Heavy Half Survivor: 1978 GMC Sierra Grande

This 1978 GMC Sierra Grande has a great story – so great, in fact, the truck goes by the name of Virgil, a shout out to its long-term owner. The GMC is the “Heavy Half” model, which is the less often seen trim that is effectively the same as Chevy’s “Big 10” moniker in terms of purpose. We’ve talked that marketing strategy to death, so no need to rehash it here – let’s just focus on what an incredible survivor this truck is. The seller notes that it has just over 107,000 original miles and that the numbers-matching 350 runs swell, along with its TH350 automatic transmission. The truck has lived in the dry, western states all of its life and wears mostly original paint. Find it here on craigslist with an asking price of $12,500.

The paint is imperfect, but that’s sort of the point. This truck has been used but not abused, and after being purchased new in Colorado, it went onto Montana and now to Wyoming. To say this truck has lived in some of the friendliest states for vintage sheetmetal is an understatement. The Mariner Blue over Light Blue two-tone paint job still presents quite well, and the only paintwork to the seller’s knowledge occurred on the hood, which was replaced and repainted. The seller mentions that the clearcoat is fading out in places and that it has obviously lost the battle to the elements on the tailgate, but these are minor gripes. The original wheels present well, and the seller has installed fresh rubber. The bed cap is a perfect complement to an old working girl like this.

The interior is in outstanding condition for an unrestored truck, with clear gauges, clean rubber floor liner, and nicely preserved door panels. The seller notes that green shag carpeting placed over the floor liner is what helped keep it in outstanding condition, and while the blanket over the bench seat is hiding some seam splits, there’s no major damage to report – you can definitely live with it for a few years. The dash features some fake woodgrain that still looks good, and it appears to have an uncracked pad up top. Even the pedals show surprisingly little wear, and I’d wager the emergency brake was rarely used. It would also seem the GMC didn’t spend much time baking in the sun given the colors of the surfaces don’t show much in the way of fading.

The chrome bumpers are excellent and the original grill doesn’t appear to have taken too many rock hits. The seller notes the truck runs strong, and that they’ve performed a basic tune-up and fluid changes. There are some minor rust spots but nothing major, with isolated spots on the body showing some very modest rust spots. Rubber and plastic materials are still soft to the touch, courtesy of years’ of garage storage. Sadly, the original “Heavy Half” decals were removed ages ago, which is something you certainly wouldn’t do now! This GMC seems quite fairly priced for being such a nicely preserved survivor, and I doubt it will be for sale much longer.

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Comments

  1. Stevieg Member

    This is a really nice truck. If I had relocated to the southwest already, it would be on its way to my house. Alas, I still live in Milwaukee, I don’t have a place to keep it (way too many toys already), and I am fairly strapped financially.
    I’m envious of whoever buys it.

    Like 7
  2. Howard A Member

    Yawn, well, let’s see what BF’s has today,,,MAMA MIA!!! $12,5? Colorado mud flaps? Here come the smokin’ jokes.
    You know what they say, if you buy a red Chevy, then you see all the red Chevy’s. Naturally, squarebodies catch my eye, and there are plenty out here. I see a different one almost every day. I still feel this is out of line, and for a really clean one,which this isn’t, maybe $7500 tops. The inside is really bare bones for a truck like this. No carpet, no gauge package or fancy door pocket things( which mine has). As a self proclaimed expert on squarebodies, please folks, don’t feed into this “soup of the day” foolishness and pay 5 figures for one. They really aren’t that nice.

    Like 17
    • man ' war

      If you want to go with a square body, go with a CUCV perhaps. They are quit rugged and bare bones. I’ve owned one before – 6.2L Detroit Diesel ran great, and even the Black Out lights functioned although I didn’t have NVGs to use with them:(

  3. Steve R

    The seller is fishing, he priced it as if it was a short bed, which don’t command anywhere near the price of a similar short bed fleetside.

    Steve R

    Like 6
    • Tom

      Ok Steve…

      Like 1
  4. Bruce

    I bought a new 78 GMC 1/2 ton diesel painted exactly like this with air, PW and PL, Chrome step bumper, rally wheels. The ID tag said it had the Silverado Package. Funny thing was on the cab by the door, drivers side said GMC and passenger side said Chevrolet. Was a mistake buying a diesel, but a 310hp 350 Olds cured that.

    Like 4
  5. Mark P

    Funny I thought the 12.5 was OK. I live in New England, both my 2008 F150s are getting tired. Both well over 200K miles. Looking around and can find nothing I’d pay for. Mostly 2010- 2015 models, 150K+ miles still in the $20K to $25K range. Crazy. Looked at a truck the other day, 10 yrs old, clean 4×4 extra cab, $14,999. Real fine print on the window sticker 209K miles. Though it’d be a shame to by this square body and drive it in winters here.

    Like 2

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