Curbside Outtake: 1977 GMC Sierra Grande 15 Heavy Half – Light Full

I do like finding these 1970’s rolling time capsules with their bold graphics. And “Heavy Half”; what a great name. Of course it’s meaning is probably a bit lost in the mists of time for most folks, but this wasn’t just some empty-calorie graphics package; it defined a new class of pickups that were essentially 5/8 ton units, that slotted in between the 1/2 and 3/4 tonners. Why? To circumvent federal EPA regulations; why else?

Here’s what we’re looking at. And what a color combination: butter and cream. Yummy!

Starting in 1976 (IIRC) the pickup makers started exploiting the fact that light trucks with a GVW (Gross vehicle Weight) exceeding 6,000 lbs were exempt from the tightening light vehicle EPA standards. That meant no catalytic converters, better running engines, and big block ones at that, if you wanted one.

It essentially amounted to heavier springs to increase load capacity, while maintaining the typical 1/2 ton underpinnings, meaning no big full-floating axles and corresponding eight-lug wheels.

This created the Chevy “Big 10”, this GMC “Heavy Half” and of course the Ford F150.

In this fine example’s case, it’s a top tier Sierra Grande.

That didn’t exactly get you a tufted “pillow top” velour seats. Pretty basic still, although I suspect a cloth upholstery option was also on tap.

Matching yellow old-style Oregon plates.

It gleamed like the sun itself on this rainy spring day in Eugene. Dazzling, or light-full, one could say.