During 1972, a unique Chevrolet promotional pickup was introduced for a limited time in 1/2 , 3/4, and 1 ton models. This truck was designated the “Highlander”. Unfortunately, it did not have side emblems or related name plates that would cause people to remember this special model. On the actual truck the word Highlander was only listed on the glove box door inside ID sheet.
This vehicle was actually a modified middle series “Custom Deluxe”. The horizontal lower side trim has black inserts, not wood grain. The usual “Custom Deluxe” chrome emblems are displayed on the front fenders. As with most of the 1972 GM trucks the dash housing, glove box lid, and door panels do not have the wood grain inserts as on the top of the line Cheyenne Super.
It is the cloth seat inserts that stand out on the Highlander interior. This feature was the special Scottish plaid nylon cloth seat insert material. Four plaid colors were available, depending on the exterior color.
GM used the top of the line 1972 Cheyenne Super seat covering but instead of the hounds tooth inserts substituted this unique Tartan plaid material. The vinyl seat edging, door panels, and seat belts were all parchment no matter the seat or exterior color.
The exterior feature of the Highlander is the attractive stainless wheel covers on the ½ ton. They have no emblem or letters and are specific for this particular model truck. (These actually had been used several years before as the stock 15 inch cover on the 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.) The 3/4 and 1 ton Highlander used hub caps, not wheel covers, that were stampings from the standard base truck.
Actually, the more advertised feature of the Highlander was three pre installed option packages. Chevrolet put together several popular factory options in a base package and reduced the total regular price as much as $260.00. Original equipment (standard on the Highlander package A) were chrome front bumper, upper body moldings, door edge guards, and Below-Eye-Line door mounted mirrors.
Package B included the above items plus turbo hydramatic transmission, power steering and tilt steering column. Package C added the above plus air conditioning and Soft-Ray tinted windows.
In today’s world, Highlanders have been mostly forgotten. Unless you bought one new or located an original piece of sales literature, it is likely that even GM truck lovers were not aware they existed.
Another example of General Motors saving production costs: On the 1972 GMC only, the Chevrolet Highlander seat material was an option on their Wide-Side (fleetside) and Suburban. To give this seat insert a different appearance, than the Highlander, it appears the material was turned 90o so the stripes ran the opposite direction.
1972 GMC (optional) (above)
To get the most sales from the special Scottish plaid used in the 1972 Highlander, GM used it in one other application. The special Highlander seat covering could be obtained with the 1972 Suburban. It, like the Highlander truck, was a custom Deluxe series with lower side trim having satin black inserts. The special wheel covers were not used on this Suburban body.
Two of the enclosed pictures are from Frederic Lynes, who has these pictures of his 1972 avocado green and white Suburban the day it was bought new. Note the Highlander seat coverings.
Mr. Lynes also furnished the two photos of the 72 Hawaiian blue vehicle showing a great color view of the Scottish plaid. Frederic Lynes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.