GMC Sprint Restoration Tips.
Restoring a GMC Sprint is almost exactly the same as restoring an El Camino. In fact, most GMC Sprint parts are directly interchangeable with the El Camino. For the most part, colors, finishes, and assembly techniques are identical between the Sprint and El Camino. A Sprint, however, can be a greater challenge because there are a few hard to find items (namely emblems and decals) that are specific to the Sprint.
This page will cover the items that are unique to the Sprint.
Details about the various GMC Sprint emblems are quite sketchy for the '73-'77 models. Enough '71-'72 models have been examined to be certain of what is correct. Unfortunately, the GMC Sprint brochures can not be trusted as a reference guide for emblems and their placement, because these documents frequently showed emblems in the wrong places, with the wrong style or color. In some instances they failed to show emblems that should have been there, or showed completely non-existent emblems. Another problem is that the literature rarely showed the Sprint from behind, so it is uncertain in many cases what should be on the tailgate. One thing is certain, however. There was no "CHEVROLET" script or bowtie logo to be found on any GMC Sprint.
These emblems were used on the lower front fenders in '71-'72, on the tailgates in '71-'72, and on the sail panels in '74-'77 (and probably on some tailgates in '73-'77). An illustration of this emblem is shown at the top of the main Sprint page. Except for the foil insert in the lower portion which said "SPRINT", these emblems are identical to the emblems used on a variety of other GMC trucks.
Some of the earlier emblems have been found with no foils in them, only a reddish paint-like substance. The "SPRINT" foil probably fell off of these, exposing the reddish adhesive. Some early photographs of non-SP sprints clearly show emblems with red "GMC" letters and the "SPRINT" foils.
Trim Parts has very nice reproductions of these emblems in their catalog (see phone number at the bottom of this page). The ones they sell have the "SPRINT" foil and red "GMC" letters, but they can be painted white, if needed.
'71-'72 fender emblem positioning.
"GMC" grille emblems:
There are no supplies of NOS or reproduction "GMC" grille emblems. In general, the only choice for these is to find a good quality used part, which is not easy. An added complication is that the "GMC" grille emblem seems to have changed each year. The '71 and '72 grille emblems are similar, but the mounting surfaces on the back are different. Every Sprint sales brochure from '73-'77 shows a different type of "GMC" grille emblem. The '71-'72 "GMC" grille emblems were always white, even if the fender/tailgate emblems were red.
"SPRINT" grille emblem:
It is certain that no '71-'72 Sprint ever had a "SPRINT" emblem on the grille. The sales brochures for the '73-'74 Sprint show a "SPRINT" emblem on the grille, but this is likely another one of those non-existent items.
Engine size emblem:
All '71-'72 Sprints came with an engine size emblem mounted on the lower driver's side of the front grille. This emblem would be one of "250", "307", "350", "400" (402), or "454", depending upon the installed engine. Trim Parts has nice reproductions of the "350" and "454" emblems (see phone number at the bottom of this page). If you need one of the others, then your only option is to find a good used part. It is believed that the '73-'75 454 Sprints carried a "454" emblem on the front fenders above the side marker lights. This is the same emblem, in the same place, as on the 454 El Camino.
'71 grille emblem positioning.
"SP" grille emblem:
The '75-'77 Sprint SP had a special front grille "SP" emblem. It is unclear of the '73-'74 models also came with this emblem. This is a very difficult item to find. Shown below is an original "SP" grille emblem on a rare 1975 SP-454. (Images courtesy of the owner - Stan Case).
"SPRINT by GMC" tailgate decal:
The '73-'77 Sprint carried this decal on the tailgate. The letters were either white or black on a clear background, depending upon the paint color (white letters on black paint shown here). The word "SPRINT" in the decal is exactly 9-1/8" wide by 3/4" high.
"SP" quarter panel decal:
This decal was originally planned for the '71 Sprint SP, but did not materialize until the '72 model year. It was a clear decal with either white or black "SP" letters, depending upon the paint color. The image below was generated from a tracing of an actual decal (still on a car !). The thin outer line is the extent of the clear part of the decal, and is not part of the decal design itself. The decal (not including the clear border) measures exactly 6-1/2" wide by 1-5/8" high.
It is generally considered "correct" to add these to a '71 Sprint. The proper positioning of this decal on the quarter panel is shown in, of all places, the '71 Chevelle assembly manual. I believe that GMC intended these to be used on the '71 SPs, but just didn't have the decals ready in time (like a few other things).
'71-'72 decal placement.
"SP" side stripes:
The '73-'77 Sprint SP could come with upper body stripes that ran from the middle of the fender back to the tailgate. At the front of the stripes (on the fenders) were the letters "SP". This is exactly the same as the '73-'77 El Camino SS stripes (except, of course, the letters were "SP" and not "SS"). The '77 Sprint sales brochure shows a slightly different style of "SP" lettering than the '73-'76 brochures. It is unclear if there really was any difference or not.
'71-'72 GMC Sprints without air conditioning had a "GMC" emblem on the dash where you would normally see "CHEVROLET". One late '72 production Sprint was built with a "SPRINT" emblem affixed to the glove box door. So far, only one like this has turned up. Further study on the '73-'77 models is needed to determine what GMC Sprint specific items, if any, were used.
The standard steering wheel in the '71-'72 Sprint was a 2-spoke design with small "GMC" letters in the middle. There was also an optional 4-spoke sport wheel which featured a "SPRINT" horn button. Except for the horn button, this wheel was the same wheel used on numerous other GM cars. This wheel was first used in 1971 on the Sprint, El Camino, Chevelle, Camaro and Vega. It was also used into the early 80's on the Chevette. Further study on the '73-'77 Sprints is needed to determine what types of steering wheels they used.
Wheels and caps:
Little is known about the various hub caps used on the Sprint. The '71-'72 SP used the same type of 5-spoke rally wheel as the '71-'72 Chevelle SS, '71-'72 El Camino SS, and '71 & up Z28 Camaro. The Sprint SP, however, had a special center cap with the letters "GMC". The caps themselves are identical, but the foil insert is different. These "GMC" center caps are very difficult to find, as only 998 cars could have had them. Not all '71 SPs had the caps either. I was told an interesting story about a Canadian '71 SP-454. Apparently, the original owner bought it from a traveling GM fleet show. Upon purchasing it, he was told that the center caps were not ready yet, but that he could come back to the dealer in a few months and pick them up. Well, he never did, and now the current owner is running some newer GMC center caps of a different style, because he has not been able to locate the correct ones. It would be relatively easy to make a reasonable reproduction of the "GMC" foil insert, and add it to the more readily available Chevrolet version of this cap.
The '73-'74 SP used a special "turbine" style wheel. The '75-'77 SP used the typical "Chevrolet" style rally wheel with the "derby" caps. On the Sprint, however, these caps lacked the "Chevrolet Motor Division" inscription. These caps are difficult to find, although there is currently a plastic reproduction on the market which looks fairly close, and it does not have any Chevrolet inscription.
Air cleaner decals:
The '71-'72 V8s (and possibly some later models as well) used an "Invader XXX" decal on the air cleaner (where "XXX" is either 307, 350, 400 (for 402 engines) or 454. It is unknown what type of decal would appear on a 250 cid GMC I-6 air cleaner. The same V8 Invader decals were used on the valve covers of other V8 GMC pickup trucks. Only on the Sprint were they used on the air cleaners. These decals are available from various truck restoration parts suppliers, such as LMC Truck (see phone number at the bottom of this page).
One 1972 Sprint has been reported with a "SPRINT" emblem near the glovebox door. I have not personally seen that one or any others like it. For 1973-1977, there was a "GMC/SPRINT" dashboard emblem. The 1978-1986 GMC Caballero "Diablo" model (similar to the El Camino SS) came with a "Diablo" dash emblem. The only source for these emblems is junked vehicles.
Trim Parts' phone number is 1-513-831-1472.
LMC Truck's phone number is 1-800-222-5664
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