Chevrolet van

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Chevrolet van cab and chassis were also used in the making of ambulances
A Chevrolet van cab and chassis used in making motorhomes pictured is a Chevrolet RV
This page talks about the 1964–1995 Chevrolet van and GMC Vandura. For the post-1995 successor, see Chevrolet Express.
Chevrolet/GMC van
Chevrolet Sport Van.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerChevrolet/GMC (General Motors)
Production1964–1995
Body and chassis
Body styleVan
Chronology
PredecessorChevrolet Greenbrier Sportswagon
SuccessorChevrolet Express / GMC Savana
Pictured Is a Chevrolet diesel cube van Chevrolet van cab and chassis were also made into cube vans

The Chevrolet and GMC G-series vans were made by General Motors for North America. They are in the same vehicle class as the discontinued Ford E series and Dodge Ram van.

The term Chevrolet van also refers to the entire series of vans sold by Chevrolet. The first Chevrolet van was released in 1961 on the Corvair platform, and the latest Chevrolet van in production is the Chevrolet Express.

The G20 and its counterparts replaced the original Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier Van which was manufactured until 1965. First fielded in the mid-1960s, the model line evolved until it was replaced in 1996 by the Chevrolet Express. 1964-70 G20s came with six-lug wheels (6 lugs - 5.5" (139.6 mm) bolt circle), while the 1971–1995 generation came with the 5 lug - 5" (127 mm) bolt circle.

G20s were fitted with the ball joints from the Chevrolet/GMC ¾- and 1-ton pickups although using the ½ ton pickup's brake rotors.

A light duty version, the G10, was produced alongside the G20—the early versions used the Chevrolet passenger car wheels (5 lugs - 4.75" (120.7 mm) bolt circle) until 1975 (G10s manufactured prior to the 1976 model year had the smaller bolt pattern, common with the short wheelbase vans), yet can still handle LT tire sizes for better handling and stability. The G20 series sported an SB 262 4.3L engine, not much was changed mechanically in the vehicles since their release, other than carburetor to a throttle body injection fuel system, and less use of a vacuum system. Currently there are more after market part options available for its V8 counterparts. Not much has been done in the lines of performance options for the small V6 G20 models, but the reliability remains the same throughout all the G-series models.

The G20's low cost of upkeep, size, and options have made this van popular with all different kinds of trades, from plumbers to caterers.

First generation (1964–1966)[edit]

First generation
OldChevyVan.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Also calledChevrolet Sportvan
GMC Handi-Van
GMC Handi-Bus
Production1964–1966
AssemblyPontiac, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
ClassCompact van
Body style3+1 door van
LayoutFMR layout
Powertrain
Engine153 cu in (2.5 L) I4
194 cu in (3.2 L) I6
230 cu in (3.8 L) I6
Dimensions
WheelbaseSWB: 2,286 mm (90.0 in)

The first General Motors van was the Chevrolet Corvair-based Chevrolet Greenbrier van, or Corvan introduced for 1961, which used a flat-6 opposed rear engine with air cooling, inspired by the Volkswagen bus. Production of the Chevrolet Greenbrier ended during the 1965 model year.

First-generation Chevyvan refers to the first G-10 half-ton production years 1964 through 1966. General Motors saw a market for a compact van based on a modified passenger car platform to compete with the already successful Ford Econoline and Dodge A100. The 1964 Chevyvan had a cab forward design with the engine placed in a "doghouse" between and behind the front seats. The implementation of situating the driver on top of the front axle with the engine near the front wheels is called internationally a "cab over" vehicle. Engines and brakes were sourced from the Chevy II, a more conventional compact car than Chevrolet Corvair. This model was also sold by GMC as "Handi-Van". The 1st Gen vans were available in only the short 90-inch wheelbase and were only sold with the standard 90 hp 153-cubic-inch straight-4 or Chevrolet Straight-6 engine. A first gen is quickly identified by its single piece flat windshield glass. The first 1964 Chevyvan was originally marketed and sold as a panel van for purely utilitarian purposes. Windows were available as an option, but were simply cut into the sides from the factory. In 1965, Chevy added "Sportvan", which featured windows actually integrated into the body. GMC marketed their window van as "Handi-Bus". Air conditioning, power steering and power brakes were not available in the 1st generation vans.

Updates[edit]

1964[edit]

The original "classic" flat windshield van. The 90 hp (67 kW) 153 cu in (2.51 L) four-cylinder engine was standard equipment with optional 120 hp (89 kW) 194 cu in (3.18 L) Chevrolet Straight-6 engine available. The straightforward construction and a boxy design was ideal for economically hauling cargo, tools and equipment around town. The base cargo model was the Chevyvan, available with or without windows and side cargo doors. Even the heater and right front passenger seat were optional. The Warner 3-speed manual transmission was standard with column shift. A 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission was available as an option.

1965[edit]

For 1965, the van remained largely unchanged. The grille openings were widened, and received one additional slot just above the bumper to increase cooling. Seat belts were added. The exciting news for the 1965 model year was the introduction of the Chevy Sportvan and GMC Handi-Bus. Sportvan was a passenger friendly van with windows molded into the van body. A retractable rear courtesy step for the passenger side doors was used on the Sportvan. The 194 6-cylinder engine was now standard equipment, with an available 'Hi-Torque' 140 hp (100 kW) 230 cu in (3.8 L) six-cylinder

1966[edit]

This was the last year of the flat glass front end on the Chevy Vans. Changes for 1966 include the addition of back-up lights, the side Chevyvan emblems were moved forward and now mounted on the front doors, and the antennae location was moved from the right side to the left side. The base model "Sportvan" now had two additional trim packages available: Sportvan Custom and Sportvan Deluxe. These featured available upgrades such as Chrome bumpers, two tone paint, rear passenger seats, interior paneling, padded dash, chrome horn ring.

Second generation (1967–1970)[edit]

Second generation
1968 Sportvan Custom 108.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Also calledChevrolet Sportvan
GMC Handi-Van
GMC Handi-Bus
Production1967–1970
AssemblyPontiac, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
ClassVan
Body style3+1 door van
LayoutFMR layout
Powertrain
Engine230 cu in (3.8 L) I6
250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
283 cu in (4.6 L) V8
307 cu in (5.0 L) V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) V8
Dimensions
WheelbaseSWB: 2,286 mm (90.0 in)
LWB: 2,743 mm (108.0 in)

In 1967, Chevy Van received a major facelift, including moving the headlights down to a new redesigned grille, larger, rectangular tail lights and a curved windshield. The forward control cab design was retained, but the doghouse was lengthened, widened and slightly relocated in order to fit an optional Chevrolet Small-Block engine. Engine cooling was improved with the addition of an optional larger cross-flow type radiator and a redesigned front which included a low-profile tunnel allowing more fresh air to the radiator. The 2nd gen vans were available in either the 90-inch or the longer 108-inch wheelbase. Power steering and "conventional" air conditioning (with dash vents & controls) were never available on the second-generation van.

1967[edit]

The "second-generation" Chevy Van began with the 1967 model, with a whole new look to the van and offering a longer 108" wheelbase and V8 power to buyers for the first time. GM designers moved the headlights down to a new grille, added longer, rectangular tail lights and a rounded glass windshield. 1967 was the only early 2nd generation that did not have side marker lights. The forward control cab design was retained, but the doghouse was widened and lengthened in order to fit the optional V8 Chevrolet Small-Block engine. Engine cooling was improved with redesigned doghouse, the addition of a larger optional cross-flow type radiator and a redesigned front floor tunnel more fresh air to the radiator. The 2nd gen G-10 vans were available in the original short wheelbase 90 inches (2,286 mm) or the new optional long wheelbase 108-inch (2,743 mm) with 5 on 4&3/4" lug bolt pattern. Another feature in 1967 was the availability of a new G-20 heavy duty 3/4 ton van. The G-20 featured heavier suspension, a 12 bolt rear axle and increased hauling capability with a 6 lug bolt pattern. The G-20 model was available only on the 108 long wheelbase. For 1967, the 140 hp (100 kW) 230 cu in (3.8 L) six-cylinder was now standard, with the optional 155 hp (116 kW) 250 cu in (4.1 L) six-cylinder or the 175 hp, 283 cu in (4.64 L) 2-barrel, V8. Brakes were now upgraded to a safer split system including a dual reservoir master cylinder.

1968[edit]

This was the first year that Chevy vans had side-marker lights, mandated by federal government regulations. The front lights were located towards the front in the middle of the front doors, while the rear marker lights were located about a foot inward of the very back edge just below the vertical middle of the van.

The optional V-8 engine was upgraded from the 283 2-barrel (175 HP) to the larger, more powerful 307 2-barrel V8 (200 HP at 4600 rpm, 300 lbs-ft torque at 2400 RPM).

A column shift 4-speed transmission (Borg-Warner T10) was now available as an option, and you could get power brakes on the G20 3/4 tons vans.

1969[edit]

For the 1969 model year, the 3-speed TH-350 Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission was an option.

"Body-integrated" air conditioning was an offered on the Sportvan models. This was not your typical AC setup with dash vents and controls, but rather a roof-mounted unit with a single blower duct that had adjustable louvers to direct air flow. The AC unit was independent from the cabin heater. It was operated by a single knob on a roof control panel that turned on the AC and allowed you to select the fan speed. With no actual temperature control, fan speed was the only way to adjust for desired comfort level.

Up front, the Chevrolet bowtie emblem changed in color from red to blue this year.

1970[edit]

1970 was the last year of the square styling, front drum brakes, and I-beam front axle. The 250 CID 6-cylinder (155Hp at 4200 rpm) was now standard equipment. In addition to the 307-2-barrel V-8, a 350-4-barrel (255 HP at 4600 rpm, 355 lbs-ft torque at 3000 rpm) V-8 engine was available as an option for the first time in 1970. The 3-speed automatic and manual 4-speed column shift continued to be available as transmission options.

Air conditioning may not have been available in 1970. It's not listed as an option in a 12-page brochure, and unlike 1969, there is no mention of it in the owner's manual.

Third generation (1971–1995)[edit]

Third generation
Chevrolet Beauville -- 01-17-2011.jpg
Overview
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Also calledChevrolet Beauville
Chevrolet Bonaventure
Chevrolet G series
Chevrolet Nomad
Chevrolet Sport Van
GMC Rally Wagon
GMC Vandura
Chevrolet Bonanza
Production1971–1995
AssemblyLordstown, Ohio, United States
Flint, Michigan, United States
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size van
Body style3-door van
3+1 door wagon
4-door van
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
RelatedChevrolet/GMC C/K
Powertrain
Engine4.1L I6
4.3L V6
5.0L V8
5.7L V8
7.4L V8
6.2L diesel V8 (1982–93)
6.5L diesel V8 (1994–95)
Transmission3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
3-speed manual
4-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase110 in (2,794 mm) (SWB)
125 in (3,175 mm) (LWB)
146 in (3,708 mm) (EWB)
Length178.2 in (4,526 mm) (SWB)
202.2 in (5,136 mm) (LWB)
223.2 in (5,669 mm) (EWB)
Width79.5 in (2,019 mm)
Height79.4 in (2,017 mm) (SWB)
79.2 in (2,012 mm) (LWB)
79.8 in (2,027 mm) (SWB)
81.9 in (2,080 mm) (LWB)
GMC Vandura Campwagon
Chevrolet Conversion Van

In 1971, Chevy Van received a major redesign, moving the engine forward of the driver with a short front clip and hood. The van was constructed of a solid frame and thicker floor pan steel. GM also employed stronger truck style hubs and brakes with dual A-Arm independent front suspension. The major restyle followed the engine-forward design of the competing 1968 Ford Econoline. Suspension and steering parts came from the Chevrolet C/K. GMC now marketed their vans under the VanDura name, While the Chevrolet equivalent vans were now given a "G"designation Ex. G10,G20,G30 etc.

These models between 78 and 95 were popular with Van conversion groups such as Choo Choo customs, Stimus conversions, Gladiator, Warrior, Curtis and Starcraft jcustoms. They also sparked a whole Sub-culture in the customization industry. One off individualized customizations, and even mass produced highly sought after customizations became highly desirable and the custom van culture was born. In the later 80's raised/custom roof executive styled custom packages were installed in an unprecedented number of vans and the custom van culture over night was transformed into the "gotta have it" vehicle of the late 80's. These custom creations were excellent for moving large groups of people from one place to the next in luxury. Plush thick pile carpeting, Velour, High quality Leathers, convertible bench seats and pivoting and reclining captain's chairs, televisions, game consoles and video playback equipment such as VCR's and DVD's were added to entertain the passengers on long trips. This era gave rise to the modern limousine and limo-vans of today, and multiple, modern, Camper innovations and creations as well. In addition to the cab-chassis models, there were also factory cube vans from Chevy and GMC, called the Chevy High-Cube or box van, GMC MagnaVan, and longer wheel base, multi-passenger vans able to move as many as 15 people at one time.

For the 1996 model year, the Chevrolet and GMC vans were replaced with the next-generation Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana with more aerodynamic styling. These vans were built on a stronger truck frame versus the previous generation's unibody construction. A left-side door was made available for the passenger van market.

Engines[edit]

The third generation GM van was fitted with a variety of engines over its lifetime. A 4.1L (250 CID) straight six was the base engine, this was replaced by the 4.3L V6 in 1985. The 4.3L initially used a 4bbl carburetor, this was updated to TBI fuel injection in 1987. 5.0L and 5.7L small block V8s were the mainstay engines, these were also updated to fuel injection in 1987. A 7.4-liter V8 (230–255 hp (172–190 kW), 385 lb⋅ft (522 N⋅m) at 3600 rpm) was added in 1990, exclusive to the G30. The transmission choices were a three-speed manual, three-speed automatic, four-speed manual, or 4-speed automatic, depending on the model year. Chevrolet also offered, in 1982–1995, the Detroit Diesel V8 engine.

Updates[edit]

1971[edit]

All new bodystyle was introduced this year, which continued until the end of the 1995 model year. The Vandura and sister Chevy Van replaced the earlier flat front end model. The GMCs were introduced in April 1970; interior components such as the steering column and steering wheel were sourced from the Chevrolet C/K pickups. The short wheelbase vans measured 110 inches (2,794 mm), while the long wheelbase was 125-inch (3,175 mm) wheelbase. Clear blinker housings were used on early models, along with blue grille ornaments Chevrolet models.

1973[edit]

For 1973, the dashboard was redesigned, steering wheel and side fender badges became similar to that used on the new for 1973 pickups and the Chevrolet bowtie grille emblem was changed from blue to yellow. In these 73-77 Chevy Van years you could order a custom van of your dreams, complete with shag carpet and side pipe exhaust from the comfort of the Chevrolet dealership, through a company called "Van-Tastic" owned by Hop Cap Inc. in Bremen, Indiana. During the same period, GMC offered cutaway versions called the MagnaVan, while Chevrolet offered a similar version called the "Hi-Cube Van." In 1975 the Chevy G20 series had a Surveyor line of class B motorhomes offered by Futura. The Surveyor came equipped with a bathroom, refrigerator, stove/oven, hot/cold sink and sleeping for four. The Surveyor is almost identical to the Open Road line of class B coaches offered by Chevrolet but the production numbers are significantly fewer.

1978[edit]

1980–1982 Chevrolet Van

The front sheet metal was updated. Changes include a new, built-out plastic grille with integrated blinkers (grille assembly sourced from the C/K truck), different fenders, round headlamps on lower-end models and square headlamps on higher-end models. The dashboard was redesigned and would remain mostly unchanged until the end of production in 1995. Front and rear bumpers were enlarged. Chrome grille required square headlamps.

1980-1983[edit]

All 1980 vans were given new rear-view mirrors on the driver and passenger doors. Some models got electronic spark control.

1981 Chevrolet Sportvan Beauville

Chevrolet offers Bonaventure trim for 1981 and 82 with chrome bumpers, chrome side marker lights and trim around the tail lamps. Also, the only G-series vans that had chrome grille and round headlamps from the factory. Any other G van with a chrome grille from 1978-1982 required the rectangular headlamp option. For 1982, the locking steering column was introduced; the ignition switch, dimmer switch and wiper switch were relocated to the steering column.

After 1982, 3-speed manuals would be relocated to the floor and base models will no longer have round headlamps, which would make Manual Transmission 1982 G vans rare and collectable as 1982 was the only model year with column shift manual transmission and ignition switch on the steering column. Also, 1982 was the only year with the left rear glass as an option on one side only.

Custom 1983 A-Team van

The 6.2 diesel was first available and stacked 4-headlights introduced, along with a revised grille. Base models continued with 2 headlights. All van models now have square headlamps. From this model year on, tilt steering was available with a manual transmission because the steering column was retilted to be similar to the C/K trucks and all manual transmission levers are now on the floor. New steering wheels were introduced as well to be similar to the Monte Carlo/Malibu. Automatic overdrive introduced. 4-speed manual 117M transmission introduced. This version was made famous by the American television series The A-Team.

1984-1989[edit]

New swing-out side doors were introduced to go with the standard sliding side door. The doors were a 60/40 split. Last year for chrome trim side marker lamps and chrome trim around tail lamps options. For 1985, the taillight and side marker lenses were redesigned. New Grille Treatment similar to the pickups. Front doors redesigned with raised body line. For 1986 and 1987, most engines are fuel-injected and a 4.3-liter V6 replaces the old 4.1-liter inline six 115 hp. Diesel engine 6.2 is available in 165 hp. A carbureted 5.7-liter 152 hp V8 engine (option LE9) was also available in the 49-state version, with fuel injection for California-emission vehicles only. In 1989, a TBI 454 C.I. G30 was introduced.

1990[edit]

Unlike the Dodge Ram Wagon and Ford Econoline vans which had a welded-on body extension, a 146-inch (3,708 mm) extended wheelbase [1] was introduced (about the same length as a Chevrolet/GMC crew cab truck). This was done to accommodate an extra bench seat, finally giving GM a 15-passenger van. GM was the last American automaker to produce such a van, with Dodge introducing the genre in 1971 and Ford joining them in 1978.

1992-1995[edit]

GMC Vandura Rally

In 1992, there was a facelift using the front grille from the former Chevrolet/GMC R/V-series pickups and SUVs (Blazer, Suburban, Crew Cab/Dually), previously phased out of production in 1991. G30 models getting the 4L80E transmission as standard. The 4L80E/4L60E automatic transmission was introduced, replacing the TH400/TH700R4. Brake-shift interlock is a standard, new-for-1993 feature, which requires the brake pedal to be depressed in order to shift from park. A 4-wheel antilock brake system is also a standard, new-for-1993 feature. For 1994, a driver's side airbag and center high mount stop lamp were made standard, as well as CFC-free refrigerant in models equipped with air-conditioning. For 1995, a new longer nose and four head light design was introduced (similar to the C/K of the same era), which became a very popular school bus conversion. The engine was also revised, with the 4.3L V6 now labeled the "Vortec." Engine sizes remained about the same (4.3L, 5.7L, 7.4L, and a 6.5L normally aspirated diesel). Several versions of the van were available for purchase depending on the buyer's needs. The base trim was essentially a stripped down model, with no frills, a very limited interior, and no rear seats. The "Sportvan" had all the features of a full conversion van, but lacked rear seats and a fiberglass roof extension. Finally, the "Conversion" models were sent from the factory bare-bones, to have the interior and exterior upgrades added by third-party companies such as "Mark III, Tiara, Coach, Starcraft, etc."

Concept vehicles[edit]

In 1966, General Motors developed the concept vehicle Electrovan, based on the GMC Handi-Van. The vehicle used a Union Carbide cryogenic fuel cell to power a 115-horsepower electric motor. It never went into production due to cost issues and safety concerns.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1990 Chevy Van/Vandura" (PDF). www.gmheritagecenter.com. GM Heritage Center. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Private Sector; An Electrovan, Not an Edsel". Nytimes.com. 2002-11-17. Retrieved 2011-08-06.

External links[edit]