July 1987

Here are partial pictures of two different GMCs that were caught undergoing testing in mid-1987. Both were popular models already on sale at the time. Neither had been refreshed since their introduction so auto journalists predicted the observed enhancements would be implemented on both for the 1989 model year.

Curiously, the visual changes that these test vehicles were sporting never made it to production. Instead, both soldiered on with little changed for several more years. What vehicles do you think they are?

Continue reading to see if your identification skills are accurate.


GMC S-15 Jimmy

Although today it could be said the Jimmy’s proposed front end (pictured left) resembles that of a Ford Ranger/Explorer, the stacked headlight design trait wouldn’t be used by Ford until 1989.

As it turned out, the Jimmy remained virtually unchanged for 1989 (shown in tan). Its refresh didn’t happen until 1991 and was much less substantial than the spy picture let on.

GMC Safari
After roughly two decades on the market, most people know what a Chevrolet Astro van looks like; hence, those same people would know what a GMC Safari looks like. The van’s first series, from 1985, had a leaned-back look with rear-slanting front grill and square headlights.

As the spy photo shows, the changes that appeared to be in store for the Safari included flush headlights, a redisigned grill with horizontal openings, and what looks like a different front bumper covering, while retaining its overall appearance.

Unfortunately, consitent with Jimmy’s aborted plans, these flush lenses never saw production on Safari and the 1989 model (shown in blue) came and went basically unchanged.

Further, Safari’s eventual refresh didn’t occur until the 1995 model year and that look remained unchanged until the two-decade old, rear-wheel-drive van was phased out after 2005.

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