Throughout the 1960s, each individual of the American Large A few automakers established a forward-command, mid-engined smaller van style to compete with the significant-marketing Volkswagen Transporter. Ford led off with the Econoline in the 1961 product yr, and sales went nicely. Chrysler fired back with the Dodge A100 for 1964 although The Normal moved in at the same time with the the Chevrolet ChevyVan/Sportvan plus the GMC Handi-Van/Handi-Bus. With their little footprints and huge load-carrying capability, these vans labored properly as RV conversions, and which is what I’ve observed in a northeastern Colorado self-assistance garden.

The Sportvan boasted home windows and passenger seating and was marketed as a sort of jouncy, industrial-quality spouse and children station wagon. The cargo variation bought ChevyVan badging this paralleled Dodge’s Sportsman/Tradesman van-labeling procedure. Prospective buyers could pick involving shorty vans with 90-inch wheelbases and the normal 108-inch sizing. Today’s Junkyard Gem is a ChevyVan 108.

Junkyard Gem: 1969 Chevrolet ChevyVan 108 Camper

The Ford, Dodge, and GM forward-command vans of this era shared particular properties, which include really durable development, strong front axles, and terrifying freeway manners. The driver sat atop the front axle, with appropriate leg pressed from a broiling warm metal box that contains the motor and experience inches from the windshield. Drum brakes all about ensured excellent pleasure when superior-pace stops became important. These vans were being terrific for precision maneuvering up to cramped loading docks and they could carry loads that would have flattened a VW bus, but extensive freeway drives appeared additional heroic ordeals than most American motorists preferred. By the 1971 model 12 months, all three manufacturers had developed new van layouts with engines in front of the driver and unbiased front suspensions.

Junkyard Gem: 1969 Chevrolet ChevyVan 108 Camper

This is the check out of the engine doghouse from the passenger seat. An individual yanked the engine just before I bought in this article, so we will by no means know if this van commenced existence with the foundation 140-horsepower 230ci straight-6, the 155-horsepower 250ci straight-six, or the 200-horsepower 307ci V8 (those people displacements total to 3.8, 4.1, and 5. liters, respectively).

Junkyard Gem: 1969 Chevrolet ChevyVan 108 Camper

We can see, by wanting at the change indicator, that this ChevyVan experienced the optional Turbo Hydra-Matic a few-pace automatic transmission. Cheapskates got the conventional 3-on-the-tree guide, while a four-on-the-tree could be had as an alternative (unfortunately, no Detroit vans at any time arrived with 5-on-the-tree manual transmissions).

Junkyard Gem: 1969 Chevrolet ChevyVan 108 Camper

The inside ought to have been good just before the severe Colorado local climate took its toll on the wooden and fabric. 

Junkyard Gem: 1969 Chevrolet ChevyVan 108 Camper

Again in the early 1970s, this rig would have been the envy of absolutely everyone at the campsite.

Junkyard Gem: 1969 Chevrolet ChevyVan 108 Camper

It seems to have put in many many years here in Colorado.

Junkyard Gem: 1969 Chevrolet ChevyVan 108 Camper

Seem, even an observation deck!

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