In the automotive industry, missed opportunities and unrealized concepts often populate the annals of history. One such tale of unrealized potential belongs to the GMC Jimmy, a midsize SUV that was originally launched for the 1970 model year and kept in production until 1991. In 2017, within the hallowed halls of General Motors, a dedicated team was working on plans for a revival of the model as a robust competitor for the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. However, fate had other plans, and the project met an untimely demise, but a new report from GM Authority unveils interesting details from behind the curtains.
While the project's cancellation isn’t exactly unknown at this point, what remained shrouded in secrecy until now was the tantalizing mystery that lay beneath the vehicle’s hood – a powerful V8 engine. Sources close to the development of the unrealized project have shared insights that shed light on the vehicle's journey from conception to cancellation. The GMC Jimmy's design team pushed ardently to introduce a V8 engine into the SUV's lineup. This aspiration, however, came with a catch.
Gallery: GMC Jimmy by Flat Out Autos
Integrating a V8 powertrain necessitated modifications to the underlying 32XX platform. These modifications, while promising enhanced performance and unbridled power, would have also inflated the SUV's overall cost. This elevated price point posed a challenge, ultimately leading to the Jimmy's status as a GMC-exclusive model. Unlike other projects, no Chevrolet variant was in the cards due to the financial implications of incorporating the V8 engine.
The planned V8 powerplant would have set the GMC Jimmy apart from its rivals in a distinctive manner as no Bronco or Wrangler had V8 power at the time. The stillborn GMC Jimmy was slated to have the turbocharged 2.7-liter L3B inline four-cylinder gasoline engine as a base option. This unit has since found its home in the 2023 GMC Canyon. However, the true revelation lay in the fact that the Jimmy was engineered to host a V8 engine – a feature that had not been initially planned for its platform sibling, the Canyon.
Regrettably, the GMC Jimmy, its enhanced platform, and the promised V8 engine never saw the light of day. In mid-2019, General Motors undertook a seismic shift in focus, diverting resources and investments towards autonomous and electric vehicles. This shift spelled the end for the Jimmy, its potent V8 dreams sacrificed on the altar of future mobility. Yet, in the midst of this automotive tale of 'what could have been,' a silver lining emerged. GM's dedication to innovation yielded the creation of the Hummer EV SUV, an off-road electric super SUV that redefines performance but commands a starting price far exceeding that of the Jimmy's projected cost.
Note: JMC Jimmy one-off by Flat Out Autos pictured at the top of this article and in the gallery.