from its badging and some of the trim, it was identical to its production-line sibling, the Chevrolet El Camino. Both cars rode on the A-body Chevelle’s four-door sedan chassis, and the tailgate design was pulled from the Chevelle station wagon. GMC marketing materials called the Sprint a “High styled performance leader for business and personal use.” The Sprint grew into a new generation in 1973, and the name was phased out in 1978 when the car became the Caballero (or “gentleman,” in Spanish).

Now that you’re up to speed (since it’s a Sprint, after all – get it?), here are some details on today’s featured car: It is a first-year example that comes in a unique green-on-green color scheme. The 15-inch American Racing wheels and BFGoodrich tires provide footwork, and power comes from a rebuilt (and reportedly numbers-matching) 402cid V8 mated to a three-speed automatic transmission. Powertrain equipment includes an aluminum intake manifold, a four-barrel carburetor, and a chrome air cleaner housing.

The documentation that comes with the car is as cool as the car itself. In addition to the owner’s manual, there is a warranty booklet, a shock absorber pamphlet, and a booklet on GMC’s “Sudden Service System.” I wasn’t able to find any decent resources what the SSS was, but it appeared to be some sort of roadside assistance program.

One interesting thing about the Sprint name: General Motors later repurposed it for an economy car in the 1980s. In reality, though, that car was a badge-engineered version of the subcompact Suzuki Cultus, and it also shared most of its chassis engineering with the Geo Metro. Power came from a miserly carbureted 993cc inline-three. The irony was that a car with such lackluster performance credentials would be called a Sprint in the first place.

I’ll take a V8-powered 1971-model-year version instead, thank you very much!

The auction for this 1971 GMC Sprint ends Tuesday, April 2, 2024 at 11:45 a.m. (PDT)

Visit the AutoHunter listing for more information and photo gallery

Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie is a Phoenix-based automotive enthusiast who has been writing for The Journal since 2016. His favorite automotive niche is 1980s and 1990s Japanese cars, and he is a self-diagnosed “Acura addict” since he owns a collection of Honda and Acura cars from that era. Tyson can usually be found on weekends tinkering on restoration projects, attending car shows, or enjoying the open road. He publishes videos each week to his YouTube channel and is also a contributing author to Arizona Driver Magazine,, NSX Driver Magazine, and other automotive publications. His pride and joy is a 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe with nearly 600,000 miles on the odometer, but he loves anything on four wheels and would someday like to own a 1950 Buick Special like his late grandfather’s.



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