Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Chevy Van is mysteriously badged as a GMC Handi-Van. That’s okay because it rocks Scooby and the gang on the side and they’ll get to the bottom of this. We’ll still have to see if its price is top form.
To boldly go where no one has gone before… Those were the immortal words of Star Trek, The Next Generation, and yesterday’s 1995 Olds Silhouette shuttle craft exemplified that mantra to a T. That’s because with a busted transmission and a body style long having fallen from favor, it would prove a bold move to take on. Of course, at $400, and with an 83% Nice Price win, who cares what anyone else thinks? Eff them.
You know, the U-platform DustBuster vans weren’t GM’s first attempt at a modest sized hauler. Not by a long shot. They first of GM’s U.S. minivans was the Corvair Greenbrier, a fabulous rear-engined cab-over with a name and looks that were so cute they could potentially have melted even Ralph Nader’s gelid heart.
We all know that the Corvair platform failed to diversify itself across GM’s other brands, and hence was unable to realize the cost efficiencies of the more traditional models that could. Hence, by the end of the sixties the Corvair was kaput. The Greenbrier didn’t even make it past the first generation, leaving a minivan-sized hole in Chevy—and relatedly GMC’s—lineup that needed to be filled. The Chevy/GMC Van was born to fill that hole.
Featuring driveline components shared with the Chevy II, the new Vans continued the cab-over tradition, but now with the engine in a doghouse between the seats. In what might be seen as a step backwards, the Chevy Vans rocked a solid axles on leaf springs, while the Greenbrier was a fully independent setup.
Here we have what is described as a 1968 Chevy Van, however it’s a bit of an enigma. That doesn’t make it any less interesting, it’s just weird. First off, it’s inexplicably badged as a GMC Handi-Van. That’s not a big deal, the Chevy and GMC offerings were pretty much identical under the nameplates. The other major mystery here is that this isn’t a ’68 Van. This is a ’66 or earlier owing to its headlight height, smaller, flatter windshield, tinier tail lights, and lack of side-markers. Hey, whatever.
What really makes this green machine interesting however, is the driveline. In place of the expected six (the V8 didn’t make an appearance in the Vans until ’67) you’ll find a four. That’s right, four cylinders. Now, before you say boo and throw things at me, hear that those four pots belong to a Cummins 4BT turbo diesel. That’s 3.9-litres and 745-pounds of clackity-clack just next to your right hip.
This one looks to be an eight-valve unit which should mean it’s good for a little over 100-horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Behind that sits a three-speed with overdrive and that’s actuated by a column shifter just as we all know it should be.
The rest of the truck is described as rough around the edges, but there doesn’t seem to be any places where you can see through the bodywork where your not supposed to. The truck was once white, but now is hippie-ass green and rocking the aforementioned Scooby Doo cartoon character on its flanks. Oh and before you ask, Velma over Daphne. It might need a new master, but then engine braking should be the diesel’s forte.
The interior is rough-hewn and sports what’s either Dynamat or just aluminum foil over the doghouse and floor. Seating is by way of more modern (like ‘70s) high-backed buckets, and the driving position is bus-like.
This looks to be a wonderful if incomprehensible beast, and one that could be bought either as a roller or as it sits, as a runner. I vote for the latter, and it’s now your turn to vote on whether spending $7,000 is a bright idea to do so.
What’s your take on this diesel mini-panel van and that seven-grand price? Do you think that’s a deal? Or, do you think the seller would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling Jalops?
Reading PA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.
H/T to Wayne Moyer over on Hooniverse for the hookup!
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