Buy This 21,000-Mile 1980 GMC 3500 Because They Aren’t Making Any More of Them

With a bench seat and a CB radio, you'd be the coolest cowpuncher around.

You don’t have to be an industry expert to spot a trend in classic collector trucks. All you have to do is drive to any Home Depot and see which pickups are there for show and which ones are hauling cement bags or lumber to a job site. Most trucks reach a point where they’re too old for daily work, though they still create nostalgia for people who grew up sitting in the middle of a cloth bench seat. Right now, square bodied trucks from the late 1970s and early 1980s are the new heaters in the market. Evidence of this can be seen right now on Bring a Trailer with the auction of this pristine 1980 GMC C3500 Sierra Classic.

This one-ton, dual-rear-wheel, crew-cab pickup truck could be considered ahead of its time. I doubt anyone then could have predicted the super-size-me, four-door Tonka trucks some folks wheel today. A 2020 GMC Sierra 3500 looks like a skyscraper in comparison to this C3500 Sierra Classic. 

According to Bring a Trailer, this one-family-owned truck was stored in Montana from 1997 until its rescue in May 2020. The current seller had the Sierra’s original LE8 454-cubic-inch V8 removed and gave it a mild rebuild and detailing. In 1980, this engine was rated at 210 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque using a Muncie four-speed transmission. At some point in the truck’s life, an aftermarket Gear Vendors overdrive unit was added, and it has a CB radio like any old truck ought to. 

The truck is finished in Santa Fe Tan with Camel tan upholstery—just look at that bench seat. This is a top of the line model, so it has all the luxuries 1980 had to offer like air conditioning, a trailer-brake controller and a tachometer. Fancy. It was also optioned with the Camper Special package that included a bed-mounted fifth-wheel hitch, towing mirrors, tinted windows and roof marker lights. The odometer shows a tick over 21,000 miles. 

The truck comes with its original paperwork, including the order invoice from August 1979 which shows a $10,831 total price. When calculated for inflation, that’s roughly $34,000 in today’s money. Imagine buying a new GMC 3500 for the price of a nicely optioned Toyota Camry. 

At the time of publication, there are three days left on the auction and the high bid sits at $21,500. This is a time capsule that has been well taken care of and was mechanically freshen edup by professionals to garner a significant premium. However, there is something to be said about the growing prices for old trucks in this country thanks in part to popular car restoration TV shows and car auction websites stirring the pot. Actually, the seller of this truck is friends with a particular car restoration TV host based in Dallas. 

Yes, there will be some ultra-clean vintage pickup trucks destined to live a life of irony as a trailer-queen being transported from one auction house to another. But just because this truck is likely to keep climbing in price doesn’t mean the parted-out square body Chevrolet sitting in your great uncle’s property is worth the same. Let’s not get carried away here—the supply of old trucks is plentiful…in most cases.

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