Canuck Crewcab: 1978 GMC Sierra 3500

When it comes to pickup trucks, is there ever such a thing as “too big?” This 1978 GMC Sierra 3500 3×3 crew cab was spotted north of the border by reader Martin Sparkes, and can be found on Craigslist in Langley, British Columbia for the asking price of $5000 CAD (about $3850 in USA Freedom Bucks). If you’re located in the States and this truck strikes your fancy, the importation process to bring a vehicle back from Canada is not particularly onerous and could make for a fun road trip!

First thing anyone will notice about this truck is it is LOOONG. The cab has two full-size bench seats in addition to the sizable bed, making this truck somewhere around 240″ in length. Exterior condition appears to be very good overall with no major rust spots showing, and the only major damage I can spot is a large dent on the top of the tailgate. Paint looks decent with no problem areas evident, but some minor dings and scratches are apparent especially along the bedsides.

Engine bay looks very clean and reflects the same level of care and maintenance evident in the rest of the truck. The truck sports the venerable 7.2L 454 V8 engine, which the seller notes appears to be much better on fuel economy than any other 454 they have previously owned. It is mated to an automatic THM-400 transmission, incidentally the same transmission still used on many military-grade Humvees. Oddly, mileage is not mentioned anywhere in the ad and the seller did not reply to inquiries by the time this story was submitted.

Interior, as with most trucks of the era, is utilitarian but looks very clean and free from damage. The rear cab features another full bench seat which is also in good shape. Could be a cool carpool ride for a group sharing a hunting cabin, or even to put into back into service as a work truck if you’ve got a big crew. So what are you waiting for? Grab your passport and 5 buddies and bring this thing back home!

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Comments

  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    We call them quad cabs know and everyone and their dog wants one. Ironically there was a time in the late 80’s to early 90’s that you couldn’t give this truck away now the streets are full of quad cab trucks with one major differance they now come with a useless little truck boxs that can barely hold your suitcases on a family trip. This truck looks to be in great shape and has plenty of life in it yet but don’t be fooled its gas milage is not going to be great. My dad had a 2500 series 4×4 with 454 and 400 trans, he converted it to propane and it worked very well for him. Back then the advantage wasn’t improved milage but rather fuel prices that were a fraction of what gasoline was selling for. If it were mine I’d consider putting in a overdrive trans to help the milage a bit. Quite a bargain for you US guys.

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  2. Howard A

    It is comical how buyers tastes change. I too, remember, when a crew cab was just that. A truck to take the construction “crew” to the jobsite,,, period. I knew of one guy back then, that had one for his family camping. Go to any dealer today, that’s all you see, quad cab pickups ( I suppose the word “crew” was too low brow) pulling 3 axle travel trailers. You can’t blame people for choosing those today, with the lousy car offerings from these car makers. A 4 door pickup makes the most sense.
    As a side bar, at my local gas station, before I reset the pump, I noticed the previous amount was almost $100 bucks. Looking at the other pumps, they ALL were at least $100 bucks or more. When I mentioned that to the cashier, he said, all those amounts were from quad cab diesel pickups, pulling 3 axle campers.

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  3. Classic Steel

    hang on I am applying for six platinum cards to keep the tanks filled for one year of driving. :-0 That should cover 12 thousand miles.

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  4. Dirtymax

    Looks to me that the passenger side tank has been removed. Borrowed a buddies truck that was the same way just wish he would’ve told me, put half a gallon of gas on the ground before I figured it out

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    • Steve

      uh…yea…I would think if someone removed the tank, they would also remove the filler tube…

      1
  5. jw454

    I agree that there is a quite a following with respect to new crew cabs today. I see the reason is that car makers have made the affordable family sedan so small that a truck is needed to get the whole tribe in it. In today’s sedans, they can best be compared to a bowl full of skittles. Same colors, shape and about the same size.
    When comparing the cabin size of today’s crew cab with an early ’60s to ’70s full size sedan, what you have today is that old sedan with no trunk lid.

    3
  6. Rustowner

    A 454 cid engine is a 7.4L btw. 7.2 would be a 440 cid. Nice looking truck at a great price.

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  7. Thomas Monaco

    Gone

    1
  8. CanuckCarGuy

    Anyone that’s ever had to lift a baby seat into a quad cab truck, knows the ‘better family vehicle’ claims are bogus… especially when mom is 5’0″ tall!
    The auto industry replaced the stigma of the mini-van with the perceived coolness of pick-up trucks. The bed height, configuration and lack of covered storage are the opposite of what a family hauler needs to provide..but.logic doesn’t fuel the family truck market, egos do.

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    • Steve

      You hit the nail on the head there! I will be 48 yo in May and long for the days of every automaker offering a station wagon. (I still own two; an 82 Malibu and a 91 Olds Custom (Vista) Cruiser. I had an HHR and a Venza wagon but recently had to fore go the “wagon” want, due to lack of availability and traded for a 16 Malibu. Wouldn’t you know Buick would come out with a wagon AND hatch version on the same platform shortly after. My folks had four Suburbans beginning back in the 80’s (82, 89, 96, and 02). When my dad stopped traveling with his camper, he traded the 02 on an 04 Honda Odyssey. He is now in a 10 Odyssey. Times change.

      1
    • Andre

      Respectfully disagree. I’ve had 3 crew cab Silverado 1/2 tons over the years as daily drivers/family vehicles (04, 09, 13). I can use it for work, for play, and it easily fits both my daughters and their gear.

      – Rear seats have tons of room
      – Bed fits tools and equipment under the toneau
      – Bed fits kids stuff under the toneau
      – Bed fits MX bikes (2) or a snowmobile with toneau off
      – Tows the 28′ trailer
      – Reliable/cheap to maintain
      – Functional in Canadian winters

      …and when the girls were young their mom, who isn’t much taller than 5′, would use the running boards to step on if req’d.

      I couldn’t think of a much more useful vehicle to own as a family vehicle.

      As for the truck in question I’d love to own it, beautiful.. Lucky buyer.

      2
  9. Poseur Member

    THteee was no way this was gonna last at that price In this condition.

    Square bodies are hot, especially short bed single cabs but there’s a lot of demand for honest used crew cabs that haven’t either rusted or been beat into little pieces.

    Great buy for whomever got there first

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  10. Steve

    That was a clean truck, especially for Canada. They usually go for a lot more than that, even here in Texas!

    1
  11. TriPowerVette

    Great price. Big Block Chevy! No A/C. Buy it and enjoy, in Canada, Alaska or any of the arctic and sub-artic regions available to the motoring public.

    2
  12. geomechs geomechs Member

    We sold a lot of 3+3 cabs back in the day. Very similar to this one although we sold a lot of Sierra Classic units as well. Use them to pull the RV and haul the family. Ranchers used them to pull stock trailers and haul the crew/family to the rodeos and livestock shows. A common term in the western plains was ‘Hutterite Wagon.’ Hutterites are similar to Amish except that they are highly mechanized. They farm on a massive scale and live in colonies of about 65 people. They use trucks like this to get the boys out to the fields and back, although the trucks weren’t at all fancy–no deluxe trim, no radio; they at least had heaters.

    Anyways, trucks like this one are still in demand, especially if they’re powered by a 454. A good truck for someone who likes to haul everything in one load but God help you if you pull into Wal Mart and expect to park it in those miniscule parking spaces. Well, I should dial it back and say that in the plains, where the majority still drives full-sized trucks and SUVs (just visit any supermarket or shopping center from Montana down to New Mexico and you’ll see what I mean), the parking lot planners take that into consideration….

    1
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      Funny thing about the Hutterites they liked the suburbans too. They would always buy them with the double hinged door on the back instead of the hatch door. At the dealership where I worked in the 80’s we call them Hutter doors.

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