Amazing Survivor: 1985 GMC Vandura

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One thing is for certain, and that is that classic vehicles come in all shapes, sizes, and types. Never has this fact been better exemplified than by this 1985 GMC Vandura. With the SUV and the people-carrier both becoming such hot property in the new car market, maybe this is the vehicle that could be the classic alternative for the person seeking to move a group of people in style and comfort. Whether you look inside or out, this is a vehicle that can instantly transport you back to the 1980s, and for some of us, that’s not a bad thing. Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, you will find the Vandura listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $14,850 for the GMC giant, but the option is available to make an offer.

I have to confess that I really like this van. It has a real presence about it, and it really embodies the excesses of the 1980s. The Autumn Red paint looks good, and it’s really hard to find any fault with the exterior presentation. The wheels aren’t original, but they are period correct. When the owner purchased the vehicle, it was fitted with what he refers to as some pretty dated aftermarket alloy wheels. He attempted to source the correct wheels but had no luck. These are Chevrolet wheels, but he does believe that the correct GMC caps could be sourced to make them look closer to the originals. All of the external trim has a great shine to it, while the striping and tinted glass also looks good.

This interior is just so 1980s…and I love it. The timber trim is a nice touch, and it has survived remarkably well over the past 34-years. There is no sign of any peeling of the finish or warping, and it still has a nice shine to it. The dash, seats, and carpet all look to be in good condition, while the Panasonic radio/cassette player and graphic equalizer bring back a lot of pleasant memories. For your comfort and convenience, you also get power windows, cruise control, air conditioning, and a tilt wheel. That’s just in the front because if you are a rear passenger, things go to a whole new level.

The luxurious trim and carpet continue back here, and you also get tray tables, timber trim, reading lights, A/C outlets, curtains, ashtrays, and both cup and bottle holders. There are even timber cupboards built into the rear doors which can house glasses, and other small odds and ends. There are a number of photos at the bottom of this article which will help you to get a full understanding of just how luxurious things are back there.

Hidden away under the hood are a 5.0-liter V8 engine and a 3-speed automatic transmission. Power steering and power brakes make maneuvering and stopping this giant just that bit easier. The owner states that the Vandura has only covered 26,000 genuine miles, and the overall condition of the vehicle makes this claim entirely believable. He also says that it runs and drives really nicely and it appears as though he has been meticulous with the vehicle’s maintenance.

We see plenty of family wagons here at Barn Finds, and I usually quite like them. This Vandura is in a league of its own because its brash styling and colors are so in keeping with its 1980s heritage. What makes it all the more extraordinary is the fact that it has survived so well, and while I believe that the term “time capsule” has been over-used in the past, the Vandura isn’t far off it. I can guarantee that if you bought this vehicle, you would attract crowds wherever you went.

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Back in the 80’s, this was traveling by car in high class. This one is clearly a perfect example of one. I can’t believe it wasn’t driven more. Absolute nightmare to work on, the good part, is they were so reliable, it didn’t need work very often. Removing the doghouse for better engine access is a PITA. Again ( and again) price a little steep, I recently looked at one similar for a friend, no where near this condition for $2,900 and the guy can’t give it away. I think for this price, for a little more, people will go the small motorhome route with far better amenities. Even as nice as it is, I couldn’t justify the price, and with only 8 watchers( 7 including me) and no bids, neither can anyone else.

    Like 9

    Must have been used to transport adults…because even ONE child would’ve gleefully shredded the basically clean cloth interior. Good looking 3-4k van.

    Like 2
  3. CapNemo

    Love this van! Unfortunately, asking an unrealistic price.

    Like 4
  4. Coventrycat

    I like it a lot. For me, it’s the oak that dates it. It reminds me of every new 80’s home – cabinets, doors, furniture, and toilet seats.

    Like 2
  5. JustTheCaptain

    We had an 82 Chevy van, did yeoman service hauling our three boys for 15 years, cross country twice, to Yosemite, to San Francisco, all over the state to band comps when they were in high school, and to the beach every weekend in the summer. Never could get all the sand out of the carpet. We put one of the first 12v portable VCR’s on board, attached three headsets so mom and dad didn’t have to listen to “inspector Gadget” on road trips. Alas at 165k miles it succumbed to a head on with a speeding Toyota Camry.

    Like 4
  6. Bakyrdhero

    Beautiful van! That price though? I sold Chevy’s and Pontiac’s in the late 90’s for a very short time. I’m a lousy salesman. We couldn’t give used conversion vans away and the trade in prices were Rock bottom. Most people drove away in their new vehicle upside down on the loan already.

    Like 1
  7. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Great looking luxury ride.

    I had a ’93 G20, bought via eBay out of San Antonio. Loved that van! Transportation needs changed, so off it went, but another change brought a ’96 Ford E150 conversion van home to Michigan from Arkansas in 2013.
    To the uninitiated, these make for a really serene and cushy way to travel with family or friends. They are quiet, smooth, and roomy. Nice for towing a boat or smaller trailer too. Good ones have captains chairs which are all-day seats.

    I’d jump over to this one from the Ford, but I’d likely really miss the nearly perfect leather interior, and the extra $10K from the bank account. Besides, I’ve doubled the mileage to 112K during my ownership, and cant at all fault the Ford for being anything but reliable.

    Great van for sure, but not too comfortable with the asking price.

    Like 0
  8. Chris

    I have had chevy vans and I like the Ford econoline better. There is more leg room, 5.8 or 7.5 power is awesome, easier to repair if the doghouse needs to come off, and seats come out easily if need more room. I don’t know how well this van could travel across the country with the 5.0 as the power source, unless the extra people carried get out and push it up hills. I certainly do hope someone buys it and enjoys road trips in it. Just not my thing.

    Like 0
  9. TimS

    I love vans, especially from the 70’s and 80’s. I grew up in them. But boy, is that a lot of red, no matter what the cost.

    Like 1
  10. VANMAN

    Less than half the price, and far less grandfatherly:

    Like 0

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