Chevrolet van

This page is about the 1964–1995 Chevrolet van and GMC Vandura. For the post-1995 successor, see Chevrolet Express.

The Chevrolet Van (also known as the Chevrolet/GMC G-series vans) is a range of vans that was manufactured by General Motors from the 1964 to 1995 model years. Introduced as the successor for the rear-engine Corvair Corvan/Greenbrier, the model line also replaced the panel van configuration of the Chevrolet Suburban. The model line was sold in passenger van and cargo van configurations; cutaway van chassis served as the basis for a wide variety of vehicles.

Produced across three generations, the model line was sold under a wide variety of model names under both the Chevrolet and GMC brands. Initially sold as a mid-engine vehicle (with the engine placed between the seats), the third generation was a front engine vehicle (placing the engine forward of the driver); the second and third-generation series shared powertrain commonality with the C/K pickup truck model line.

For the 1996 model year, GM retired the G-Series vans, replacing them with the GMT600-platform Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana (currently in production).

Chevrolet van cab and chassis built as an ambulances

First generation (1964–1966)

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 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

1964

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 for 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

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 1965 model year introduced 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

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)

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 that 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

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

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 (option # J70) on the G20 3/4 tons vans.

1969

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

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) V8 engine may have been available as an option for the first time in 1970. It is referenced in the owner's manual, but not mentioned in the dealer brochures. 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 detailed 12-page brochure, and unlike 1969, there is no mention of it in the owner's manual.

Third generation (1971–1996)

In April 1970[citation needed], GM introduced the third-generation G-series vans as 1971 model-year vehicles. In a complete redesign of the model line, the vans adopted a front-engine configuration (adding a hood to the body[1]). While using a unibody chassis, the third generation vans derived mechanical components from the second and third-generation C/K pickup trucks.

In production for 25 years, the third-generation G-series vans is one of the longest-produced vehicle platforms ever designed by General Motors.

Chassis

In line with the two previous generations, the third-generation G-series vans again used unibody construction, integrating the frame rails into the floorpan; the side panels were constructed of a single-piece stamping.[2] The model line was offered three wheelbase lengths: 110 inches, 125 inches, and 146 inches. From 1971 to 1989, the 146-inch wheelbase was used for cutaway chassis; for 1990, a single rear-wheel version was introduced for an extended-length van body.[3]

The front suspension underwent an extensive design change, deleting its leaf-sprung front axle; in line with C-series pickup trucks, the vans received independent front suspension with coil springs and control arms (allowing for much wider spacing of the front wheels[2]).[1] The rear axle suspension largely remained the same, retaining a leaf-sprung solid rear axle.

The four-wheel drum brakes of the previous generation were abandoned, as the third-generation G-series vans adopted front disc brakes.[4][5] The front disc/rear drum configuration remained unchanged throughout the entire production of the model line; heavier-duty vehicles received larger brakes.[3] For 1993, four-wheel anti-lock braking was added as a standard feature.

Powertrain

For its 1971 introduction, the G-series model line was offered with three different engines.[1] A 250 cubic-inch inline-6 was offered on all versions with two V8 engines. On the ​12-ton vehicles, a 307 cubic-inch V8 was optional, with a 350 cubic-inch V8 offered as an option on ​34-ton and 1-ton vans. Alongside a 3-speed manual transmission, the 2-speed Powerglide was offered alongside the 3-speed Turbo-Hydromatic automatic.[1] After 1972, the Powerglide automatic was dropped.

For 1974, the 307 was discontinued, replaced by a two-barrel 350 V8 in ​12-ton vans.[6] For 1976, the powertrain line was expanded, with the 292 inline-6 becoming the standard engine in ​34 -ton and 1-ton vans; a 305 V8 replaced the 350 two-barrel in ​12-ton vans and a 400 cubic-inch V8 became offered in all versions.[7]

As part of the 1978 model update, the powertrain line underwent further revision, with the 292 six dropped from G-series vans entirely; GM began the use of metric displacement figures.[8] In line with its use in the C/K trucks, the 6.6L V8 was dropped from the G-series for 1981.[9]

For 1982, a 6.2L V8 became the first diesel engine option offered in the (​34-ton and 1-ton) G-series. Shared with the C/K pickup trucks, an overdrive version of the Turbo-Hydramatic was introduced, adding a fourth gear.

In line with the C/K pickup trucks, a 4.3L V6 replaced the long-running 4.1L inline-6 as the standard engine for 1985. For 1987, the four-barrel carburetor for the V6 was replaced by throttle-body fuel injection (TBI), with the 5.0L and 5.7L V8s following suit. Alongside three-speed and four-speed manual transmissions, the G-series vans were offered with three-speed and four-speed automatic transmissions.[10]

For 1988, a fuel-injected 7.4L V8 was introduced as an option[11], becoming the first large-block V8 offered for the model line. For 1990, the manual transmissions were discontinued with the four-speed automatic becoming standard equipment on nearly all body configurations[3]; for 1992, the 4L60E and 4L80E 4-speed automatics (renamed from THM700R4 and THM400, respectively) replaced the three-speed entirely.

While the gasoline engine offerings would remain largely unchanged after the 1988 model year, the 6.2L diesel was enlarged to 6.5L for 1994, with only a naturally-aspirated version offered for the G-series vans.

For 1996, the 4.3L V6 and 5.7L V8 adopted the Vortec branding, following cylinder head upgrades.

Body

1980 Bedford CF (European GM counterpart to G-Series). Designed separately, both model lines are similar in appearance

In line with the C/K pickup trucks, the G-series vans were sold in ​12-ton, ​34-ton, and 1-ton series by both Chevrolet and GMC, with both divisions marketing passenger and cargo vans. As part of the shift to a front-engine design layout, the body received a conventional hood, allowing for access to the engine from outside of the vehicle.[1]

Prior to 1995, the G-series cargo van was sold with only a driver's seat (with an optional passenger-side seat).[12] Through its production, passenger vans were sold in multiple seating configurations (dependent on wheelbase), ranging from 5 to 15 passengers.[12] Alongside a windowless rear body, the cargo van was offered in several window configurations.[13]

1971-1977

1971 Chevrolet G20 (recreational vehicle)
1977 Chevrolet G20 (customized)

Similar in appearance to the European Bedford CF (introduced by GM subsidiary Vauxhall in 1969), the G-series vans differed from one another in divisional badging. Alongside fender badging, Chevrolet badging was centered within the grille while GMC lettering was placed on the hood above the grille. In contrast to the "Action-Line" pickup trucks, the vans are fitted with a horizontal-slat grille. Sharing mechanical commonality with the "Action-Line" pickup trucks, the steering column was sourced from the 1969 update of the C/K series; a large engine cover required a separate design for the dashboard.

For 1973, a minor revision changed the color of the Chevrolet "bowtie" emblem from blue to gold; the steering column and dashboard were updated (to more closely match the introduction of the "Rounded-Line" C/K pickup trucks).

For 1976, the rear bench seats were redesigned in passenger vans, allowing them to be removed without tools.[14]

Offered on a longer wheelbase, a cutaway-chassis conversion of the G-series was marketed through Chevrolet and GMC as a cargo truck, as the Hi-Cube Van and MagnaVan, respectively.

1978-1982

1978-1982 GMC VANdura (110-inch wheelbase)

For 1978, the exterior underwent a revision; along with minor changes to the fenders and introduction of larger bumpers, the grille was redesigned. More closely matching the "Rounded-Line" C/K pickup trucks in its design, the front fascia was restyled to integrate the headlamps and turn signals into one housing; lower-trim vehicles were offered with round headlamps with square headlamps fitted to higher-trim models. The dashboard was redesigned with recessed gauge pods and an angled center console, a design that would remain in use through 1996.

For 1980, the grille saw a minor revision, adopting larger sideview mirrors for the doors. A locking steering column (with column mounted ignition switch) was introduced for 1982, with the model line relocating the dimmer switch and wiper controls on the turn signal control stalk. As a one-year-only option, GM offered window glass on the left-side rear door (in place of both rear doors or neither).

1983-1991

1985-1991 GMC Rally (in police use)

For 1983, the G-series van underwent a set of minor exterior and interior revisions.[citation needed] Alongside the C/K pickup trucks, the grille was redesigned, with Chevrolet receiving a horizontally-split grille and GMC receiving a 6-segment grille; rectangular headlamps were standard on all vehicles. The vans received updated fender badging, with each division receiving its own design (distinct from the C/K series).

While retaining the dashboard from 1978, a tilt steering column was introduced (sourcing the steering wheel from Chevrolet mid-size sedans), moving the manual transmission shifter from the steering column to the floor.

For 1984, the model line introduced a second side-door configuration, with swing-out side doors (in a ​13/​23-split) joining the sliding side door as a no-cost option.[3] For 1985, the exterior underwent an update with larger taillamps and side market lenses; the grille design was derived from the C/K pickup trucks.

For 1990, GM introduced an extended-wheelbase version of the G-series van (on 1-ton series vans).[3] Sharing its 146-inch wheelbase with the HiCube Van/MagnaVan, the extended-wheelbase van was the first version of the model line offered with a fourth rear bench seat, expanding capacity to 15 passengers. While trailing Ford and Dodge by over a decade, the design was the first produced on an extended-wheelbase design. In a minor interior revision, GMC vans adopted the four-spoke steering wheel from the R/V trucks.

1992-1996

1992-1996 GMC Vandura 2500/3500 conversion van

After seven years largely unchanged, the G-series underwent a minor exterior update for the 1992 model year, bringing the vans in line with the R/V pickup trucks (the final Rounded-Line trucks). In line with previous versions, two headlights remained standard (on cargo vans and lower-trim passenger vans) with four headlights as an option (on higher-trim passenger vans).

Several safety features were phased in during the production of the final model update. For 1993, a brake-shift interlock (requiring the brake pedal to be depressed to shift from park) was introduced. For 1994, a driver's-side airbag was added to all vehicles (under 8,500 lbs GVWR), the new steering wheel coincided with the introduction of an updated instrument panel.[13] In another change, the ​12-ton passenger van was withdrawn[13] (largely overlapping the Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari van in size).

For 1993, to bridge the gap between the G-series and the P-series stripped chassis, a heavier-duty version of the G30 cutaway chassis was introduced. Distinguished by its forward-tilting nose, the variant was effectively a hybrid of the two model lines, mating the P30 chassis with the G30/3500 bodywork; the model line was developed primarily for recreational vehicle (RV) and bus production.

For the 1996 model year, the third-generation G-series van was renamed the "G-Classic" and was pared down to versions with a GVWR above 8,500 pounds; sales were ended in the state of California.[15] Produced concurrently alongside its GMT600 successor, the final G-series van was produced in June 1996.[15]

Trim

As with previous generations, the model line was again named the G-series van (distinct from the intermediate GM G platform). Along with the previous ​12-ton and ​34-ton nominal payload series, a 1-ton series was offered for the first time.

Chevrolet

1983 Chevrolet Beauville

Offered in 10, 20, and 30 series, the Chevrolet Chevy Van cargo van and Chevrolet Sportvan passenger van were joined by multiple nameplates through the production of the third generation. Revived from the Tri-Five station wagon series, the 1971-1996 Beauville was the highest-trim Chevrolet passenger van, offering upgraded seats and interior trim.[14][16] From 1977 to 1981, the Nomad was produced as a hybrid cargo/passenger van[17][18]; a five-passenger vehicle, the Nomad combined the interior trim of the Beauville with a large carpeted cargo area. The Bonaventure was produced during the 1980s as an intermediate trim level between the Sportvan and the Beauville.[19]

As conversion vans were outfitted by second parties, such vehicles were badged with the Chevy Van (and GMC Vandura) cargo van nameplates.

GMC

1995 GMC Vandura 3500HD (derelict), showing tilting hood section

Offered in 1500, 2500, and 3500 series, the GMC Vandura cargo van (stylized as VANdura from 1977 to 1982) and GMC Rally passenger van were the GMC counterparts of the Chevrolet Chevy Van and Sport Van; the GMC Gypsy was a five-passenger counterpart of the Chevrolet Nomad van. In line with the GMC Sierra pickup truck, the Rally passenger van was produced across multiple trim levels, with the Rally Custom and Rally STX matching the Bonaventure and Beauville, respectively.

Derived from the cargo van, cutaway van chassis were badged as Vanduras (and Chevy Vans); all examples were 1-ton vehicles (G3500/G30).

Concept vehicles

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.[20]

Appearances in media

1983 GMC Vandura customized to match the appearance of the A-Team van.

A customized 1983 GMC Vandura driven by Mr. T was used by the 1980s television series The A-Team.


References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1971_Trucks-Vans/1971_Chevrolet_Recreation_Vehicles_Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  2. ^ a b "1973 Chevrolet Chevy Van Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  3. ^ a b c d e "1990 Chevy Van/Vandura" (PDF). www.gmheritagecenter.com. GM Heritage Center. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1971_Trucks-Vans/1971_Chevrolet_Recreation_Vehicles_Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  5. ^ "1970 Chevy Van and Sportvan Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
  6. ^ "1974 Chevrolet Van Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  7. ^ "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1976_Trucks_and_Vans/1976_Chevrolet_Van_Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  8. ^ "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1979_Trucks_and_Vans/1979_Chevrolet_Vans_Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  9. ^ "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1981_Trucks_and_Vans/album". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  10. ^ "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1987_Trucks_and_Vans/1987_Chevrolet_RPO_List". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  11. ^ "1988 GMC Trucks Folder". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  12. ^ a b "1995 Chevrolet G-van | Model Selection Summary" (PDF). GM Heritage Center | Vehicle Information Kits (1995 Chevrolet G-Van).
  13. ^ a b c "1994 Chevrolet Van Ordering Information" (PDF). GM Heritage Center | Vehicle Information Kits (1994 Chevrolet G-van).
  14. ^ a b "1976 Chevrolet Sportvan Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  15. ^ a b "Chevy Trucks Specifications | 1996 Chevrolet G-van" (PDF). GM Heritage Center | Vehicle Information Kits | 1996 Chevrolet G-van. p. 79.
  16. ^ "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1979_Trucks_and_Vans/1979_Chevrolet_Vans_Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  17. ^ "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1979_Trucks_and_Vans/1979_Chevrolet_Vans_Brochure". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  18. ^ "Directory Index: GM Trucks and Vans/1981_Trucks_and_Vans/album". www.oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  19. ^ "1985 Chevrolet Van/GMC Vandura Model Selector" (PDF). GM Heritage Center | GM Heritage Archive | Vehicle Information Kits.
  20. ^ "Private Sector; An Electrovan, Not an Edsel". Nytimes.com. 2002-11-17. Retrieved 2011-08-06.

External links