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The Beige Jimmy

regal403

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regal403 submitted a new Build:

The Beige Jimmy

I found this Doeskin tan 1984 GMC Jimmy Sierra Classic on Craigslist a couple weeks ago. I'd been thinking about selling my Jeep Cherokee and getting something older and larger for offroad adventures. My grandpa had a good half dozen 73-87 K10s on his ranch when I was a kid and I always loved the way they look.
I drove them to and across the hay fields, moving cattle across the pastures, and along miles of barbed wire fence. One of my many jobs behind one of these skinny steering wheels was to drive to town to buy Cokes for 3 o'clock coffee break in the summer. I was 14 at the time and felt like such a badass romping on the big 400 my uncle had in his '82 K10.

One Saturday morning earlier this summer, I put on some old Alan Jackson tunes to run up to the Home Depot. I saw a brown and tan C10 driving as I was listening to "Drive (For Daddy Gene)" and couldn't help but tear up reminiscing about all that time spent with my grandpa Don in his Chevy trucks. Such good memories I have associated with these vehicles.
I want my kids to be able to form similar good memories around these old trucks.

That's when I knew it was time to sell my Jeep. The search for a K5 was on.
I looked at a few project rigs, but none quite resonated with me.

Specs:
350, SM465, NP208, 10 bolts (2.73s!)

This won't be a rock crawler or a show car, just a clean and fairly stock family cruiser. Something I can take up in the mountains camping, to the hardware store, or for an ice cream cone.

This one fit my criteria perfectly:
Driver, not a project
Classic Old GM Smell
Clean enough paint and interior
Little to no rust
Relatively close

Except it wasn't close to me. I'm in Denver and this was 100 miles south of Grand Junction, about 6 hours away.

Read more about this build here...
 

regal403

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With the guidance of 82355 and 80' 427, I checked out a few Blazers and Jimmies in the area. They were all too much of a project for various reasons. I kept coming back to this beige '84, even though it was 6 hours away.

So I pounded out to the owner's farm near Nucla, Colorado (yeah I haven't heard of it either) and instantly fell in like. It smelled just like all my grandpa's old trucks and got a good vibe from the old boy selling it. He said his friend dropped a crate 350 into it around 20k and 10 years ago. That friend kept it at an airport near Lake Powell and would drive it when he flew in.

We struck a deal, I put some money down to hold it, and I turned around for the 6 hour drive home. Which turned into almost 8 because a reefer burnt up on the east side of the Eisenhower tunnel and everyone else in the mountains decided to go back to Denver at the same time I did. 3 am to 5:45 pm is a long day. At least the drive was beautiful.

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regal403

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My friend Deuce agreed to ride out with me and drive my mini minivan back, but since he was awaiting his COVID test results (had been symptom free for 14 days, but there's a delay in getting test results out here right now), my wife and I decided to leave the kids home this time.

I left my place at 3:00 am sharp, right on schedule. He slept through his 2 alarms, my 3 texts, and 7 of my 8 phone calls. We eventually got out of Denver an hour behind schedule.

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regal403

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The drive out was entirely uneventful, albeit overcast and beautiful. Perfect driving weather.
We exchanged funds, signed the paperwork, bumped elbows and were on our way back home in a flash.
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The Hanging Flume is a mining relic clinging to the canyon walls of the Dolores River, but you can't really see it in this photo.
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regal403

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100 miles of canyon carving later, we picked up I-70 at Grand Junction. The seller warned that although he put new ball joints, tie rod ends, and shims to increase caster, it still wanders a bit on the road. His road was gravel and the first few miles of oil were choppy and bumpy as hell. It did have a loose feeling in the wheel, but felt about how I remember them handling.

Then we hit smooth blacktop and it drove fine. Like a rock, as they say.

Cruise and AC don't work, but the speedometer is accurate at least until it runs out of numbers on the dial. I had no problem keeping up with traffic at 75+ with these 2.73 gears. Vail Pass and the climb up to the Eisenhower Tunnel kind of sucked, but only because 2nd (3rd?) and 3rd (4th?) felt like I was racing or lugging the motor, respectively.

Ran into some rain the final 2 hours home, but the tiny 12" wipers did a fine job keeping my windshield clean.

13.5 hours later, I pulled into the driveway. Wife was happy I made it home safe. Kids were excited to inspect the new rig. Dogs were digging the rear window.
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regal403

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Glad to see it! Some guys in here got some good pictures of that hanging flume a few years ago. Very neat.

Martin

It's quite impressive. There are 1 or 2 wrecked cars at the bottom of the canyon, but I couldn't get a good photo with my phone. Pretty wild area.
 

regal403

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Little details I remember vividly from my childhood in the back of my uncle's K5:

The shimmery blue GM belt buckles.
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The pinhole pattern in the vinyl headliner.
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Two tone dash, skinny steering wheel, and center console.
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My kids were excited to discover these "futuristic phone chargers" in the back seat area.
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regal403

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The major rust spots are on the bed and tailgate. I'd like to patch the bed before winter, at a minimum.

Plywood and small floor mats cover the holes good enough for now though.

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regal403

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Now let's test out some cleaning and conditioning products.

The rubber floor is dusty and dry, but essentially complete. From left to right: untreated, ArmorAll Air Freshening Protectant (New Car scent), Sprayway glass cleaner, WD-40, and Meguiar's Natural Shine Protectant.

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12 minutes later.
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2 hours later...
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WD-40 is the cheapest option to keep a shine, but do I really want this thing smelling like WD-40 all the time?
 
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82355

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They make a patch piece for the fuel neck I believe.

Regret selling me your little welder now?

Martin
 

regal403

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They make a patch piece for the fuel neck I believe.

Regret selling me your little welder now?

Martin

They do and I do. Deuce has a little flux core unit and my dad is thinking about upgrading from his Harbor Freight flux core machine, so I can either borrow or be gifted one soon.

They also sell replacement floor pan sections for $80 per side. That may be easier to weld in than bending my own sheet metal.
 
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6872xtc

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Custom koozie holder.

I was originally looking for an automatic, but I'm glad Martin convinced me to get a 4 speed instead. It's a good little truck.

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Your comments about pulling up Vail and Eisenhower are what I didn't like about the SM465. And getting from Gateway to Grand Junction wasn't fun either with a 4:10 geared one ton with too much weight behind it. Hwy 550 took some time as well.

Glad to see someone getting this to fix up and use!!
 

regal403

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Your comments about pulling up Vail and Eisenhower are what I didn't like about the SM465. And getting from Gateway to Grand Junction wasn't fun either with a 4:10 geared one ton with too much weight behind it. Hwy 550 took some time as well.

Glad to see someone getting this to fix up and use!!

I can't believe how much I love driving this. It's clunky and old and huge. I grin constantly behind the wheel.
 
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