El Camino Badged As GMC Equals “Sprint.”

I learned about the Chevrolet El Camino on a snowy night in Peterborough, Ontario. My dad was trying to drive me to my hockey game. He was sliding around so much he was going to give up. We parked on the side of the road, and a guy in an El Camino came along, told me to throw my bag and sticks in the back, and took me to the arena. I don’t know how I got home. Ever since then, I’ve thought it might be cool to own a truck/car hybrid like this 1977 GMC Sprint SP, the badge-engineered brother to the Chevrolet El Camino. Well, here’s the opportunity, with this car in Kansas City, Missouri and available here on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $5750 and the chance also to make an offer. The listing doesn’t expire for nearly three weeks.

Will this “El-Co” twin be there that long? Well, it is rare—693 produced, but is that anything more than a curiosity? It’s not like this is a super-powerful Hemi something-or-other. Maybe GM just didn’t sell that many, as most people would find themselves in a Chevy dealership more often than a GMC store. Of note is that it is an “SP” trim level vehicle, which according to the listing, equates to the “SS” designation on a Chevrolet. But you should know that there’s a very similar Sprint, a non-SP but in excellent condition, on eBay now as well, and that one is classified ad priced at $20K. Is that the top end? That car is clean with a listed 55,000 miles.

To return to our SP—the condition is poor. The car has been sitting for ten years and hasn’t been started or even turned over in that time. Is that mould on the steering wheel and driver’s floor, or the evidence of a small fire? The turn signal stalk is rusty—so has everything been marinating in wet, which would certainly have taken their toll on things like the floorboards? The fact that the bed is filled with leaves suggests that this is more a field-find than a barn-find, leading to potential blocked drainage holes and consequently, to rust, and there is some in the lower extremities. As for the engine, it’s listed as an L47 (?) 350, but also an L48, which is what apparently appeared in the Corvette of the era, but either way, the mileage is not clearly indicated, and that means it’s going to be hard to guess the condition.

These Sprints came out in 1971 and were renamed Caballero in 1978. They ceased production along with the Chevy version El Camino in 1987. Short story—lots were produced, if you’re not so picky as to demand an SP. As for this car, before the current craze, it was a $1000-dollar beater. Is it worthy of five times that pull just because a rising tide floats all boats? We’ll see in a few weeks.

Comments

  1. Rw

    El Camino badged GMC equal Cool

    Like 2
    • Emel

      Sprint name…..ain’t so cool.

      Like 2
  2. Connecticut mark

    What was your father driving. El caminos are terrible in snow unless loaded with sand bags or something.

    Like 9
    • Dusty Rider

      LOL, that’s just what I was thinking. I had a ’79 with the 4 speed. I would get stuck on a flat road with a thin skim of snow on the ground. I put a set of studded snow tires on it and it was like night and day, it would go much better, but then it wouldn’t turn. I loved that truck

      Like 3
  3. 19sixty5 Member

    For what it’s worth, the 68-72 El Caminos actually had a slightly better front/rear distribution than a similar equipped Chevelle. Slightly is the key word. I grew up in the Chicago area, and spent another 40 plus years in the DC area. I’ve had a LOT of cars/trucks. The worst in the snow ever was our 87 Monte Carlo SS. Useless. My daily driver 64 GTO back then with a .060 over 400, gnarly cam, 3k stall converter and 4:11 gears went everywhere without issue. Go figure.

    Like 3
    • Al camino

      To 19sixty5,my brother in law had a 64 Chevy wouldn’t go anywhere in snow either,sold it bought another 64 Chevy,no problem in snow answer was Posi traction!

      Like 2
      • 19sixty5 Member

        Agree about posi, the Monte had it. Maybe it was just crappy tires that hated snow for some reason. Don’t remember the brand, but they were original size and likely an “all-season” variety. It was my wife’s daily driver. When it snowed, she took the Suburban!

  4. Evan

    Extremely rare. Of all the Colonnade pickups made, the GMC versions were maybe 10% of production. Maybe 6-7000 per year.

    Like 1
  5. Bob P

    I bought a Sprint in 78 (I honestly can’t remember if it was a 76 or a 77 model) when I was stationed at Homestead AFB (pre-Andrew), it had this goofy “vacuum” gauge in the dash that showed your “optimum engine vacuum” and therefor, best mileage. It was surprisingly effective. But what wasn’t effective were the roof rain gutters… it didn’t HAVE any. The entire roof was smoother than a baby’s butt. And that meant, when it rained (an hourly occurrence in Miami), water poured smack on your leg.

    Like 3
    • Emel

      That’s always nice…..in a place with heavy downpours ! Like S. Florida.
      Bet you never had to wash your clothes…….much.

      American engineering at it’s finest ! :)

      Like 2
      • bone

        Most cars today dont have rain gutters ( including imports) ; they were eliminated for aerodynamics – gas mileage

  6. chrlsful

    not a cheb guy but loved this 3rd gen Chevelle (malibue classic- sedan, wagon, coup, 4th gen camino). Nice straight lines, big grill. But that price/condition? no.

    Like 1
  7. Mike Gordon

    This is a $2.500 car. It’s got all the goodies, i.e. cruise, ps, pb, air. It will take a small fortune to restore. Lot’s of Elkys out there are in pretty good condition for 10k that you can drive home. This is an easy decision. PASS!!!

    Like 2

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