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4WD Shorty! 1978 Chevrolet G20 Van

Talk about a unicorn: a four-wheel-drive, short-wheelbase Chevrolet G20 van with an eyeball mural on the sides. There cannot be many like that around: This sweet survivor van looks to be in excellent condition with some awesome period-correct details and OEM touches. The seller reports it has had just one repaint over a decade ago and is powered by a smooth-running 350 V8 paired to an automatic transmission. It looks great on those classic GM rally wheels and sits up high like a 4×4 should. Find it here on eBay where bidding is over $12,000 with no reserve.

The seller is correct that the so-called “shorties” are getting very hard to find, especially in condition like this. The Chevy has been in Washington state all of its life so that helps to explain the exceptional cosmetic condition. It’s amazing how well-preserved classic vehicles from the Pacific Northwest are – they’re simply cut from a different cloth as it relates to preservation. The interior has the hallmarks of a classic van with wood paneling all throughout the cargo bay and a small windows on either side to let in some daylight but not take away from the much-needed privacy a van like this provides.

From an equipment standpoint, this is about as good as it gets. Aside from the short wheelbase, it also has the factory tow package with disc brakes up front. It has locking front hubs, too, so while it looks like a bit of a showpiece, I imagine it can also hold its own when the pavement ends as well. The interior is an interesting array of colors, which would potentially indicate it didn’t begin life with an orange exterior. The blue dash and door panels suggest a much different factory paint code, and the bucket seats don’t really match anything here. The seller notes there is a tear in the driver’s seat and that the dash has not been cut.

The proportions of a short-wheelbase van are hard to beat. While some vehicles look better with a few more inches between each end, there’s just something about a classic G20 van that works with the reduced footprint. The lack of rust, period-correct cabin and mural, and general desirability of the 4WD setup make this shorty van a must-have for any collectors out there who dig the vanning culture that dominated the automotive landscape in the 70s and 80s. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this break into the low 20s, but it may go for less given the no-reserve listing.


  1. Moose_Feather

    What? No shag carpet bed or crushed velvet dash!

    Like 8
  2. CCFisher

    Nice find! The blue interior is a bit jarring against the red/orange exterior, but still very nice. GM didn’t offer 4wd vans from the factory, so this is an aftermarket conversion, offered by many dealers back in the day.

    Like 7
  3. greg

    you need a boatswain for the interior however

    Like 1
  4. Troy

    Nice van looks like a lot of fun the down side is its in Tacoma Washington if you’re lucky enough to be the winning bidder bring your gun and don’t stop until your out of pierce County

    Like 11
  5. Michael Berkemeier

    Blank canvas on the inside…definitely needs a CB and a “Wild West” or “Big Rig” theme instead of the “Eyeball” job. Looks like it could be a model from the ’70’s. It would suck to drive every day but I would rock this thing at the drive-in theater. Maybe check out “Foxes” or “Smokey and the Bandit”.

    Like 2
  6. HoA Howard A Member

    Actually,,,in my area, these vintage 4×4 vans are quite popular. One, a newer model, had been presumably abandoned in front of my apartment for weeks, recently towed. One would think, Colorado, 4×4 capital, and there was a time when that was true, however, the “back” roads have become so beat, most are borderline ATV roads now, who ironically do the most damage. These historically get poor gas mileage, a big concern for many today, but it does combine all wheel travel and a box to hang out in( or whatever), and won’t last long.

    Like 2
  7. PRA4SNW

    SOLD for the amusing sum of $12,345.67.

    Like 2
  8. Mike

    Why is it that cars from the Pacific northwest don’t rust? They use salt on the roads, just like the rust belt. I don’t get it.

    Like 0

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