Barrett-Jackson 2016: 1970 GMC K1500


Despite my love for trucks, I’m admittedly not well versed in their history and model differences. When it comes to GMC, I know less than I do about it’s sister brand – my favorite truck brand – Chevrolet. Now when we talk about GMC trucks 1973 or newer, it’s really a moot point: Badge engineering is in full force. To that extent I can’t believe that people still buy into that “professional grade” nonsense they shill on the TV. It’s the same truck as the Chevy with some trim differences.


Despite my lack of knowledge, I do know some GMC fun facts. A 1960 model could be had with a GMC-specific 370ci Oldsmobile-derived v8. They also ran some Poncho v8s for a while in the 50’s.


Long before the Internet was a prolific source for knowledge, my dad showed me my first 60 degree, 305 cubic inch GMC v6 in a dump truck he had bought at auction.


Thanks to the Internet I found out that huge 5.0L v6 was actually the smallest one GMC made and that they even had a v12 derived from that family. And while I’m on the topic of the v6, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the plaid valve covers available on the half tons of the 60s.


What’s the point in glossing over this history? Well its not because I’m trying to show off. I’m sure I’m not long for an email or comment regarding how little I know from a truly die hard fan who is scoffing to themselves as they read this now.

The point is that I’m still learning passively with each vehicle I see at trade shows , car shows and meet ups. This is just one reason why I’m so strongly against the current homogenized restomod approach to building an older car or truck. You take a bit of what made unique, to impress the people that can only handle things that are easy, familiar and the same as everyone else.


This 1970 GMC may not be anything flashy with its “350 crate motor” which is probably a goodwrench v8 that’s surely slower than what it had stock. The mild 2 inch lift and automatic transmission with shift kit don’t really bring much excitement to the table either. To me, this truck in it’s current state of modification is a great period piece of when Bigfoot was new and this truck was only a decade and a half off the lot. It’s aspiring to be something the everyman couldn’t yet achieve.

What would it add to this truck if it were to become victim to the latest trends? Flared prerunner fenders, late model bucket seats and an LS motor? I feel like at that point you’re just taking away from what it was.

I guess what’s funny to me is that what I learned is so minor in compared to my view of the history of this truck. I just always assumed GMC used the same 10/20/30/40 etc sequence for designating the tonnage of their trucks that Chevy did. When I first read 1970 1500, I figured it must have been an error on the owner’s part. However, I was wrong.

Huh, learn something new every day.

FFT: The Big Day



Let me start by saying that when I found out they made a longbed stepside for the 60-66 trucks, I wanted one. They’re super rare and reproduction parts are expensive to say the least, but I just like the way they look. They aren’t very well liked in the 60-66 community (like all long beds), but the guys that do have them, love them. I had convinced myself when I started this build that if I wanted one, I’d have to make one out of a short bed. A daunting task, but I added it to my list of things I would need to do to get the truck to where I wanted it. Thankfully, I have a craigslist addiction that knows no bounds. I found someone with a 1962 GMC long bed stepper (powered by a 305 v6 and a 3 speed manual no less) that wanted to trade for a fleetside. I emailed them immediately and we were both so excited to get what we wanted we scheduled the trade off for the next day.

What I didn’t know is that the wrap-around window 60-63’s sit on a different frame than the vent windowed 64-66’s. It took a little bit of convincing but eventually we finalized the even trade. One bed for another. Here’s the photographic tale of how it happened.