Trucks & SUVs

Need a GM Monster Truck? Try the GMC TopKick

Although sometimes people genuinely do need a large pickup, some owners and tuners take the theme to the extreme. Rtech builds classic Chevrolet bro-dozers, while Brabus can build you a 6-wheeled AMG G-Wagon truck. Hummer’s coming back as a GMC-branded electric pickup, too. And, while you can’t really drive a monster truck on the road, there’s a Ford F-Series that comes close. But, if you’re a GM fan, there’s a similar truck available for you: the GMC TopKick.

What is the GMC TopKick?

The TopKick, Car and Driver explains, was the GMC version of the Chevy Kodiak. These two trucks were basically GM’s version of Ford’s commercial Super-Duty trucks, Autotrader reports. Although now out of production, the GMC TopKick had a fairly-long lifespan: it was made from 1980-2009.

2006 Chevy Kodiak C4500
2006 Chevy Kodiak C4500 | Chevrolet

Normally, these served as the basis for dump trucks, school buses, ambulances, and similar vehicles. However, like SuperTruck did with the F-650, there were companies that made ‘conventional’ pickup truck bodies for the GMC TopKick and the Chevy Kodiak. And, although larger than anything other than an actual semi, these super-trucks offered more than just sheer size.

GMC TopKick specs and features

The pickup truck body, Car and Driver reports, were usually only available on C4500 and C5500 GMC TopKicks. But even these ‘base-level’ trucks were genuine workhorses.

When they were first released in 1980, the TopKick and Kodiak could be ordered with either a 6.0-liter V8 or a 10.4-liter turbodiesel V8. Later versions just scaled up from there, with some engines even being capable of running on liquified petroleum gas. In 2005, the customers could get a GMC TopKick with either a 325-hp 8.1-liter V8 or a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 with 300 hp and 520 lb-ft. Also, four-wheel drive became an option in 2005.

The TopKick wasn’t fast—which, considering it weighed 11,300 pounds, was kind of a given. The top speed was limited to 75 mph, and Car and Driver clocked its 0-60 time at 14.4 seconds. Interestingly, though, that was actually faster than the contemporary four-cylinder Ford Escape. But speed wasn’t the name of the game.

The GMC TopKick C4500 had a payload capacity of 5000 pounds, the same as the upcoming Bollinger B2 electric truck. That’s also more than the current Nissan Titan XD’s payload. The TopKick could also tow up to 14,300 pounds, which is more than the highest-spec Tesla Cybertruck.

In addition, Car and Driver reports the GMC TopKick C4500 was surprisingly maneuverable. Its turning circle was tight enough for parking lot turns, and it could fit in a normal parking space. The ride wasn’t very good, though, and panic stops from 70 mph left the truck in limp-mode until the brakes had cooled.

Pricing

Ford F-650
Ford F-650 | Doug Demuro via YouTube

New, a GMC TopKick C4500 would set you back around $70,000-$90,000. Keep in mind, that’s still cheaper than the SuperTruck F-650. However, if you do want a truck that can tower over a Hummer H1 or Toyota MegaCruiser, used models have retained their value rather well.

1997 GMC TopKick C6500
1997 GMC TopKick C6500 | Bring a Trailer

As of this writing, Bring a Trailer has a 1997 GMC TopKick listed at just $2000. And it’s the even burlier C6500 model. Sub-100k-mile newer models, though, can go for as much as $52,000 on Autotrader. Just make sure you have somewhere to park it.

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