Garage Find: $3,500 1971 GMC 2500 Pickup

Like many of you, I watch the auto auctions on TV and look for trends along with what’s hot, what’s emerging and what’s not (anymore). I frequently ask myself, why would someone want that car, truck, custom (fill in the blank)? Everyone has their reasons, that’s for sure. The one consistent trend that I have noticed in the emerging category is the growing interest in 1967 to 1972 Chevrolet & GMC pickup trucks and that’s what we are going to examine here. Found in Chinese Camp, California, and listed here on craigslist for $3,500, is a 1971 GMC 2500 long bed pickup. Thanks to Pat L. for the tip.


By 1971, the differences between a Chevrolet and GMC pickups had largely evaporated. The power trains and body panels were the same. There were ½, ¾ and one-ton capacity models in both short and long wheelbase. Other than some small differences in standard suspension, the biggest difference appears to be the grille.

Under the hood of this GMC is the typical Chevrolet 350 CI, 250 HP engine. This was the last year that the old SAE “gross” HP rating was employed and the first year for the new SAE “net” HP rating, which for this engine was 170. After 1971, only the net rating would be listed. The carburetor on this example appears to have been switched out with what looks like an Edelbrock unit, based on the old Carter AVS design. Beyond that, the engine appears to be stock and carries the standard, “It was in running condition when it was parked” claim. The seller indicates that the engine was rebuilt only 500 miles ago but it has been some number of years. Beyond that, he says that the distributor needs to be replaced because the added HEI unit drains the battery. You can actually stir the gears on this GMC as it is equipped with a four-speed manual transmission.

Inside, we find a lot of green, blue and woodgrain going on. I’m not sure if the seats are actually blue or a faded green but I’m pretty sure they are covered in a blue replacement fabric. The rest of the interior looks like how you would expect a circa 1971 pickup truck to look, utilitarian. It does appear to be sound though.

There is no reference to body or structural integrity. The body panels of the truck appear to be solid, though the seller indicates there are some dents and scrapes. He also states that the tailgate is available (I guess it’s missing but there is no photographic evidence) but it is damaged. My biggest concern is that there is no good image of the bed and that’s where rust and rot are frequently harbored. From what can be seen, there may be a sprayed-in coating but the bed is loaded with items so it’s just not clear.

Considering this truck’s basic soundness, recently rebuilt engine and attractive price, it would seem to be a good entry point into the collector truck arena. I find it interesting to note that as the prices for ’68 to ’72 GM “A” body intermediates have skyrocketed, attention has increasingly focused on this vintage of Chevrolet/GMC truck. What’s your preference, do you like this vintage truck or would you prefer to stay with mainstream passenger cars?


WANTED 1970-1976 Pontiac Trans Am Must be 4 spd. Like big block. I can fix motor or tranny. Needs to be somewhat sound other than that Contact

WANTED Late 60s some 70s slotcars and track. Old school set up. Old school set up. Estate sale ideas…old parts box and “6” 1 2/4 slotcars and a army duffle bag of track, ass Contact

WANTED 1966 Pontiac GTO Must be Maroon, BLK seats, 4 sp, exl con. every thing else is a plus, Money in hand. Contact

WANTED 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 my wife’s first car, red with red interior would be ideal, any locale Contact

WANTED 1950 Oldsmobile 2 dr coupe Super 88 rust free and running Contact

Submit Your Want Ad


  1. poseur Member

    wish it wasn’t 2500 miles away.
    sweet truck in the right color.
    love it

    Like 12
  2. Jack M.

    Jesse and Josh, did you ever get that Barn Finds shop truck? This looks like it would be perfect for the job. Price seems very fair.

    Like 1
  3. Vegaman Dan

    Collectors want the short bed. This long bed won’t be as desirable. Personally I prefer a long bed and am hunting for a 90’s era long bed extended cab 3/4-1T. Nearly impossible to find. The marketing of short beds really hurts people that want to actually USE the truck.

    I had a 69 C10 that had issues at the time I couldn’t fix. As a second vehicle in an apartment complex that only allowed a single vehicle per renter, it had to go and I sold it for $900. I SO wish I had been able to keep it as it had no body damage, a bit of rust on the floor pan and that’s it. Still not a large cab though. It did have a three on the tree with the column shift lever that had a small ball on the end inside to engage the reverse gear linkage. This commonly broke off and you couldn’t get into reverse gear using it. I converted it to a Hurst floor shifter that was much more fun.

    Like 6
    • Douglas Potts

      My dad had a 69 C10 with a 307/3 speed and we never had any problems with getting it into reverse. I’m not sure what part your talking about.

  4. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Looks like a decent vintage GMC for the money. My first pickup was a ’70 GMC 3/4 ton 4X4 with a 4-speed 307. It was a great truck, tough and dependable but it was a very thirsty truck; about 8mpg city and maybe 13 mpg highway. Other than that, I enjoyed having it but let it go after a few years because of the poverty-producing MPGs. I would imagine this GMC would be a bit of a gas-guzzler too with the 350 but it’s still a pickup I wouldn’t mind having.

    Like 5
  5. David

    Omgoodness. Act fast.

    Like 6
  6. Rex Kahrs Member

    Long bed…that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

    Like 6
  7. Seth KARPEN

    at that price it would be a good truck just to buy to run around on the weekends and pick up stuff no need for a $60,000 pick up to use once a month

    Like 4
  8. Rosco

    Seems priced right, but would be nice to see some photos of all the areas that typically rust on these trucks.

    Like 1
  9. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking truck. I’ve always had a fondness for the 1970-72 GMC full-sized pickup truck. My uncle Mike had one years ago. I’d forgotten what year it was, or what colour it was. But it looked like this one in the pics. If only it were pulled out of the garage it was stored in and out in the open. More pics could’ve been taken.

    Like 2
  10. Chebby Staff

    This is pretty sweet…looks a lot like the 1970 I bought here for $5,500 a few months ago. Having some adventures trying to fix it up. I’d love to write some follow-up pieces about it, but BarnFinds doesn’t return any of my emails.

    Like 5
  11. TimM

    Great find!! Good looking truck!! Never have I seen one in green with red door panels on it!! I think I would source green ones but other than that I’d leave it alone and drive the heck out of it!! Maybe go get a load of mulch for the wife!!!

    Like 1
  12. Stevieg Member

    I always liked these but never had one. I prefer the GMC grill over the variety Chevrolet offered during these years.
    If I had the money & space, this would be headed to Milwaukee.

Leave a Reply to FordGuy1972 Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.