71 GMC Sprint [Archive] - El Camino Central Forum : Chevrolet El Camino Forums

: 71 GMC Sprint

02-11-2008, 12:24 PM
My father inlaw just picked up a 71 GMC Sprint. He was going to part it out. After doing alittle research(I had never heard of this model)
It appears not many were made. All the badges are intact. It has a 402 engine. Appears to have been a lite green color with fake wood siding.
The hood is missing. It was last registered in 83. Amazingly he was able to get it running after a days work. He found a built sheet in 1 of the bucket seats. Most of it gone. Anyone have any info on this model?

02-11-2008, 04:07 PM
This is copied from the GMC Sprint web site

The GMC Sprint, produced from 1971 to 1977, is a little-known variant of Chevrolet's El Camino. In the late 1960's, GMC dealers across the country began asking for a smaller sporty truck that would bridge the gap between GMC's current line and passenger cars. With the introduction of the Sprint in 1971, GMC dealers had a complete line of trucks to offer, from the big rigs all the way down to the sporty muscle car/truck Sprint.

The 1971 GMC Sprint.

The GMC Sprint looked like the El Camino except it had "GMC/SPRINT" emblems on the fenders and tailgate, a large "GMC" emblem on the front grille, and an engine size emblem on the lower driver's side of the front grille. Sprints without air conditioning said "GMC" on the dash where you would normally see "CHEVROLET". Various steering wheels were available on the Sprint. Most said "GMC", but one type of optional 4-spoke sport wheel said "SPRINT" on the horn button (where you would normally see a Chevrolet logo or "SS"). The V8 Sprints had an "Invader" decal on the air cleaner. This decal also displayed the cubic inch displacement of the motor, and it was basically the same decal as used on the valve covers of other GMC pickup trucks.

There were two types of Sprints offered. The base model was called the "Standard" Sprint, and the upgrade model was called the "Custom" Sprint. A total of 5536 Sprints were produced in '71, (142 6-cylinder "Standard" models, 1030 V8 "Standard" models, and 4364 V8 "Custom" models). Of those 5536, 208 were delivered for sale in Canada.

All Chevrolets (and El Caminos) have a VIN number beginning with "1", while all GMCs (and Sprints) have a VIN number beginning with "5". A '71 "Standard" Sprint would have a VIN starting with "533801" (6-cylinder) or "534801" (V8). A '71 "Custom" Sprint would have a VIN starting with "536801" (V8 only). The seventh character in the VIN would be one of three letters for the assembly plant : "B"-Baltimore, "K"-Kansas City (Leeds), or "L"-Los Angeles (Van Nuys). The last six characters in the VIN would be the vehicle serial number, starting at "100001".

The Sprint could be had with all the same options that were available on the El Camino. There was even a Sprint "SP" version which was similar to the El Camino "SS". The SP was an option package added to a "Custom" Sprint. The SP came with the same 15x7 5-spoke wheels used on the '71 Chevelle SS, but with "GMC" on the center caps instead of the Chevrolet logo. The SP also had a round speedometer, while most of the non-SP models had the rectangular speedometer.

As with the Chevelle SS and El Camino SS, a "Cowl Induction" system was available at extra cost, but it was not part of the SP package, and few were ordered. It was available only with the 454 in 1971. If Cowl Induction was not ordered on an SP, then the SP would come with the "SS" style bulge hood. Non-SPs had the "flat" hood.

Despite what some of the GMC literature states, there were no "SP" emblems or decals on a '71 SP. However, an SP could be visually identified by the hood, dash, and wheels. A quarter panel "SP" decal was planned, and even shown in the '71 assembly manual, but it did not materialize until '72.

None of the GMC sales literature (for any year Sprint) states what the "SP" stands for. However, the GMC Sprint parts book identifies it as a "Special Performance" package. The '71 Sprint sales brochure made no mention of the SP and did not include a picture of an SP. In fact, there is not a single piece of '71 GMC literature which includes a photo of a genuine Sprint SP. One of the '71 full-line GMC brochures shows what looks like an SP, but it is actually a retouched photo of an El Camino SS.

The '71 Sprint shared the same assembly manual with the Chevelle and El Camino. GMC service departments were instructed to use the '71 Chevelle and El Camino service manual since none were issued specifically for the Sprint until '72.

All the '71 GMC brochures show the "GMC/SPRINT" fender emblems placed higher on the fenders than the actual '71 production vehicles. The engine displacement grille emblems are also shown in a slightly different location than on the production Sprints. Most of the brochures show engine size emblems on the fenders, but no GMC Sprints were actually produced with those emblems. The GMC/SPRINT fender emblems shown in the literature also have a slightly different appearance than the actual production emblems. On the production vehicles, the "SPRINT" letters on these emblems were silver, surrounded by black. The "GMC" grille emblem was always white, but the "GMC" letters on the fender and tailgate emblems came in two colors. It appears that most of the SPs were white, while most of the other models were red.

Engine choices for the Sprint included a six cylinder, 307 and 350 small-block V8s (a 350 4-bbl was available), and two big-block V8s (402 and 454). The SP could be ordered with a 350, 402, or 454. The only way to get the 454 was to order it along with the SP package. The six cylinder motor was only available on the "Standard" Sprint.

The V8s were called "Invader 307", "Invader 350", "Invader 400", and "Invader 454". The "400" (actually a 402) had the option code "LS3", while the 454 had the option code "LS5". As with the '71 Chevelle, an "LS6" 454 was planned, and even listed in the '71 Sprint sales brochure, but it never materialized and none were built, even though at least one customer is known to have tried to order one in a Sprint SP.

So, the top engine option in the Sprint was the LS5 454 which featured a forged steel crankshaft. Even with relatively low 8.5:1 compression, this motor was rated at 365 HP. This is the highest horsepower rating of any light-duty GMC ever produced.

GMC did not generally build the SP for dealer's stock. The only way to get one was to walk into the GMC dealer and order one with the "YE7" option selected. Because none were pictured in the literature, and none were available for inspection on the showroom floor, very few buyers (or dealers) were knowledgeable enough to know that such a thing was available.

Only 249 '71 SPs were built. This total was determined by looking at GM RPO totals for the 1971 "Chevrolet" A-body cars. These RPO totals lumped the Monte Carlo, Chevelle, El Camino, and GMC Sprint together (because they were all built on the same assembly lines). Records show that 19542 vehicles were built with RPO "PM7" (60 series white-letter tires). This option was installed only on the Chevelle SS, El Camino SS, and Sprint SP (but not on any Monte Carlos). Records also show that there were 19293 vehicles built with RPO "Z15" (SS package). No Monte Carlos had the "Z15" package. Instead they had the "Z20" SS package. The Sprint SP also never had the "Z15" SS package. It had the RPO "YE7" SP package instead. By subtracting the Z15 total from the PM7 total, it is possible to determine exactly how many '71 GMC Sprint SPs were built (19542 - 19293 = 249).

Of the 249 '71 SPs built, it is estimated that 25 were the SP-454 version. 16 1971 SP-454s are believed to exist at the present time.

02-11-2008, 04:42 PM
Don't part it out...give it a chance on here or on e-bay. We'd sure love to see some pics as that is a pretty rare car(truck).