Invader 400: 1971 GMC Sprint LS3

I guess that in every famous family there is going to be a lesser-known sibling, and in the GM family, the Sprint is the lesser known brother of the El Camino. Like so many of these lesser-known siblings, this one has fallen on hard times and is now looking for someone willing to bring it back from the brink. The Sprint is located in Angier, North Carolina, and is listed for sale here on eBay. At the time of writing there has only been the single bid on the vehicle, and with that being $500, the reserve has been met.

It should be no surprise to learn that the Sprint and the El Camino are brothers. However, while Chevrolet rolled 41,606 El Caminos off the line, the Sprint only numbered 5,536 cars. This one is going to need some pretty major restoration, but it is a vehicle that surprises just a bit. It looks quite crusty, but the worst of the apparent rust seems to be confined to where there used to be a vinyl top. The floors actually look promising, as does the bed. The photos don’t give us a clear look at the quarter panels or rockers, but the lack of rust in the floors is a surprise for a vehicle that is not only sitting exposed to the elements but has no rear window. It’s hard to be completely sure, but I believe that the Sprint may have started life finished in Cottonwood green, but that it did undergo a repaint in this darker shade at some point. That color combined with a vinyl top would have resulted in a nice looking vehicle.

The Sprint was available in two basic trim levels, the “Standard” and the “Custom.” This one is a Custom, which was the premium model in the range. It brought a few extra options, and nicer, more luxurious trim to the vehicle. This one originally featured a green interior, and it looks like the bucket seats and door trims are still present, along with the center console and shifter. It appears that the original owner chose to have the seats trimmed in the green vinyl with cloth inserts. It does look like a fair amount of the dash is missing, so anyone considering a restoration will have to do a bit of searching for replacement parts.

Powering the Sprint originally was a 402ci “Invader 400” V8, backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission. The Sprint looks like it also featured power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning. While the transmission is still present, the 300hp V8 is long gone. Still, this is a GM 402, so sourcing a replacement won’t be that difficult. Dressing the engine bay will be slightly more difficult, as the engine and air cleaner wore different decals to its brother, including an “Invader 400” decal on the air cleaner.

This 1971 GMC Sprint will represent a fairly major restoration project for anyone willing to take it on. What impresses me most is the fact that it appears to be relatively solid, and when you combine this with the vehicle’s relative rarity, may make it worth the effort. The big-ticket items with this car are the fact that it is a Custom, it was optioned with air conditioning, and that it featured the 402 engine. You can buy a reasonable example for around $14,000, but a pristine example with those options can fetch sums in excess of $26,000. That would seem to make this a worthwhile restoration.


  1. Billieg

    Can you say “Money hole”?

    Like 8
  2. Steve R

    There is no proof offered in the ad that this was original big block. The VIN will be of no help.

    It’s pretty well gutted. Good luck to whoever tries to restore it.

    Steve R

    Like 5
  3. Matt steele

    It might be worth $500 to the right person..not much cool to work on if you had the skills and had an extra motor laying around. I wouldn’t worry about originally in a restoration

    Like 4
  4. TimM

    I thought cars from the south were pretty rust free!! The rear window frame and roof look wasted!! I replaced that once on a 68 GTO using a doror car that was a 68 LeMans!! It wasn’t a fun job!! The only donor car I think you could use for this one is an Elcamino cause I don’t think anyone makes these parts like LMC or NPD!!

    Like 2
  5. Pat

    Dual shifters?

    • Pookie Jamie

      They called that the “horse shoe “ shifter

      Like 4
  6. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    What a mizzerable wreck. Don’t go near it without a tet anus shot.

    Like 1
    • Marc

      Where does one get a tet anus shot?

  7. Del

    I smell Toast ? 😁🤣😂

    Like 1
  8. Little_Cars

    Someone ticked the right boxes when ordering this one when new. Just imagine it in green with vinyl roof and the deluxe gut. With air conditioning I’m guessing you could survive the Southern summer swelter in frozen heaven. You’ll need an El Camino donor for the roof. Modern restoration tools and rust mitigation and a lot of time. The end result would be another one of 5000+ saved…but at what cost?

    Like 1
  9. ACZ

    Good parts car for $500. A TH400 w/ Chevrolet case, buckets, console and a few more things.

    Like 2
  10. Mikey8

    I’m happy everyone hated it. I bought it!
    Worth a lot more in Parts but will have to check out the body before I do that to it!

    Like 8
  11. Little_Cars

    Good luck, Mikey8. Keep us in the loop and let us know what you find when you dig in. I, for one, would enjoy seeing it restored as a GMC and not parted out.

    Like 3
  12. Mikey8

    After finally getting a chance to look underneath, unfortunately the Sprint will become a parts car. The frame is really rotted. Seems really unusual for Southern Car to you have this much rust. It had to sit under shade in a damp area for quite a while. It was still worth it for me to go after so definitely no regrets on my end. It was also a nice road trip

  13. John M Metz

    Hey Mikey, do you still have the seats? How about the GMC emblem in the Grille? Thanks, John

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