- This page talks about the 1964-1996 Chevrolet Van and GMC Vandura. For the long-wheelbase versions (Beauville/Rally), see Chevrolet Beauville. For the post-1996 successor, see Chevrolet Express.
The Chevrolet Van was one of several vans made by General Motors for North America. Its strongest competition was 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.
The first General Motors van was the Chevrolet Corvair
-based Greenbrier van, introduced for 1961, which used a flat-6 opposed rear engine
with air cooling
, inspired by the Volkswagen bus
The ChevyVan (1964-1970) was, like the competing Ford Econoline and Dodge A100, a compact van based on a modified passenger car platform. The engine was placed between and behind the front seats with a flat nose. Both engines and brakes were sourced from the Chevy II, a more conventional compact car than Corvair. This model was also sold as the GMC Handi-Van.
The second generation ChevyVan/Vandura introduced for 1971 followed the engine-forward design of the 1968 Ford Econoline. The engine was placed forward of the driver with a short nose and hood. Suspension parts and engines came from the Chevrolet/GMC C-series pickup trucks.
The third generation Express and Savana of the 1990s adopted aerodynamic styling, without exposed hinges on the rear doors. Taillights were placed high on the rear pillars. The extended 15 passenger version rode on a longer wheelbase, rather than just an extended body, and a left-side door was made available, for the declining passenger van market.
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 , while the long wheelbase was (the previous generation had either a or wheelbase).
The front sheetmetal was updated. Changes include: new plastic grilles, 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 layout.
All 1980 vans were given new rear view mirrors on the drivers and passenger doors.
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 transmission on the column, and round headlamps. A 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission was also introduced.
Stacked headlights introduced, alongside with a flatter front grille similar to the one used on Chevrolet C/K trucks
, replacing the previous year's 1978 vintage eggcrate design. The shifter for all manual transmissions were on the floor. 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. Four speed manuals were available as well as the older three speed. New steering wheels were introduced as well to be similar to the cars for that time.
New swing out side doors were introduced to go with the standard sliding side door. The doors were a 60/40 split.
The taillight and side marker lenses were redesigned. New Grille Treatment similar to the pickups.
Most engines are fuel injected and a 4.3 litre 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.
Unlike the Dodge Ram
and Ford Econoline
vans which had a welded-on body extension, a wheelbase was introduced (about the same length as a Chevrolet/GMC crewcab truck).
Facelift using the front grille from the former Chevrolet/GMC R/V series pickups and SUVs
, Crew Cab/Dually), previously phased out of production in 1991.
4L60E automatic transmission
introduced, replacing the 4L60/700R4.
A driver's side airbag was made standard.
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 thrills, 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". These 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."