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1972 Chevrolet Custom Van: Vantastic


Perhaps one of the best parts of ’70s culture is how vans become rolling murals to one’s artistic side. This 1972 Chevy van was converted long ago into a custom people/gear hauler with room for 5 (or more) and a bed out back. Listed here on eBay with an opening bid of $500, it looks like an excellent candidate for a track rig or tailgating at Sebring. The seller is a bit vague on what repairs are needed, as he alludes to the inclusion of a second van in the deal to address rust issues, specifically where the cut-and-conversion looks to have taken place. While some clarity is definitely needed – along with better photos – he says the custom bed is well built, with storage lockers incorporated along the sides. And obviously, the graphics are downright groovy. How would you use this one-off Chevy conversion?


  1. Dave Wright

    I remember in the 80’s there was a crash in the recreational vehicle market. There were hundreds of brand new cut away van chassis auctioned to the highest bidder. They sold for pennies on the dollar…… Guys built some really creative machines with them. Many were duallys and would up with flatbeds, some never became much but there were a lot of nice ones too.

  2. JW454

    I saw one of these back in the 70s~80’s used as the chase truck for a funny car drag racing team. I suppose being a bit shorter than a traditional crew cab it was easier to maneuver on the race track.

    Interesting but I think you’d be in for quite a bit of bodywork on this one.

  3. Richard Prokopchuk

    I took the photos off the listing and enlarged them. It looks like rot has claimed the whole lower passenger side and some areas that may be seams from the conversion. There are bubbles breaking through in many places. I cannot be sure, but it even with the enlarged photos, it looks as if a large rectangular area was cut out of the area right behind the rear right wheel. Not sure about that though, the light and shadows are weird. The rear bumper area has had some modifications it appears. The chrome bumper is right up on the body with almost no gap between it and the truck. On the drivers side there is a large cutout of about 1 foot x 6 inches immediately behind the cab on the rear bed area. Several long cracks radiate down from that. Still on the drivers side, just down and to the rear of rear compartment window, it again looks like a large curved banana shape punctured the body on the body line from the cab back to the rear. It looks like it was patched with a bunch of body putty and rust markes are all around the shape of the putty patch. The rear wheel arch has sometning going on there too. This is what I can see clearly with only an enlargement of the photos up to 300% of original size. When I was stationed in Monterey, CA in 1974 there were tons of van conversions, some with flashy paint, some with major changes. We almost bought one, but alas I was too young and had not had the time to establish credit when overseas at my previous duty station in Italy.

  4. Mark E

    Definitely needs rust work/patching, particularly on the entire passenger side. Alas, it’s a moot point as it is just a titch under 1600 miles from me! -_-

  5. boxdin

    He states; “put the donor chassis under this van” or something like that. These are unibodies so there is no “chassis’.

    • JW454

      I believe this van has a full separate frame just like pick up trucks from this era.

      • boxdin

        I owned a van conversion co for 20 yrs. The only van w a full frame is Ford 1975 and up. I can’t think of any that used a subframe like a Camaro either. All are full unibodies.
        If you get any Chevy on an angle where the body twists a little the sliding door will not close. Chevy had the worst sliding door anyway. Chevy was the only one to not offer barn doors. Dodge & Ford offered both sliding & barn doors.
        Current Chevys & Fords have full frames, Ram is a unibody w a front subframe.

      • Dave Wright

        You are correct…….GM did go through a short period o f unibody construction but it was after these……..all the class,c motor homes and trade vehicles have to be built on a frame…….you can’t do stuff like this with a unibody.

        Like 1
  6. Rustowner

    I’m with boxdin here, Chevy vans were all unibody construction, up until the Express series in the later 90’s which has a full frame. This is an interesting rig, and actullay look kind of handy for light contracting, repairs and such. Too bad its pretty rough.

  7. scottymac

    Looks like the fabricator used the back half of a cab from a Dodge A100 pickup.

  8. Blindmarc

    Didn’t get a single bid.

  9. boxdin

    Dave Wright, if you look under that flatbed in your pic, you will see a white (maybe blue in this case) stamped steel floor exactly like a chevy van and under that floor will be stamped steel front to rear “frame rails”. They are considered frame rails but in fact are just stamped steel welded to the steel floor. Sorry but unibody again even though its a cab & chassis.

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