39k Original Miles: 1978 Chevrolet G20 Van

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One of the bigger changes we’ve seen in vehicle usage over the years is how businesses used to see a clean van or truck as much of a marketing tool as a utilitarian appliance. The G20 series of vans made by Chevrolet was perhaps one of the most instantly recognizable vehicles of its class in the 1980s. Whether used by two bumbling burglars in Home Alone or parked out front each morning by the local tire shop when not making deliveries, the G20 is an American classic that will likely continue to grow in appreciation among enthusiasts for some time to come. This clean 1978 model has low miles and is offered with no reserve in Connecticut.

Now, a Jaguar E-Type this is not, but how good does this G20 look from this angle? I’m not sure if it’s the window-less design, the Rally wheels, or the paint scheme (or possibly all three), but it’s rare than a workhorse like this looks as tidy as this G20 does. The paint scheme looks like it formerly belonged to the local phone company, but the seller confirms he has known this G20 since it was a relatively young vehicle and owned by the local tire shop. According to him, it was driven out of the shop and parked out front each morning, which helps explain the low mileage and why it remains in cherry condition. The seller also notes that it was rust-proofed when new, so combining that with the limited daily use, this may be one of the more unspoiled G20 vans we’ve seen in some time.

This G20 is a standout not only for its clean condition but also because it features a rarely seen manual transmission. Now, it wasn’t that GM hid the fact you could spec a van like this with a three-on-the-tree, but more than most buyers didn’t go for it given the van was going to be used on plumbing jobs or service calls. However, I can see a tire shop owned in the 1970s and 80s looking to turn the company van into a mild hot rod build, and a G20 with a stick would fit the role nicely. The seller does note that the shifter will need some attention, as he indicates the shift action is vague at best, so perhaps some new bushings will be needed to tighten up the mechanism. Otherwise, the driver’s compartment looks to be in tip-top condition.

Now, most of us associate vans of this vintage as having porthole-style windows or perhaps one gigantic window on one side and barn doors on the other. This G20 was clearly chosen for its highly utilitarian nature as it doesn’t feature any windows and there is zero shag carpeting in sight. I could see this being used to throw in a coupe sets of Cooper Cobras and trundle on down to the local hot rod shop to re-stock the locals, but you may see it more as a blank canvas waiting to be converted into a discrete mobile lounge complete with refrigerated storage areas and fold-out couches. With the factory 292 CI I6 up front, it won’t have the V8 burble coming from the exhaust, but if the trade-off is having a G20 with three pedals, I’d be OK with that. Would you preserve this former tire shop van as-is or make it into a period-correct custom? Check it out here on eBay with bids to just over $2,000.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Aussie Dave Aussie DaveMember

    Even with a six pot, this would make an awesome shagging wagon, ok I was born in the 60’s, lol

    Like 18
    • Paul Martin

      Aussie Dave, I was thinking just that!!

      Like 6
  2. Stan

    6 in a row, ready to tow.
    What a cool 😎 Chevrolet van, sweet paint, 3 pedals, and heavier chasis 🙌

    Like 5
    • Nelson C

      Had to go to a G30 for the heavier chassis and axle. A G20 was more like a heavy half pickup.

      Like 1
  3. RJ

    Harry and Marv’s van in Home Alone was a Dodge Ram van.

    Like 2
  4. Craig MacDonald

    I don’t see the normal link in the first section to find the online listing. I’m curious to see that listing.

    Like 1
    • Jesse JesseStaff

      Check again. We moved the links to the last paragraph so people would actually read the post.

      Like 3
      • stillrunners stillrunnersMember

        Yep – don’t like it – I like to go to the ad first then read – then post…..but glad a writer finally said about the movement – guessed the same.

        Like 0
      • Jesse JesseStaff

        We noticed that a lot of people would go to the ad and comment without reading anything we wrote. It’s new so it’ll take some getting used to. If everyone hates it, we will change it back but let’s give it a shot.

        Like 2
  5. Don

    This van needs a smoked out bubble window on each side towards the back and it would be a twin to one my Aunt and Uncle had in the 70’s.

    Like 1
  6. mick

    I bought a used white 78 chevy cargo van in 81 that had a 3on the tree and a 6cyl that was originally owned by a sheetrock installer. The only option was A/C (mandatory in Houston) It took several power washings to get (only) 80% of that dust out of there. After I cleaned it up, put a bed in back and added a small fridge, I took several weekend trips around Texas. I put almost 60K on it before a garbage truck backed into it and did a slo-mo tbone. Insurance company just laughed when I told them. I thought for sure it had the 250cid 6. Was that an option back then?

    Like 0
    • Steve Betz

      My 76 was a 250 with 3 on the tree. And the shift linkage was a mess when it was new.

      Like 0
  7. Hammer

    Vans are gonna return big time. This one is a good candidate for a built 327 with a nice rock crusher 4spd. Throw out the 6 and 3speed behind it. Those transmissions where absolute junk! They’d get jammed between 1st and 2nd. And there ain’t no bushings gonna straighten that out other than a 4spd. Maybe a shlitz/ Hurst tap shifter. Another plus no windows. It’ll sell . Glwts.

    Like 2
  8. Nelson C

    IIRC the inline 6 was a 250 in these. My brother had a ’74 G30 with a three speed 6-cylinder and 3.73 axle. Broke a piston towing 9 snowmobiles on a tri-axle trailer. Resurrected with a 307 and a 4-speed from a ’68 C20 that I bought for parts. Talk about shift throws. He removed the shell about 18″ back of the seats and mounted a wood flat bed and plywood bulkhead. Was one tough old farm truck and the first we’d seen of that kind of conversion.

    Like 2
  9. mick

    Hammer! You are so right! Those shifter rods are soooo long! They have to travel from the steering column to under the firewall, under the trans hump and then into the transmission. 3.5-4′ overall. No way a quick shift won’t bend those rods!

    Like 0
  10. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Watching this one mainly because of the three pedals…..have one as well that needs to go with a 318/3sp…..looks like a nice van.

    Like 0
  11. mick

    Jesse, I think what you will find is some folks, knowing where to look now, will simply scroll to the end to see the original posting. Those readers prefer seeing that information first. I think it’s fine where ever you put it and it won’t be a big hardship for them (until they discover the new position). I enjoy the color commentary you guys provide and have learned quite a bit about a subject I thought I was pretty on-top-of. I also appreciate the ability to add my opinions and experiences. I look forward to seeing this site pop up in my email, every day!

    Like 1

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