Cool Camper: 1987 Provan Tiger GT Astro 4×4

4×4 campers have always intrigued me, almost being raised in the back of a pickup camper. We spent every weekend somewhere else, fishing, hiking, and generally getting out of the city; even though the city wasn’t much bigger than 100,000 people. Something like this 1987 Provan Tiger GT Astro 4×4 would have been perfect. This rig can be found on Craigslist, or here on the CL archive, in Oceanside, California. It’s not cheap at $18,000 but nice examples of any vehicle are usually not inexpensive.

The seller provides a lot of photos (although, still not one engine photo!) including photos of the new rear wheel well liners: “Inner rear wheel well liners where [sic] originally made out of tin that typically corrode, causing the associated well supports to fail and some minor deterioration on the exterior aluminum skin in the wheel wells. This has all been rehabbed, reinforced and new aluminum liners installed.” They have also “fuel filler neck, fuel filler hose and vent hose so its good to go for another thirty years! Dropped the fuel tank to installed new Delphi fuel pump/hanger assembly/sending unit and all associated rubber hoses and evaporation lines.”

Yes, this is a 4×4, it wasn’t an AWD Chevy Astro van to start with. Of course, Chevy didn’t make an AWD Astro van in 1987. The conversion was done in 1987 when it was built and “it received a 4X4 conversion performed by Four Wheel Drive Engineering Inc, this was a $4,300 option.” So, it’s got the related shifter inside for the 4-wheel drive system. A really important thing is that this “is a no rust vehicle. 95% of its life was spent in the dry state of Texas.” And, it fits “in a regular parking spot, in most garages and easy to maneuver in tight spaces.”

The seller talks about the camper conversion: “RV body is square aluminum framing and skinned in aluminum on the outside. Walls are insulated and paneled on the inside. Sleeps four. This unit was ordered without a shower/toilet. 16′ long, 7′ 2″ tall, 6’3″ interior standing height and 6′ 10″ at its widest point.” I guess if a person were going soft-roading (not quite off-roading because you’re carrying a home on your back), they can find a creek and a tree instead of having an inside shower/toilet. Here’s a YouTube video of another Provan Tiger GT showing.. well, it’s basically going down a gravel road and across a shallow stream, but it’s pretty interesting.

Those seats sure look comfortable but they aren’t original to this van, which is unfortunate. The original seats were “replaced with Honda Odyssey Captain seats“. I don’t know if there are many collectors of vehicles like this out there where original-spec rules 100% of the time or not. Campers, and especially off-road campers, usually get personalized over the years since they are a person’s house for a portion of the year and drivetrain and suspension upgrades are common. The seller currently drives “it regularly, always starts with no issues, tires have 95% tread remaining. No fluids leaking. Hundreds of hours and many $$$ spent to rehab items unique to Astro Tigers. All parts have been AC Delco whenever possible. All hardware and fasteners I used are stainless steel or aluminum. Receipts included.”

There are no engine photos but the seller says that it’s powered “by the Chevy V6 motor, automatic transmission, manual shift transfer case, manual front hubs and optional transmission cooler. Cruise control, front disk/rear drum brakes” And, it has new “plugs, cap, rotor, plug wires, ignition coil, ignition module, PCV valve, air filter, fuel filter. Passed Calif. smog and registered in Calif.” The rear camping quarters look good and this would be the perfect size for a lot of us who don’t need a giant motorhome and for those of us who like to get off of the freeway now and then but would still like to cook and sleep inside rather than in a tent. Are any of you into off-road camping?

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Comments

  1. The_Driver

    Darn, this is nice. But $18 large ones for a vehicle with 133K miles, is a tall order!

    Like 3
  2. Steve A.

    Love to have it, but…..lot of money for what it is.

    Like 2
  3. JW

    Super cool but out of my price range for a used camper.

    Like 2
  4. jw454

    In 1985 I had an Astro that was my company car. The only complaint I had was it had no stopping power. The brakes were way under engineered for the size truck it was. I hope whoever buys this considers a brake upgrade if they plan to drive it loaded with camping gear.

    • Mike McCloud

      I’d offer advice to anyone thinking on this one to give the 4whel drive conversion folks a call & find out if the brakes were upgraded. This is a good point to make; when changing wheel diameters, few folks realize that the larger diameter means the longer ‘Moment Arm’ means more work for a stock brake diameter, whether disc or drum brakes. The Moment Arm is the distance between the axel, or center of the wheel, & the outside- or ‘roadside’ of the tire tread ( outside diameter ). Overworked brakes are really bad things, stopping capability is a very good idea! Rule of thumb is “Big Tire/Wheel combo then use a bigger brake ( disc is way better!) system”. Seems a common upgrade these days,but wasn’t always. Be Safe !

  5. tje

    Someone in California will consider this cheap living.

    Like 1
    • Mike McCloud

      That’s no stretch of the imagination there! ANYTHING might be better than what rentals cost there. A friend, still in CA, pays $1700/ mo for a 1 bdrm, no garage.

      Like 1
  6. Pat A

    18K? I have my ’93 Dodge 4X Cummins,& a Fourwheel popup camper that I paid $800 for. The moral equivalent of this for less than 8K.

    Like 1
  7. duaney Member

    There are way too many better RV deals out there.

    Like 2
  8. chad

    I like the size & if dropping anything I guess the ‘batroom’ is it. ‘S in good condition, AWD woulda been enuff, no “wheelin” here. Put the hydroboost in if not breakin well. The rest…
    meh ~

  9. Wayne

    Barn find?

    • Henry Drake

      Stretching the definition

  10. LAB3

    That’s a lot of money for what you’re getting and even being a V6 the gas milage isn’t all that great. It’s got everything I would need in back but I could see buying it at half the price.

  11. Bryan corey

    The only Astro van in Southern California that won’t sell the second it’s put on the market, lol

  12. Alan (Michigan) Member

    Only for the space-limited buyer.
    I bought a newer rear-engined diesel Foretravel motorhome for less than this last fall. I have a place to park it, gets 10 mpg, truly affordable luxury touring machine. We had an Astro as a family hauler a couple of decades ago. No thanks, never again.

    Like 1
  13. mrnobody

    Most Tigers of that vintage go for less than half that price (and sell pretty fast!). But most Tigers aren’t in that nice shape and 4x4s are very rare in that vintage. We have a 1989 Tiger (not 4WD) and love it. With the pop top it’s less claustrophobic than other van conversions and unlike a larger RV you can park it anywhere a car can park.

    Like 3
  14. Toria

    Hi Everyone,
    Would many one know of a possible older model,medium sized camper van, someone’s in needs getting rid of?… Of course kitted out in working order and drive able, yet cheaply priced!!! Please make contact, pretty urgent

    Sincere Regards

  15. jay s mcilwee

    is the tuger still for sale? Jay 949 633 5811 mahalo

    • Kim

      I have a Tiger camper looks just like the one in the picture for sale. It’s no working at the moment so selling as is make me an offer. Located in Kern County. Must be able to haul it away.

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