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40,000 Miles: 1985 GMC Sierra

By this point, most GMC Sierras have lived a hard life, even if they’re less than 10 years old. That’s the penalty for being a solid, reliable workhorse: copious amounts of hard use! Somehow, this 1985 2WD example here on eBay has survived relatively unscathed with the exception of an ugly blue paint job on top of the original tan paint. With only 40,000 miles, this Sierra surely isn’t done working. 


When you look inside, the blue paint begins to make some sense – but I don’t think it’s factory. My brother owned the Chevy twin to this truck and the multi-colored paint scheme was white in the middle with red above and below. When looking through pictures of Sierras on Google, I found one other truck painted the same way, so perhaps it was done by dealer preference or the region in which it was sold. If it were mine, I’d paint the middle of the truck deep blue and keep the cab roof and top of the bed tan.


The engine is actually in better condition than the interior, in my opinion, which looks a little rough for the mileage. Still, this Sierra fills a nice niche in the collector car world: it’s definitely usable as a daily, given the low mileage, but not so preserved that you would be scared to use it for running errands or hauling supplies. That 5.7L motor and long-bed design are built for big jobs, and the 2WD configuration could make it a good candidate for a tow vehicle.


Even better? This is a no-reserve auction that is currently bid to just a tick over $2,000 with a few days left. I don’t believe this to be the best Sierra out there, but it certainly has a good chance of being a reliable driver for years to come. Or, you could restore the paint and interior and have an attractive cruiser for local shows and displays. How would you use it?


  1. Avatar photo Dennis Shanahan

    That was a factory paint job ZY7 I think was the code, discontinued because of poor quality. Looks like a half ton so the motor would be a 305.

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  2. Avatar photo Todd

    Yes, that is a factory paint combo. We had the same combo new on an 85 Chevy.

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  3. Avatar photo Robert White

    I had a 1981 GMC Sierra 2500 HD with the extra leaf springs so I can attest to the HD part above that of a Silverado. The price is good for this truck if it stays under $2500.00. If the price goes over $2500.00 it ain’t worth it due to the costs on gasoline with a 305cid. They are nice trucks IMHO. I certainly miss my old 1981 GMC.


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  4. Avatar photo Cassidy

    My ’80 Ford F250 looks ancient compared to this gem, anyone want to buy it so I can buy this gimmy?

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    • Avatar photo grant

      What’s a gimmy?

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      • Avatar photo Kevin


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    • Avatar photo Kevin Wernick

      Keep the Ford

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  5. Avatar photo David C

    If this was closer to me I would definitely be a player. It is a 350 cu in. and from the pictures and description probably worth about 6,000 to 7,000 here in Ga. even though it’s a long bed. If it was a short bed it would bring more. This body style is highly valued here in the south. I looked at a comparable Chevy short wheel base a few weeks ago and the asking price was 9,500.

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  6. Avatar photo jim s

    seller has 2 other vehicles on ebay also. looks like a good deal on a nice work truck. nice find.

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  7. Avatar photo Nova

    The brake pedal rubber is worn through to the steel…

    …I say 140,000 miles

    When they polished it they pretty much went through the paint on the front of the hood.
    As far as the blue goes in Canada there was a Wrangler package and it would have had a wrangler decal on the box in the blue area close to the tailgate. Kinda like the Heavy Half package.
    There was a few different versions of this type of paint scheme

    The perimeter pinstripe is actually a tan stripe with blue screen printed on it and also when they high speed polished the truck they burned through a lot of the stripes.
    Wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what happened to the Wrangler decals.

    I had a charcoal and black Wrangler package short box…it was a sweet truck!

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  8. Avatar photo DirtyHarry

    I don’t see a 40k mile truck. The engine looks more like 140k. The interior more like 240k. With a 5 digit odometer and a potential “odometer problem” on the car fax, I would judge this on condition only. I had a truck like this and recall putting in a new motor at 260k. It didn’t stop running, but it or the transmission had to come out for a leaking steel freeze plug. Since it sounded like a diesel when cold, it was obvious the bearings were bad too, but it still ran ok. Amazing, this things are rugged.

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  9. Avatar photo JW

    This would make someone a really nice work truck, I kind of like the Blue / Tan paint scheme as it’s different and I like my vehicles to be apart from the norm.

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  10. Avatar photo Flip

    I had a 85 Chevy Silverado new with that same color combo with tan interior. Straight from the factory, with the 305 V8. What a gas hog, no wonder it needed 2 gas tanks in it.

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    • Avatar photo 75ragtop

      Was just gonna say the same thing. The paint color was a factory option. Sold GMC’s back then and I sold one just like that.

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  11. Avatar photo Todd

    Here’s a factory photo.

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  12. Avatar photo JW454

    I’m thinking it looks like 140K on the miles. Nice truck for a DD.

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  13. Avatar photo JamestownMike

    Sorry, I don’t buy 40k miles! It’s a 5 digit odometer. The earliest Carfax in 1995 shows 27k miles, which I’m sure was 127k. I would believe 140k.

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  14. Avatar photo jim s

    if you go to the gocomics.com site and look at the ” pluggers ” comic strip for today 3/13 you will see my kind of pickup. i have had a few trucks that looked like that one or worse.

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  15. Avatar photo erikj

    well just sold a 73 seeria that was a factory 454 stepside.big rear end with Opt #2 4:11 posi and fac.tac and more 2 wd big spring rear. so cool. miss it

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  16. Avatar photo rangeroger

    Wish my ’85 K-20 Suburban was in as nice a shape, but then it has somewhere over 400,000 miles on it. The last 25 years spent in North Idaho with salt solution in the winter. It is also blue over silver, which turned out to be the worst color scheme that I could have chosen when I ordered it. Seems GM had a major paint problem in the ’80s with a primer that neither blue nor silver would stay adhered to.
    Blew the rear end out of it my second winter (corporate 3/4 ton axle was really a glorified 1/2 ton). Replaced that with a full floating axle HD 3/4 ton. Blew the NP-208 transfer case out in 2005. However, the original 350 gas engine is still in it, having only rebuilt the quadrajet a couple times and replaced water pumps til I realized the thermostatic fan clutch was bad. Engine has never had the rocker covers or pan off. Still runs strong. Oh and the tranny is the SM 456 4 speed.
    Actually thought about getting rid of it a few years back,but by the time I got it ready to sell, it ran so good It is still In my driveway.
    Took it to San Diego with a trailer to pick up my MG 3 years ago. Only problem was the bench seat was so uncomfortable on the over 3000 mile drive, it now has Volvo 850 front seats in it.
    Absolutely great truck.

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    • Avatar photo Alan (Michigan)

      Love reading personal stories like this. Amazed that you never even had to put valve cover gaskets in. And yea, the rear axles in those days were crappp.
      And I have not been a fan of the bench seats since the GF next to me days ended….

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  17. Avatar photo geomechs Member

    Looks like a good truck overall. I see the belt missing for the A/C compressor. Possible A/C work coming up in the future. Although the photos don’t really bring out the colors properly, I’m positive the color is ‘NEUTRAL.’ I tend to refer more to ‘Calf Scour Yellow.’ Those from a farm would know exactly what I mean. I worked for a GMC/Pontiac and John Deere dealer years ago and the boss thought that Neutral was the best color in the world (I’m sure he also drank his own bath water). Consequently all our service vehicles, including our GMC 9500 semi were painted that color. And then take me and my double-standard, I ordered my ’79 GMC K-1500 with the deluxe two-tone color scheme: Brown Metallic and Neutral…

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  18. Avatar photo stillrunners

    yes…..a good used truck with over 100,000 cared for miles – nice re paint on the truck and the bed always tell’s the tale….how bout those Dale Earhart stickers ?

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  19. Avatar photo Alan (Michigan)

    I have never seen headlights pointed down like that. They must be aimed 15 feet or so in front of the truck. And the right high beam is broken.
    Those are not the original outside mirrors, holes left behind by some bigger ones tell me that this truck did some hay-wagon or horse-trailer pullin’.

    Fascinating that the chrome on the front bumper looks basically new, while other parts of the truck have a decidedly used appearance.

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  20. Avatar photo Junkfixer

    The A/C compressor is seized as the clutch shoe has been red hot and the belt is burned off. The date code on the compressor is 2008, so the A/C system is a 2 time loser, not likely in 40k unless it was replaced by an idiot or it has lots of idling time (looks like it was a field hay feeder truck, so I think the latter is likely). Someone spent time degreasing and pres washing the underhood but they missed some of the original “patina” and it sticks out sore-thumb style: It’s right there on the A/C accumulator bottle. Original cooling sys hoses also point to low miles.

    The paint scheme is factory original ugly. My dad had one with the identical scheme but different colors. Most of the paint (what’s left of it) appears to have survived which likely says that it was parked in the equipment barn at the end of the day.

    If this truck’s history is what I think it is, it spent it’s days feeding hay out of it’s bed. It likely has 40k original miles, most all of which were accumulated in the pastures at less than 5MPH. It probably has upwards of 20k hours of idling time on it and is mostly worn out, and it shows evidence of a poor maint regimen. Hardly a “survivor”. Pass.

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