’70s Style! 1978 GMC G35 Vandura 4WD Conversion

Update 5/5/2018 – We just heard from the seller, the winner of the eBay auction backed out of the deal, so it’s now listed here on craigslist.

From 4/26/208 – Behold! Vans from the ’70s seem to be enjoying a revival of sorts… and why not? What’s more practical than this 1978 GMC G35 Vandura? This one features a heavy-duty Pathfinder four-wheel-drive conversion, so it can reach remote and private areas that other vans cannot, a distinct benefit for activities often associated with ’70s vans. This sharp-looking one-ton van recently showed up in the Barn Finds Classifieds and is in El Cajon, California seeking a new owner.

Aside from the difference in color, this large-tired GMC reminds me of a Matchbox I may still have somewhere… the SF0208 Chevy Van. Buyers should take a close look; rust on the roof and other areas may sully the awesome first impression in these more distant pictures. The Pathfinder four-wheel-drive conversion includes beefy Dana axles and the tried-and-true New Process NP205 transfer case, a unit that’s served me well in several vehicles.

Every Mother’s nightmare! I remember the tentative look parents gave when turning over their daughters to myself and a friend when we arrived in his ’77 Ford Econoline van, which featured no windows behind the cab except a single heart-shaped port-hole on each side. One time we were forced to return with my car after one of our date’s Fathers announced: “You’re not going anywhere in that van.”

Holy ’70s Bat-Man; is that a CB-radio left of the engine? This rebuilt 350 replaced the original 400 cid V8, and may have as few as 20,000 miles on it. It runs, but the aftermarket carburetor won’t pass California smog inspection. I believe Jimmy Fallon once said, “Thank you vans… for helping people with children, and people who have no business being around children.” What’s your motive for wanting this multi-purpose van? Find it here on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $8,500.


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    These are nice, although they are rather tall and top-heavy. We sold a couple of 1-ton versionsvery similar to this; both with 400 motors. One owner, a dentist, and kind of a wealthy hippie type, bought a real bare-bones one then had it built up in a shop in (I believe) Spokane. He’s long since retired from dentistry (I heard that he did that when he was about 43) and still has the van. I guess you can do anything you want when you’ve got money and no family….

    Like 5
  2. Steve A

    Shaggin wagon!!! LOL

    Like 7
    • Solosolo UK ken TILLY Member

      @Steve A.
      Where i come from they were known as a Fk Truck!

      Like 9
  3. Jimmy

    Not practical but cool anyway. It would be a hit at most car cruises and shows just for the memories.

    Like 6
  4. Rob John

    Showed this picture to my kid, I said it probably smells like pot and patchuli oil. Her response, “I would be disappointed if it didn’t.”

    Like 9
    • Dean

      Patchouli..man, that brings back some memories..most of them good

      Like 4
      • Rich

        Most? All of mine are amazing. Great reference point for these vans. I had a few. All Dodge but the one w/a pop-up bar and fireplace was my favorite. I sold the he!! Out of them too!

  5. LAB3

    Looks like it would be quite nice to have once you get close to your destination with it’s off road capability. The rest of the trip between home and there perhaps not so much with it having a stiff suspension and little weight.

    Like 3
    • Rodney

      And the fact that it probably gets about 6 MPG on the highway with a stiff tailwind.

      Like 1
  6. Vin_in_NJ

    If this vans a rockin….

    Like 2
  7. Paul

    What the hell is on the inside? A sarcophagus?

    Like 4
  8. Dupper

    Never liked vans when I was younger. That being said, I’ve been craving one for couple of months now…

    Like 3
  9. Hawaiian Time

    Replacing the carburetor is the easy part. Have you ever tried to change the plugs on one of these vans? A real knuckle buster unless you drop the engine to do it.

    But, cool van! Go 4 wheelin to the top of a mountain and watch the submarine races!

    Like 3
  10. David J David J

    I’d store this vehicle aboard my Jupiter spacecraft to explore the surface environments of gnarly planets.

    Or, what a cool camper! Perhaps dropping it a bit would be in order.

    Like 3
  11. Doug

    ” I pity the fool…..” A team on steroids.

    Like 3
  12. Len

    This van is not very compatible with today’s “#metoo” movement. I can’t see it ever being as cool as it once was.

    Like 1
  13. Melissa

    Back in the days I worked for a Custom Car & Van shop customizing these kind of vans consisting of wall panel, ply wood, pop rivets, screws, glue, carpet, airbrush paint job and an 8 track system. We took on a customization of a bus for the President of Mexico and many other jobs.

    Like 5
  14. karl

    At first glance I see times of old with this thing, then I see the rust through the wall in the second pic! All I can say with any degree of certainty concerning this vehicle is that the 350 small block has been a great engine for a heck of a lot of years! And that is it!

  15. TC

    I’d love to buy a van similar to this from the US but sadly they’re not practical here in Oz unless it’s got a sliding door on both sides, down here you slide that door back and step out in front of an oncoming truck, this is a right hand drive country. We have no problem owning and driving LHD here but the door on the ‘wrong side’ of vans is the killer. Some Toyota delivery vans have twin doors which would certainly help on something like this.

    Like 1
  16. AF

    Wasn’t this already posted last week?

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Yes, and it is clearly mentioned in the write-up.

      Like 1
  17. todd james

    if you want to custimize your own van i have the one for you.78 chev van 305 small block canadian model so no cataletic converter was added to it.as i looked it up…86k but body was eatin by the ocean as i had it parked since 1999 here in cali…it was from wisconsin where im the 3 rd owner..chev g10 light blue beer delivery van…tow package i had welded on..needs to b customized…carpet walls need help roof ocean ate…looks tough…starts right up..double carberator goes over rocky mountains just fine compared to a 74 volks ill never do that again…no butter knife needed on the chev starts right up…no 45 mins waits like the volks bus.

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