CC Outtake: 1996 GMC Sierra – How Can It Be 25 Years Already?

Time has a way of sneaking up on you.

Can it have already been an entire generation since this handsome tu-toned beast rolled off the assembly line in Fort Wayne, Indiana? A cursory glance at the door jamb confirms it: “4/96”. Unbelievable.

I open the door to investigate further. A blue cloth interior? True, I haven’t seen that in a while.

Before climbing in, I glance back at the rear box side, and notice a dearth of gaudy “4×4” decals advertising its ability to get stuck further in a snowbank. That’s odd, too: I haven’t seen a 2-wheel-drive half-ton in some time.

I fire up the engine, with a key, which is something you insert into the steering col… never mind. As I detent the column shifter (and make a mental note that the lever appears to be some primitive mechanical linkage), and put into reverse, I am greeted with nary an electronic cavalcade of dingles and screens, only… a faint driveline clunk.

As I use my neck muscles to gaze over my shoulder to back out safely, then throw it into drive, distracted as I am by the lack of distractions, I note the benign neglect of this anachronism: no persistent chimes or buzzers to alert one to the antisocial act of not immediately buckling up.

I wave my smartphone (yes, even your humble scribe has lately succumbed) at the sea of black plastic knobs and dials, and am greeted with: nothing. It doesn’t know I have an Apple Albatross, and it doesn’t care.

Further along down the road, I see that my fuel gauge has dipped into red territory. Alarmingly, I am not notified with large red lights or sounds emanating from within the dash. As my windshield washer fluid sputters to a sad denouement, I again am cognizant of no warning that this fluid level has reached precipitous depths. How can this be?

I return from my harrowing journey, ruffled but unharmed by the lack of electronic aids to alert me of my impending vehicular doom.

Taking it all in now, indeed this must be a relic of the last century: a hulk of prehistoric progeny; a vision of a benighted age, when men could lean over the box sides and jawbone without spraining a shoulder muscle.

Yes, indeed, this thing is old. How did this happen so suddenly during its decade under my tutelage? Am I so out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong.