Bruce Kunz is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios.

This might well be a vehicle that is confused about what identity to take. Presenting itself as both a car and at the same time, a truck. So, it is essentially a car that wants to be tough while at the same time a truck that wants to be stylin’! The GMC Caballero was ready and willing to fill both needs.


Photo provided by Bruce Kunz 

GMC offered special trim packages also for the Caballero under other Spanish names Diablo, Laredo and Amarillo. As for the car’s old nameplate, GM would later revive the Sprint name for a re-badged Suzuki Cultus sold under the Chevrolet banner.

The Chevrolet and GMC versions of this vehicle for the most part, shared the same Chevy Malibu drive-train and chassis components, however the wheelbase was stretched by nine inches.

Six various engines were used in the 1980 Caballero lineup including 3.8 and 4.3 liter Chevrolet V-6s; a 3.8 liter Buick V-6; 4.3 liter V-6s as well as, 4.4, 5.0 and 5.7 liter small block Chevy V-8s. Shifting was accomplished by either 3-or-4 speed manuals or automatics.

FIN MAN FACTOID: GMC Caballeros were produced in a number of assembly plants including Baltimore, Maryland; Doraville, Georgia; Leeds, Missouri; Arlington, Texas; Fremont, California; Oshawa, Ontario, Canada and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

I have two daughters who have disliked this “ca-truck” type vehicle for as long as I can remember. But those who love them, like OCC reader and FIN MAN Fan Skip (red and white one... think Santa), which Skip takes to many car shows each summer. My daughter Sabrina has lived in Australia for the past 12 years and gets to see many of them, as these “utes,” as the Aussies call them, are quite popular vehicles Down Under.

Visit me on Facebook for upcoming events and the graduation photos of TKCS-StL volunteer, Luis, from the U.S. Marines boot camp.

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