1986 GMC Sierra Classic (Specs & Details)

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In a crowded industry of different trucks and vehicles to choose from, it is easy to forget about older models like the 1986 GMC Sierra Classic.

However, this is a solid choice if you want to save some money while still getting your hands on a highly durable, long-lasting truck. There are multiple trim levels to choose from, and it provides excellent towing and hauling capabilities.

The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic has a 5.0 Liter V8 engine and is available in two- and four-door configurations. This was also one of the last vehicles included in the GMC Rounded Line third-generation release. You also had the option to upgrade the performance to a 6.2 L V8 diesel engine instead.

The Sierra Classic is one of the most popular classic trucks on the market, with many people still using them for work or as an investment vehicle. You can find them for sale at any major dealership or purchase one from an individual seller on sites like Craigslist and eBay. This guide will show you all of the specs, features, and details that make this such a special classic truck.

We have gathered all specs and details about this 86 GMC Sierra Classic through documentation and technical data sheets. We have also looked at available listings to see the most popular features on the models for sale.

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1986 GMC Sierra Classic (Specs & Details)

The GMC Sierra is a pickup truck manufactured by General Motors. It is the first vehicle to be marketed as a GMC-branded vehicle since the company's acquisition of American Motors Corporation in 1970.

The truck was available in three different cab configurations: standard, extended, and crew cabs. The Sierra Classic had an optional three-speed automatic transmission, which made it the only pickup truck available at the time with this feature.

This model also received updated interior design and exterior styling changes, such as a new front end and grille design, new tailgate design, new headlamps, new door handles, new taillights, and new bumper design.

The Sierra Classic has a 5.0 Liter V8 engine that meets the emissions standards of that time period. It also has an automatic transmission and power steering, which is not common for vehicles of this era.

Key Features

The GMC Sierra Classic is a powerful truck with a 454 cubic inch V8 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission. It has an 8,000-pound towing capacity and can tow up to 11,000 pounds when equipped with the right equipment.

This truck offers comfortable seats designed with the driver in mind and plenty of legroom. The style of this truck is classic and timeless, making it one of the most popular trucks on the market today.

Below we look at some of the key features worth remembering.

Power Brakes and Steering

Right away, one of the most important features you get with the 1986 Sierra Classic is power brakes and steering. The front hydraulic disc brakes and rear drum brakes are extremely effective for improved stopping distances.

They will hold up while towing or hauling heavier payload capacities too. This makes getting the most from your truck easier, despite its older age.

The power steering also pairs with powder windows, cruise, control, and power locks. For an older truck, it comes with some advanced features that were not as widely available in 1986.

Rear Wheel Drive

If you are looking for a truck that can handle snow and ice well, this is right up your alley because of the rear-wheel drive design. This allows your acceleration to come from the rear of the vehicle.

The two front wheels focus on steering and maintaining vehicle control while the truck's rear generates power. This feature is extremely important for the success of the 86 GMC Sierra Classic.

You can expect faster driving, more accurate steering, improved traction, and better vehicle power due to the rear-wheel drive setup.

Leaf-Spring Rear Suspension

Another feature that was upgraded on the Sierra Classic in the mid-1980s was the suspension type. On the 1986 model, this included a leaf-spring rear suspension which allows for better weight support.

Trucks with this suspension style also tend to have more efficient rolling, movement, and overall balance. The same is true for the 86 GMC Sierra Classic because of the wide base springs too.

The leaf spring suspension uses steel strips on the frame ends to hold the suspending axle in place. This design makes it easier to tow and haul much heavier payload capacities too.

Interior And Exterior Design

The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic has a vinyl interior with a vintage look. This truck is perfect for people who like the classic look and want to drive something that doesn’t have all the modern bells and whistles.

The exterior comes equipped with shiny chrome bumpers on both the front and rear of the vehicle. It also has a long square shape with a low-profile truck bed style.


The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic has many features that make it stand out among other models. It’s well known for toughness and durability, making it perfect for those looking for a truck that can endure any terrain.

Next, we can take a look at some of this vintage truck's key specs and dimensions. This includes transmission types, engine types, horsepower, and torque.

Manual/Automatic Transmission

The standard model comes equipped with a 4-speed automatic transmission and column shifter; however, a few variations are worth considering. You can also opt for the fully manual 4-speed design too.

This was the first truck in the R/V series and was also one of the first to offer the dual automatic transmission and column shifter design.


The standard engine type for this truck was the 5.0 Liter V8 with excellent power capacity. It also has a wide range of standard features that are unavailable on most other models in its class today.

Regarding fuel efficiency, the Sierra Classic did not perform well compared to its competitors due to its size and weight. It had a combined EPA rating of 14 miles per gallon, significantly lower than its competitor’s ratings of 17 miles per gallon.

Overall, the engine performs well, but it's not considered the most efficient or powerful design during this era of trucks.

Horsepower & Torque

The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic was a truck that was built to last. It had plenty of horsepower and torque. It also had a long list of standard features, including power steering, power brakes, and an AM/FM stereo cassette player.

The 161 HP (118.496 KW) @ 3800 RPM was included with the 5735cc V8 4-barrel carburetor design. This was a 5.7 L, 350.0 cu in. engine size too.

This same standard design also included 275 Ft-Lbs (373 NM) @ 2400 RPM, four bores, and was built with a cast iron cylinder block.


The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic style and design are some of its best features. This truck has a lightweight feel but weighs in at 3,700 pounds.

The truck also includes a length of 178.2 inches, a height of 79.4 inches, and a wheelbase of 110.0 inches. These sizes can vary slightly depending on the trim level too.

Is The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic Worth Buying?

The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic is a reliable truck car with a good quality engine and is also durable. It has a lot of space for storage and for passengers. This truck is also easy to maintain, so it will not be too expensive to keep up with this car.

The GMC Sierra Classic is a great truck that can be used for many different purposes. It's a classic vehicle, but it has modern features.

The truck's price is reasonable, and it runs well on gas. The only downside to this truck is that it has no modern safety features like airbags or anti-lock brakes.

It was also one of the first Chevy trucks to have an advanced airbag and anti-lock brake system. It also had a six-cylinder or eight-cylinder engine with fuel injection, which was very high-tech at the time.

The interior is also very luxurious, with leather seats, power windows and locks, automatic transmission, cruise control, and more. We would recommend this truck to anybody searching for a daily driver.

The GMC Sierra Classic is worth it for people looking for a truck with some good performance features but also wants something that looks nice too.

How Many Miles Will The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic Last?

The 1986 GMC Sierra Classic is a reliable truck known for durability. It lasts for 250,000 to 300,000 miles on average. This truck is an American classic with a long history of providing reliable transportation for over 30 years.

It has a powerful engine that can be used in the city or off-road. The truck is also known for its reliability and longevity. The body shape and style work well over time and do a solid job fending off rust or wear.

However, the maintenance and driving style can impact this truck's longevity. Failing to take proper care of it will result in a shorter lifespan, well below the 250,000-mile mark.

Using this truck for consistent heavy lifting can also take a toll on the truck's lifespan. This adds pressure to the engine and transmission, causing faster wear and tear.

Other things like rust can happen after long or harsh winters. By washing your truck regularly, you can avoid rust and keep it looking its best.

How Does 1986 GMC Sierra Classic Compare To Other Models?

The Sierra Classic had a powerful engine and an aerodynamic design that made it look like it was going fast even when it wasn't moving. It is still in production and has many features that make it stand out from other models of pickup trucks.

However, some other high-level trucks were in circulation around the same time competing with this vehicle. We take a look at each of them below to see where the differences are.

1986 Toyota Pickup

The Toyota Pickup has been a popular choice for off-roaders and truck enthusiasts since it first debuted in the year 1972. The name does not inspire confidence, but this 1986 model was one of the best ever.

The Toyota Pickup is powered by a 4-cylinder engine that produces either 134 horsepower or 158 horsepower depending on the trim level. The more powerful engine is only available with the crew cab option and 4x4 drivetrain.

This truck is often considered the most reliable pickup truck ever because of the added safety features, consistent 2.4-liter four-cylinder RE engine, and compact design. It was also available as either a two-door or four-door model.

1986 Dodge Power Ram

The Dodge Power Ram is a heavy-duty pickup truck, and one of the sleekest options was released in 1986. The truck was designed for tough work and can do anything from hauling to off-roading.

The Dodge Power Ram is available in two different cab styles: a regular cab and an extended cab. The regular cab has four doors, while the extended cab has two on the passenger side and one on the driver's side, making it easier for passengers to get in and out of the vehicle.

The truck uses a manual five-speed transmission with a two-speed transfer case and four-wheel drive. The truck has a curb weight of 4,045 pounds which is not too bad for its size, as it measures 205 inches in length, 74 inches in width, and 76 inches in height.

1986 Ford F-150

The 1986 Ford F-150 was made for the working class, and many people have used it for many different purposes. It is one of the most popular trucks ever made, with impressive features.

This was a seventh-generation model, and it came available in three different trims, including the regular cab, super cab, and crew cab design.

This F-150 generation also introduced a new woodgrain trim with an upgraded interior dashboard. The V8 engine was powerful and extremely efficient, and if you needed a truck that focused on improving payload capacities, this would be the superior option.