1977 GMC VanDura

Illustration for article titled 1977 GMC VanDura

Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. GM's Malaise Era big van didn't change much for decades, so it's easy to overlook.

Illustration for article titled 1977 GMC VanDura

This 3/4-ton hauler belongs to the Alameda Unified School District, and probably delivered the crates of pencils, gallon jugs of Elmer's Glue, and that terrible pulpy gray paper that I used in elementary school. Nobody notices a plain white cargo van; I've probably seen it hundreds of times and only now have I paid enough attention to photograph it.

Illustration for article titled 1977 GMC VanDura

It suffers from the usual Northern California top-down rust, which should eat through the metal in another decade or two.

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I regularly drove a number of late '70s/'80s Chevy and GMC work vans as part of my job (including a few cross-USA journeys), and I have no particular love for them. The quality was pretty poor - windows falling down into doors, malfunctioning sliding doors, poor finish, mechanical problems, and an overall air of cheapness and crudity. The Ford vans of the era were better finished and felt much more solid.