Step Van That Time Forgot: 1973 Chevy P30

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Step vans and other large utilitarian vehicles of the past have become very popular in recent years being repurposed for all sorts of things. This 1973 Chevrolet Step Van is in fantastic shape, and has reasonably low miles. The real kicker is that this Step Van is ready for duty, and is priced at just $4,000! Find it here on Auto Archeologist, out of Middletown, Connecticut.  

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Powered by a 350 V8 and a 3 speed automatic, this truck has covered just 89,000 miles. Chevrolet 350’s are abundant, and affordable to maintain making for a very long life for this Step van. The engine and bay look nice, although a solid wipe down would make it perfect.

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It is hard to believe the condition of this Chevrolet, as even the interior is fantastic. The only real evidence of use is the worn paint on the floor by the gas and brake pedals. The needle on the speedometer isn’t even faded! The exterior paint looks excellent as well, but there are a few blemishes. There appears to be a few scrapes down the passenger side, and it would appear that someone decided to paint the front bumper silver, as there is a minor amount of silver over spray on the front of this Chevy. But the great news is, there is absolutely no rot in this Chevy, and there also looks to be no major damage of any kind.

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The storage area of this Step Van is clean and can easily be modified for your own personal needs. Many of these vintage trucks and vans have been converted into food trucks, ice cream trucks, newsstands, motorcycle haulers, you name it. We rather like and appreciate its originality, but it would certainly make a great conversion for someone as well, and the price is a bargain for a work van such as this. So what would you do with this 1973 Chevrolet P30 Step Van? What do you think should be its fate?

Have something to sell? List it here on Barn Finds!

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Comments

  1. Dusty Stalz

    Oh I want this. My old man had one for his RV repair business in the late 80s but his was the 6 w 3sp manual. I’ll never forget as a kid hangin onto the pole standing in the step well with the sliding passenger door open and drivin down the road in the summer. Different times then. I’ll also never forget him usin it through our cold Canadian winters. That thing never warmed up!

    • Tony masaro

      I have 1971 p 30 step van 6 cyl maual trans

      1
  2. KeithK

    In my area there are strict signage ordinances making it nearly impossible to advertise ones business from the street. They even restrict the percentage of glass you can covers with signage on your store front. One thing they can’t restrict ? A cool old panel van painted as a rolling billboard sitting In your parking lot. They tried to restrict and failed. Personally I see a rolling garage to keep all my stuff and haul my ass to work.

  3. Rock On Member

    An old fellow around here has one the same color that he uses for his mobile knife sharpening business. Probably owned it from new. Never winter driven. Comes around every month ringing the bell. Rarely see any customers. Wonder if the kids nowadays know what the knife sharpening bell means?

    • Bobsmyuncle

      I always wonder if he even breaks even.

      Many times I’ve had the urge to run out but by the time I would have unearthed all the pieces I’d want done, the bells would be fading in the distance.

      Definitely a memory of the analog days.

      1
    • Chebby

      When I was growing up the ice cream man and the knife sharpening man had the same bell. I cannot express how crushingly disappointing it was to be jumping up and down on the curb in anticipation, then see that battered red step van turn the corner instead…..

      • Bobsmyuncle

        So true LOL!

  4. Mark S Member

    I if it were mine I’d put a 700r trans in it and 3.25 gears in the rear end. I’d then paint it RV cream with a splash of RV decals down each side. I’d then covert the inside into a fully camperized interior. Complete with Windows,travel seating, kitchen, fold down beds, and basic bath room. What a fun little weekender it would make. Finally I’d put a hitch on the back for toys to be brought along in a utility trailer.

  5. Chebby

    The silver spray bandit apparently got the floors and even the pedals too.

    And come on dude, you are a DEALER, it’s a sunny day and you couldn’t be bothered to open the garage door, let alone roll the van outside for pictures?

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Good eye on the overspray. Kinda lame.

      In defense of the photos, bright sunlight is the worst lighting for capturing the details of a car. Overcast is a photographer’s dream condition.

    • AutoArcheologist

      I hafta say I’m not a fan of the word DEALER, as A) by CT law, I am not a dealer. B) I’m more of an automotive match maker. I am not part of the financial transaction between seller and buyer. I do this part time, for the love of old cars.

      In this particular case, there were several family members milling around (this is from an estate sale, the original owner died just weeks earlier) and I was on a distinct time limit to get in and get the trucks photographed. I was unfortunately not in a position to fire them all up and pull them all out, so come on dude, find out the whole story before barking suggestions.

      The old fellow who owned this truck (he was 94 when he died) did all of his own work and his trucks were in overall great shape but there were some things, like the silver sprayed front bumper, that are definitely function over form.

      Talk soon,

      1
      • Bobsmyuncle

        Thanks for chiming in!

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    This would be a great unit just to haul stuff around with. That looks like a good stout GM Corporation rear axle which isn’t likely to fail anytime soon, and it’s also got a THM 400 transmission that will give a lot of good service. I’d give the motor a good sharp tuneup which would include tuning up the carburetor and modifying the advance curve to make it more responsive while improving the fuel economy. Lots of parts available for the driveline so you could drive it for many years to come…

    • Howard A Member

      Hi geomechs, my ex-BIL had a van like this full of tools. He used it to haul his ’65 Chevy to Hales Corners Speedway. I’m pretty sure it was an in line 6 cylinder. One night, the Chevy was running hot, so we took the radiator out of the truck, and put it in the Chevy, and reversed the process to get home. I remember it was like riding in a giant coffee can.

  7. RoughDiamond

    Looks like a great find and price. Dealer appears to do consignment sales and check out some others like the ’56 F250 stake bed, ’60 Impala with 348 and others on their website under “Discoveries”. High prices, but neat to see.

    • JW454

      RD,

      I saw that ’60 Impala too. If that is a market price for them, I’ll have to take it off my bucket list. I’ve always liked the ’59~’60 Impalas. I had a red ’60 2 DR. HT. I drove to high school in the early seventies. I sold it to get a 1967 GTO. Wish I had it back.

    • AutoArcheologist

      Hi guys,
      I’m glad you are scoping out the site. Thank you. This is totally part time and done because I hate to see old cars rotting away. People have started to know me and are calling with situations like this estate sale.
      The prices listed are often not my suggestions but what the owner feels they are worth, despite my suggestions of what I would call a fair market value. Case in point is the Esprit.. He is an overseas seller and I tried to tell him his price is NOT a US price. It is a beautiful car, just not worth close to $70K.

      If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      Thanx!

  8. 77Vette

    My Dad had one close to this one. His had the granny 4 speed, dual wheels and was longer. He had an aluminum body Chevy step van with a six and a manual transmission. He had a potato chip company, also had 3 fords. The are what I learned to drive on but never drove an automatic.

  9. Prowler

    When I was in high school I worked at the local mom and pop carpet store after school and Saturdays.
    They had a van like this that I drove to make deliveries
    I remember sitting up high on that little seat…the long stick. Shift coming out of the floor that always seemed to have a mind of its own.
    But the coolest part was rolling down the highway…no seat belt and that big door wide open
    Probably the worst handling vehicle ever and the brakes…thank God I already had size 12 shoes…I needed every bit to step on that pedal
    Funny side note the owner of the store put a few magnetic letters on the side of the truck too see if we were revving it up and dropping the clutch
    Yah right

  10. Fred W.

    59 years on this earth and this thread is the first time I’ve ever heard of a mobile “knife sharpening man”! But this is why I come to BF, you never know what you will see or learn. Auto Archaeologist, best of luck with the sale.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      LOL, well I’m sure being in a large city helps, and I assume this practise was carried over from Europe, our guys were always Italian.

      One guy was so old school he strolled the streets pulling a wheeled grinder that was manually operated with a foot pedal!

      • AutoArcheologist

        I grew up in a small town in New England/CT and I can distinctly recall the leatherman and the knife sharpener coming around my G’grampa’s home.
        Don’t know why they called him the leatherman, as he was more a scrap guy with with a beat up trailer that would drag behind what must have been a late 30’s pick up and he’d stop by at least once a week, maybe more and grab whatever scraps of whatever, was almost like weekly trash pick up. Food was composted, the leatherman would take what he took and the rest would go to the dump…
        The knife sharpener was definitely Italian and my whole family was too, but I can recall him walking up to the house and using the large leather straps that my uncles used at the barber shop to sharpen the knives.
        Thank you Fred, The beauty of Barn Finds.. I have already rec’d several offers. Due to being an estate, however, all offers have to go through the attorney and remaining family.. uuggh.LOL

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Fred, HA!!! I know, I thought the same thing, and a bell to boot. What? You hear the bell, and go “Whoa, knife sharpening truck, gotta go”. :)

  11. Ck

    Convert the old girl into a food truck ,move to Key West and sell hot dogs and conch fritters.

  12. GRAY WOLF

    Seems a lot of the old mobile tool trucks used to end up as a knife sharping business and Plummer trucks. Great vehicle for selling at swap meets,don’t have to unload when you get home!

  13. Aaron Vincent

    I’ve driven A Step Van for at least 30 years of my life. I’ve worked for Hostess cake and Entenmann’s Bakery all of them use step vans. Boy they are hot to ride in, you basicallys sit on the motor

  14. Rock On Member

    Yeah. The knife sharpening man has a big bell sort of like on a ship, mounted outside the truck. He rings it with a rope hanging by the drivers window. He rings it at one minute intervals. Very distinctive sound. You will not mistake him for the ice cream truck that uses an electronic loudspeaker. Saw him in my neighborhood around two weeks ago. He has a very large route. Don’t know if he breaks even. Hardly ever see him with any customers. Gas in the Toronto area is around $4.00 per U.S. gallon.

  15. John Hess Member

    We used to have a aluminum step van, ony thing that wore out was the guides on the bottom of the slider doors.

  16. Skip

    First one of these I ever saw was bought by the Midland Fire Dept. in the early ’70s. It replaced the dept’s old 1956 GMC 3/4-ton panel truck which had served as the dept.’s rescue vehicle for many years. I liked the fact that the stepvan had so much room in it.

  17. AutoArcheologist

    I just want to say Thank You! to Jessie and the whole Barn Finds behind the scenes gang.. and Thank You to the Barn Finds community. This one post on this step van has garnered so much interest in my site, I have been corresponding with some awesome folks who feel the same way I do.. Keep em on the road.. Save the relics! LOL

    It appears as though this great van will be sold. I have an accepted offer on the table and several others in the waiting if for some reason it doesn’t happen.

    I feel Barn Finds really exhibits the true guts notion of the backyard enthusiast and really wish I had more time to spend reading the comments and time to comment myself, throughout the site.

    Thank you all for the kind words and great comments!

    Here’s a shot of one my recent saves, that my wife has taken on as her own and named her Brigitta. 85 280 SL, full Euro-spec (the headlights were swapped for US tho..) Message me if you’d like to hear the whole story.

    Talk soon,
    Dave.

    • S.P.Stevens

      I would love to hear the story. I like your philosophy. I too have a lot of feeling for the old rides. I’ve had a little over 5,000 vehicles pass through my hands, some nearly perfect, others just a shell. When I acquire a vehicle, I find myself immersed in it for a couple of days at least. Fixing, shining, lubing, and, my wife tells me, talking to them. It is a fun life. “Brigitta” sure is a beauty. Those lines…she would have me writing bad checks and sleeping at her feet in no time.

      • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

        Hi S.P.
        I’ll try to keep the story short… but that can be difficult for me..LOL
        Brigitta originally came to the US via Florida, direct from Germany, in 2002.
        It passed through two different owners here in the US before coming to us.
        I was selling a Jaguar XJS for the owner and was also selling the 280 SL.
        The SL hadn’t been run in about 4 years. She was having a starting issue.
        She’d fire up and run, he’d drive her to the store (or wherever) and when he got back in,the car wouldn’t start. Tow her home and sure enough, when off the flat-bed in the driveway, she’d fire up again and maybe ten minutes later wouldn’t. Frustrated, the owner put her aside in the garage. Needing the garage space, about two years later, the car fired up and he moved her outside under a pine tree and golden rod bush.
        Upon selling the Jag for the fellow, he said, well, “I owe you about $800 for your fee for selling the Jag. Would you take the 280 SL instead of your fee?” (BTW, I was selling the SL for $1500 obo)… I phoned up my wife and she said “Of course, take the car!”.
        I put a battery in her, turned the key and heard the fuel pump hum.. Turned the key further and she fired right up. Knowing the history, I didn’t turn the car off. With my wife behind me, we drove the car to my garage. Luckily only the next town over.
        The last mile or so, the car started pulling hard (frozen caliper) but we made it back w no other issues. Pulled her in the garage.. turned her off.. and she wouldn’t start.. however, I didn’t hear the hum of the fuel pump. The paint was pretty bad too from sitting under the tree and bush (see photo as I found her).
        Over the winter, I pulled the fuel pump relay, which was surrounded by a very nice mouse condo, and took it apart and cleaned every contact. I color sanded/wet sanded and then polished the paint and did a full brake job including new rotors and calipers.
        With the relay all clean, she fired right up and hasn’t let us down since. The car is registered in my wife’s name and it is her car and is known as Brigitta.
        The 2.8L twin cam six likes to rev and she’ll chirp second gear under hard acceleration. With Euro-spec 6, she has no cats, just a muffler out back and dual exhaust coming off the motor. Runs close to 185 HP, more then the US version V8s (380 and 450 SLs) The Euro bumpers give her a much sleeker look. She has some cosmetic issues but we love to get her out and drive her and she always gets thumbs up wherever we take her.

        Thank you for the interest!

        Talk soon,

  18. AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

    A quick update for those who may not know. Gas Monkey did run the story on this panel van. It was the lead episode for their new season. Those with any kind of On Demand can watch the episode.
    The real low down is this… They told both Jessie and myself that they would include a mention of both Barn Finds and AutoArcheologist when they did the story. They did not… and when questioned about it, they said they don’t promote companies like that… yet when they visited the “junk yard” where the Camelot Cruisers were, they showed not only the sign but the two owners had their logo wear polo shirts on.
    They also buggered up the story saying the P30 was purchased from PA.. it was in Middletown CT.
    They did a pretty cool build on the panel van but unfortunately, the respect that I garnered for Richard in my dealings with him personally, were sort of soured by the total lack of mention and screwed up story.

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