Junkyard Find: 1968 GMC C1500 Sugar Magnolia Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1968 gmc c1500 sugar magnolia edition

Contrary to popular belief, the patchouli-scented hippies who followed the Grateful Dead around the country for 30 years rarely drove VW Transporters. No, they drove whatever beaters they could scrape up for cheap, preferably trucks or vans that doubled as sleeping quarters. Many of them chose big ol’ Detroit trucks, and this GMC survivor managed to outlive Jerry Garcia by a good 17 years before coming to rest in a Denver self-service yard.

Slapping a whole bunch of Deadhead stickers that you bought at “ Shakedown Street” on your truck is a serious commitment; I can say from personal experience riding in (or being ordered to put my hands on the hood of) friends’ Deadhead-sticker-encrusted hoopties that such vehicles attract plenty of law enforcement attention.

Let’s put on a song that the previous owner of this truck no doubt grooved upon often, though no doubt he or she preferred some muffly 17th-generation bootleg cassette version from a live show in 1974.

This thing no doubt sucked alarming quantities of gasoline, but splitting the cost among 11 dudes riding in the bed keeps per-person costs low.

You’d expect a V8 in such a truck, maybe a 327 or even a 396, but there’s a monster V6 under this truck’s hood.

I don’t know chapter and verse about these engines, but I’m pretty sure this one packs 351 cubic inches of displacement.

Nice minimalist instrument cluster here, with very few idiot lights.

How many variations of the “Steal Your Face” skull were made over the decades? This one has a 1982 date on it, which seems about right.

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2 of 14 comments
  • Lilpoindexter Lilpoindexter on Jul 06, 2012

    I think they put tarps over the frame work in the back when It was time to catch some zzz's

  • Skink Skink on Aug 04, 2012

    Q. Why do Dead fans dance that way? A. To keep the music out of their eyes.

  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.
  • Inside Looking Out Scandinavian design costs only $600? I mean the furniture.
  • Akear Lets be honest, Lucid will not be around in five years. It does not matter that it is probably the world's best EV sedan. Lucid's manufacturing and marketing is a complete mess. The truth is most EV companies are going under within the decade.