4WD Conversion: 1977 Chevy K30 Sportvan

This 1977 Chevrolet K30 van sports a rare 4WD conversion and looks quite tough, sitting on a Rough Country suspension with oversized American Racing wheels and tires. 4WD conversions performed by aftermarket companies were not uncommon in the 70s and 80s, but they are hard to find today in running condition. This Chevy will need a new interior and some heater core issues addressed, and is located here on eBay with bidding approaching $4,500.

While the seller uses the word “factory” in his description when talking about the 4WD setup, I wasn’t aware of the Big 3 offering any of their full-size vans with a 4×4 setup from the assembly line to the showroom. Some very legit companies did step up after the van left the factory, however, to outfit these workhorses with a suspension kit that made it a go-anywhere machine.

Pictures are limited, but from what can see, it appears this K30 has not been abused on trails and sand pits for most of its life. In fact, the body looks quite sound, although the seller does refer to the presence of rust in places, along with some dents. Provided the frame is solid, rust can be fixed, but the seller does note a leaking “…heater core or heater hose” in the engine bay.

The interior is said to be bare with the exception of two captain’s chairs. This is actually preferred, as most of these camping-friendly conversions are fairly roached by now. I dig the period Lund visor over the windshield, and it wouldn’t take much to push the cool factor even higher with this rare 4WD conversion. How would you modify this Chevy for the vanning life?

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Comments

  1. mallthus

    I would be VERY careful with rust on one of these GM vans. Unlike the later Express vans, these vans have a “unitized” construction, that’s stronger than a unibody design, but not as strong and, most importantly, not as rust resistant, as a full body on frame design can be. There is no unique frame on these, rather, the “frame” is a stamped sheet metal component that’s welded to the rest of the body. Once chassis rot has set in, it’s got nothing separating it from the structural chassis.

    Like 6
  2. Rube Goldberg Member

    A guy in my little town has a van exactly like this for sale( I thought this was it)only he wants $13g’s for it, making this a pretty good deal. Better pull a gas tanker behind you, single digit gas mileage,,,year ’round.

    Like 2
  3. Curtis

    I own one a G30 1ton 4×4, purchased from original owner, who came back from Vietnam in 77, said ordered van at chevy dealer (camper special), this one has beefed frame, he said it went to two other states, one to get 4×4 installed w/ frame work, then to California to santana co, for interior Anand custom paint,it also came w/ semi truck air ride driver seat. Overall very cool van.

  4. TimS

    I love vans from this era but boy, that would be a bear for me to climb into and fall out of.

    Like 2
  5. chrlsful

    $ four/five is OK…
    This is about the limit of the motor and the living space.
    The nxt step up (4/6 cyl diesel/allison, sprinter/MB) would B
    more to my liking (neither a real 4WD 2* of size). I’d have a
    tow behind heep/sami/4wheeler if goin 4 wheel…

    Gotta dream, right?
    Thnx Jeff !

  6. Butchb

    Ditch those 16.5″ wheels first thing. Oddball obsolete expensive tire.
    Ditto the frame comments.
    Ford vans of this era had a full frame and where a more common 4wd van configuration.

    • Reginald Berry

      Nope, love the wheels ,keeping them if you can still get 16.5 tires. I always loved the idea of a 4×4 van, back in the 70s we all had jacked up 4×4 pickups, van were everywhere, but rarely saw a 4×4,love to have this one, and the cab visor got to go.

      • Enesset

        Cannot get 16.5 tires. Really frustrated me and this year bought wheels and tires for my 1992 1-ton

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