Chevrolet/GMC Van
3rd-gen Chevrolet Sport Van
Manufacturer General Motors
Production 1964–1995
Predecessor Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier
Successor Chevrolet Express / GMC Savana
Body style(s) van
This page talks about the 1964–1995 Chevrolet Van and GMC Vandura. For the post-1996 successor, see Chevrolet Express.

The Chevrolet and GMC G-Series vans were made by General Motors for North America. They are in the same vehicle class as the Ford Econoline van and the 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.

First generation (1964–1966)[edit | edit source]

First Generation
1st version of Chevy Van with flat windshield
Manufacturer General Motors
Also called Chevrolet Sportvan
GMC Handi-Van
Production 1964–1966
Class Compact van
Body style(s) 3+1 door van
Layout FMR layout
Engine(s) 153 cu in (2.5 L) I4
194 cu in (3.2 L) I6
230 cu in (3.8 L) I4
Wheelbase SWB: 2,286 mm (90.0 in)
LWB: 2,743 mm (108.0 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.

The 1st generation ChevyVan refers to the first Chevrolet G-Series vans G-10½ 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 was placed in a "doghouse" between and behind the front seats. Engines and brakes were sourced from the Chevy II, a more conventional compact car than Chevrolet Corvair. The forward engine design allowed a flat rear floor with low deck heights in the rear of the van for loading/unloading cargo. 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 | edit source]

1964[edit | edit source]

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 engines 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 Saginaw 3-speed manual transmission was standard with column shift. A 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission was available as an option.

1965[edit | edit source]

For 1965, the van remained largely unchanged. The grille 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 | edit source]

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 passenger side to driver 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 | edit source]

Second generation
1968 Chevrolet Sportvan
Manufacturer General Motors
Production 1967–1970
Class Van
Body style(s) 3+1 door van
Layout FMR layout
Engine(s) 230 cu in (3.8 L) I6
250 cu in (4.1 L) I6
283 cu in (4.6 L) V8
307 cu in (5 L) V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) V8
Wheelbase SWB: 2,286 mm (90.0 in)
LWB: 2,743 mm (108.0 in)

In 1967, ChevyVan got a facelift, including moving the headlights down to a new grille, different tail lights and a rounded glass windshield. The forward control cab design was retained, but the doghouse was widened and slightly relocated in order to fit an optional Chevrolet Small-Block engine. Engine cooling was improved with the addition of a larger cross-flow type radiator and a redesigned front floor which allowed more fresh air to the radiator. The 2nd gen vans were available in either the 90" or the longer 108" wheelbase. Power steering and "conventional" air conditioning (with dash vents & controls) were never available on the 2nd generation vans.

1967[edit | edit source]

1967 GMC Handi-Van

1967 begins the "Second Generation", ChevyVan with a whole new look to the van and offering long 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. The forward control cab design was retained, but the doghouse was widened and slightly relocated in order to fit the optional V8 Chevrolet Small-Block engine. Engine cooling was improved with the addition of a larger cross-flow type radiator and a redesigned front floor allowing even 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). 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. 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 | edit source]

This was the first year that Chevy Vans had side-marker lights. 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 (175HP) to the larger, more powerful 307 2-barrel V8 (200HP @ 4600 RPM).

A column shift 4-speed transmission (Warner T10) was now available as an option.

1969[edit | edit source]

For the 1969 model year, the van remained relatively static.

The 3 speed TH-350 Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission and power brakes were now available. "Body-integrated" air conditioning was available on 1969 Sportvan models. This was not your typical AC setup with dash vents and controls, but rather a roof-mounted unit with an single blower duct that had adjustable louvers to direct air flow. Up front, the Chevrolet bowtie emblem changed in color from red to blue this year.

1970[edit | edit source]

1970 was the last year of the square styling, front drum brakes, and I-beam front axle. The 250 CID 6 cylinder (155Hp @ 4200 RPM) was now standard equipment. In addition to the 307-2 barrel V-8, a 350-4 barrel (255HP @ 4600 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.

Third generation (1971–1995)[edit | edit source]

Third generation
Chevrolet Beauville
Manufacturer General Motors
Also called Chevrolet Beauville
Chevrolet G-Series
Chevrolet Sport Van
GMC Rally Wagon
GMC Vandura
Production 1971–1996
Assembly Lordstown, Ohio, United States
Flint, Michigan, United States
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Class Full-size van
Body style(s) 3-door van
3+1 door wagon
4-door van
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Engine(s) 4.1L 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)
Transmission(s) 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
4-speed manual
Wheelbase 110 in (2794 mm) (SWB)
125 in (3175 mm) (LWB)
Length 178.2 in (4526 mm) (SWB)
202.2 in (5136 mm) (LWB)
Width 79.5 in (2019 mm)
Height 79.4 in (2017 mm) (SWB)
79.2 in (2012 mm) (LWB)
79.8 in (2027 mm) (SWB)
81.9 in (2080 mm) (LWB)
Related Chevrolet/GMC C/K

GMC Vandura Campwagon

In 1971, ChevyVan received a major redesign, moving the engine forward of the driver with a short nose and hood. The van was constructed of a unibody style frame and 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/GMC C-series pickup trucks. GMC now marketed their vans under the VanDura name.These models between 78 and 96 were popular with Van conversions such as Curtis and starcraft.

For 1996, the Chevrolet and GMC vans were replaced with the next-generation Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. They adopted aerodynamic styling, and the extended 15 passenger version rode on a longer wheelbase, rather than just an extended body. 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 declining passenger van market.

Engines[edit | edit source]

The G20 passenger van came standard with a 4.3 liter V6 (165 hp (123 kW) and 235 lb·ft (319 N·m) @2400 rpm). The G20 could also have an L05 engine, which was a 5.7 liter V8 (210 hp (157 kW) @ 3600 RPM, 300 lb·ft (407 N·m) @ 2400 RPM). A 7.4 liter V8 (230 hp (172 kW), 385 lb·ft (522 N·m) @2400 rpm) was exclusive to the G30. The transmission choices were a four speed automatic or a five speed manual. Chevrolet also offered, in 1982–1995, a pair of 6.2 liter and later the 6.5 liter naturally aspirated diesels.

Updates[edit | edit source]

1971[edit | edit source]

All new bodystyle was introduced this year, which continued until the end of the 1995 model year.

The Vandura and sister ChevyVan replaced the earlier flat nosed model. The GMCs were introduced in April 1970; interior components such as the steering column and steering wheel were sourced from the Chevrolet/GMC 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 on Chevrolet models.

1978[edit | edit source]

1978–1982 Chevrolet Van

The front sheetmetal was updated. Changes include: a new, built-out plastic grilles with integrated blinkers, different fenders, round headlamps on lower-end models and square headlamps on higher-end models, new steering wheel similar to the 1973-87 pickups, and new dash. Front and rear bumpers were enlarged.

1980[edit | edit source]

All 1980 vans were given new rear view mirrors on the drivers and passenger doors.

1982[edit | edit source]

For 1982, the locking steering column was introduced, along with a new column mounted ignition switch. It was the last model year for a 3-speed Manual on the column, and round headlamps.

1983[edit | edit source]

Stacked 4-headlights introduced, alongside with a revised grille. Base models continued with 2 headlights. All vans 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[edit | edit source]

New swing-out side doors were introduced to go with the standard sliding side door. The doors were a 60/40 split.

1985[edit | edit source]

The taillight and side marker lenses were redesigned. New Grille Treatment similar to the pickups.

1986/87[edit | edit source]

Most engines are fuel injected and a 4.3 liter V6 replaces the old 4.1 liter inline six. Diesel engine is available. A carbureted 5.0 liter 180 hp V8 engine (option LE9) was also available in the 49-state version, with fuel injection for California-emission vehicles.

1990[edit | edit source]

Unlike the Dodge Ram and Ford Econoline vans which had a welded-on body extension, a 155-inch (3,937 mm) wheelbase was introduced (about the same length as a Chevrolet/GMC crewcab truck).

1992[edit | edit source]

GMC Vandura Rally

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.

1993[edit | edit source]

4L80E automatic transmission introduced, replacing the 4L60/700R4.

1994[edit | edit source]

A driver's side airbag and center high mount stop lamp were made standard.

1995[edit | edit source]

A new longer nose and four head light design was introduced, a very popular school bus conversion. The engine also received a facelift, with the 4.3L V6 now labeled the "Vortec". Engine sizes remained fairly the same e.g. 4.3L, 5.7L, 7.4L engines. Several versions of the van were available for purchase depending on the buyer's needs. Base model was basically a stripped down model - no frills, very limited interior and no rear seats. The "Sportvan" had all the features of a full conversion van, but no rear seats and no fiberglass roof extension. Then 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."

1996[edit | edit source]

This year was essentially carryover from 1995. The 1996 G20 conversion van was an echo of the first generation g20. The "explorer" trim is considered by van enthusiasts as the new SHAG WAGON, converting to a spacious and practical family van.

Concept Vehicles[edit | edit source]

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.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

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