Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Gentleman Jim: 1975 GMC Sierra Classic rarity


Gentleman Jim gets the girl. Have you ever noticed that if a vehicle is odd and a little audacious that we here at Junkyard Life probably want it? Trans Ams, funky vans, boats to pull behind Trans Ams and funky vans, side pipes and the love of fads from way back are always cool with us. So now, we find a perfect pickup truck that seems to fall right in place with us. When a regular old truck just won’t do... Gentleman Jim is your answer!

Striking black and gold paint are the first clue that you may have found a 1975 Gentleman Jim GMC Sierra.

Gentleman, Start your Engines!
  We are not referring to the 1942 film, Gentleman Jim, starring Errol Flynn who portrayed a fighter with something to prove. Or are we? The Gentleman Jim we love is this 1975 limited edition GMC pickup. This truck didn’t have to fight too hard to prove it was special like Mr. Flynn did. What was a James Bond type to do when he needed a truck? GMC had the answer. This gentleman was upscale. Any parts associated with truck stigma need not apply. Nothing weak either. Here is the fighter part – we need performance, the kind of zoom a 350 with a 4-barrel carburetor can produce. Maybe even a 454? (See fun facts.) 
  Give us a yacht club kind of a truck. Affluent with a classic kind of flair. Notice the sparkly metal flake callouts Gentleman Jim had on his quarter panels. This luxury truck was going to be packed with options. Some literature indicates an AM/FM with a tape player was included in the Gentleman Jim package. To insure you could hear the symphony over the roar of your V8, GMC also included a lot of sound deadening they call “acoustic insulation”. This also precluded any other rattle and pop sounds synonymous with pickup trucks. Stirred, not shaken. 

Gentleman Jims were loaded, including bucket seats, full gauges with tach, and AM/FM/8 Track stereo.


Bright gold lettering announces the "Gentleman Jim" package on the flanks of these special edition 1975 GMC trucks. 

Black & Gold before "Bandits" were cool
  Special editions would not be complete if they were just any old color. Gentleman Jim wore a very fitting gold and black two-tone paint. They also used gold colored-keyed wheels with fat, muscular 60-series tires that gave it an aggressive stance. Perhaps even a fighter stance, Mr. Flynn? 



Look closely and you can spot the tachometer in the dash.

Luxury truck before there was such a thing
  Being above all of that “truck” nonsense of utility oriented vehicles of the time, let us be distinguished. They didn’t want you to see the bed unless necessary. So Gentleman Jim covered his rear (so to speak) with a factory black bed cover. He also used bucket seats and a nifty center console that provided space and if need be, seating for a third person. Cruise control, air conditioning, cloth interior accents, tilt wheel and a full compliment of gauges almost completed the package. Gentleman Jim wasn’t happy with just analog gauges. He needed a tachometer. He got one! We love factory tachometers here at Junkyard Life. Why, oh why didn’t they put tachometers in every truck? (Editor’s note: I sense a Ron’s Tachometer Rant coming on here. Let us hope he saves it for Fun Facts) Gentleman Jims were all long wheel based, so they rode wonderfully. With a color-keyed grill and special floor mats, now we are complete! 


Seen many sets of pristine Gentleman Jim floor mats? Not us.

Low mile original
  The extra nice feature truck we present to you is extra nice. This example is 100% correct down to every detail. Museum quality you ask? Why, yes. Yes, it is. It was indeed purchased from a museum with all documentation and a nice collection of literature. Bill Owens of Cleveland, Tennessee is the lucky owner. Bill has a history with Gentleman Jim trucks, which is noteworthy due to how precious few there are in existence. Fewer than 1,000 were produced according to LMC’s website.

Ron Kidd
— Junkyard Life



A 1975 Gentleman Jim advertisement.
Bill Owens, owner of our featured 1975 Gentleman Jim GMC Sierra Classic, gave us a tour of his rare truck.

Junkyard Life’s Gentleman Jim Fun Facts:
  • These trucks were only built during half of the 1975 model run.
  • Black and gold would become big color combination sales success in 1976, especially for Pontiac. The bold color duo would enjoy an even bigger success in 1977.
  • GMC also offered another special edition pickup truck in blue and silver called the “Beau James.”
  • The Gentleman Jim was based on the upscale appointed Sierra Classic.
  • Perfect for 1975 and the bold graphic era, Gentleman Jim wore metal flake “Gentleman Jim” script on the quarter panels.
  • Although offered with optional 454 cubic inch power, we have never seen one. If you know why, or even better, know of one, please let us know. This fact was almost presented as a question.
  • Even though it would have been cool, Gentleman Jim was never offered as a step side or as a short wheelbase truck. We think GM mandated the smoother ride that only the long wheelbase can provide. That’s another “fact” that is really a guess. (Sorry, we must not know what “fact” means)
  • Gentleman Jim was equipped with a tachometer! (Editor’s Note: Let the rant begin) Chevrolet and GMC both had dash boards with nice circular gauges that would have lent themselves very well for a nice useful tach. In a truck even! People pulling heavy loads could  certainly use this, especially in a truck, but they forced buyers to jump through hoops of fire to get one.
  • GMC tried to break the truck stigma of the time. Cars were used for daily transportation because there was a different mindset and trucks were not as widely accepted as they are today. In 1975, my Grandmother would not have ridden in a truck, much less have been picked up for a date in one. GMC advertising tried to break new ground and advocated that it was acceptable to ride in a Gentleman Jim.
  • Wear items for Gentleman Jim Editions are highly prized and priced today. A set of Gentleman Jim floor mats went for $500 recently on Ebay.

Do you have a great classic or muscle car barn find story? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net & Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com


This 1975 Gentleman Jim advertisement provides not so subtle clues that the ladies will love a man who drives a Gentleman Jim GMC.