A June 22 sale of a 1985 Chevrolet K20 appears to have set a new record price paid for a 1973–87 Chevrolet/GMC pickup—by a long shot. The meagerly optioned Scottsdale pickup, with just 589 miles on the odometer, fetched $88,725 including dealer premium.
The two-way bidding war on Bring a Trailer left the losing party without a very fine work truck but with their sense of humor intact, commenting, “Screw it. I’m gonna get a Ferrari instead.” Don’t feel too bad for runner-up, who has purchased four vehicles in the last month. They’ll be fine.
The pickup in question is a K20, meaning it’s a ¾-ton 4×4, and a Scottsdale, which means its a mid-range model below the Silverado. Its heavy-duty axles have 4.10:1 gears and are turned by way of what is sure to be an NP208 transfer case. Power comes from a carbureted, 350-cubic-inch small-block and a four-speed manual. The options sticker notes power windows, but there’s no radio and no air-conditioning. It was ordered by the original owner, who barely put any miles on it before passing away. The truck then spent more than 30 years in storage.
As far as work truck credentials go, it has pretty much the best drivetrain you could ask for in 1985, unless you are a fan of the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter diesel, and nobody really is.
So what drove the price to nearly three times the Concours value of an ’85 K20? The old auction adage reminds us that all it takes is two motivated buyers. Were both set on owning the lowest-mileage Indian Bronze Metallic over Mahogany vinyl Chevy pickup in existence? Perhaps both were huge fans of The Fall Guy and this K20, while not a GMC, was as close as they could get? You can read their often-hilarious comments and find out for yourself.
All we really know is that Bring a Trailer seems to be bringing the kinds of cars and trucks that its audience wants to see and bid on. Earlier this month a 2000 Honda Civic SI sold for more than $50,000. Granted, that was a rare, high-performance model and not a stripped workhorse of a truck. Our valuation team was a little puzzled about this result, thinking that if a price this high came along for an ’80s ¾-ton 4×4, it would have been for a fully decked-out Silverado Custom or the like. On the other hand, when was the last time a truck this old has been seen in such condition, especially one equipped for work duty?
We’re never sure what to expect when auctions like this take place. The market can bring strange results when a well-preserved specimen meets at least two nostalgic collectors.