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What could be more of a statement than driving a Chevy El Camino? It is basically a muscle car with a pickup truck bed, and easily one of the coolest classics around. But one alternative might make an even bigger statement: the GMC version of the El Camino, first known as the Sprint and later as the Caballero.

The Caballero is an upper-class El Camino

The bed of a GMC Caballero coupe utility classic muscle truck, in a parking lot.
1986 GMC Caballero | Cars & Bids

Today, GMC is an upmarket General Motors brand. Many GM vehicles have an entry-level Chevrolet version as well as a “Professional Grade” GMC version. You can see the beginnings of this relationship in the Chevy El Camino vs GMC Sprint/Caballero utility coupe.

From 1971 through 1977, GMC sold its own version of the Chevrolet El Camino badged as the Sprint. At first the El Camino/Sprint was based on the Chevrolet Chevelle (GM A platform). It shared its longer wheelbase with the four-door and station wagon variations of that platform. Engines ranged from entry-level I6s all the way to the big-block V8s.

In 1978, GMC changed its utility coupe’s name to “Caballero.” In Spain, the word’s meaning is “gentleman.” Caballero comes from the same latin root as “cavalry” so it’s literal meaning is a farmer or landowner with enough money for their own horse. But in latin America, the word’s meaning is much closer to “cowboy.”

The Caballero was an early GMC muscle truck

The grille of a GMC Caballero compact truck, trees in the background.
1986 GMC Caballero | Cars & Bids

General Motors is known for several special edition muscle trucks. The 1991 GMC Syclone was the fastest pickup in the world for years. But before more modern GMC muscle trucks, there was the Caballero.

GMC only sold 6,609 Caballeros in the nameplate’s first year (1978). Then sales declined until GMC ended production after 1987. As a result, only 30,214 Caballeros were made in total. Today, this GMC is relatively rare, but those still around are often cherished by collectors as the unique vehicles they are.

In April 2023, a seller from Florida listed a 1986 GMC Caballero for sale on Cars & Bids (pictured). As one of the final years of the Caballero, this utility coupe is especially intriguing. But the muscle truck’s owner has also added some unique modifications.

The 1986 GMC Caballero on Cars & Bids

Closeup of the pickup bed liner in a GMC Caballero coupe utility, based on the Chevy El Camino muscle truck.
1986 GMC Caballero | Cars & Bids

One of the defining modifications of the 1986 GMC Caballero listed on Cars & Bids is its new engine: a GMC “L31” V8 (5.8 liters). The engine boasts a Holley Street Avenger 670 carburetor, Vortec 906 heads, LT4 Cams camshaft, 1.6 rocker arms with roller tips, aluminum radiator with electric fans, and it breathes through a custom 2.5-inch exhaust and Flowmaster 40 series muffler. The engine made 350 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque stock, but the owner has not dynoed the built up version.

The powertrain also features a four-speed automatic 4L60E transmission connected to a Painless Performance programmable controller, heavy-duty clutches, and Yukon limited-slip differential with Moser axle shafts. Bilstein shocks and upgraded springs keep the wheels on the ground during takeoff.

The Caballero also has 15-inch American Racing wheels, hood pins, and foglights. It is still very much a utility coupe and features an aftermarket L-track bed tie-down system.

The GMC Caballero came with power windows, power door locks, and a tasteful chocolate/sand interior. The owner even completed an HVAC restoration, installing a Sanden air conditioning compressor.

One of the most eye-catching features of this truck is its custom paint job. The owner chose Toyota’s Sundance Metallic color, which we think pairs very well with the “sand/chocolate” interior.

Next, see an even more unique rig: a classic convertible pickup truck or see a GMC Caballero for yourself in the video below: