Never This Nice: 1993 Chevy Astro AWD

While not necessarily an appreciating classic, Chevy’s Astro and GMC’s Safari vans have slowly disappeared from domestic roadways. It’s a shame, as this was perhaps one of the more unsung heroes of GM’s utility van lineup. Astros like this one even featured all-wheel drive and performed people-carrying duties as well as any minivan of the era. This one is in shockingly nice condition, and you’ll find it here on eBay with a $9,000 Buy-It-Now. 

$9K for an Astro? Believe it. How many can possibly be left that have 51,000 original miles? Couple that with the demographic that routinely bought these vans for the sole purpose of flogging them and it’s incredible this one has survived like it has. Straight, unmarked body panels, original hubcaps and ding-free painted bumpers make this Astro a standout in a field of plumber’s trucks residing in the scrapyard.

The interior is likewise mint, with the front captain’s chairs remaining in excellent condition. The seller does note some cosmetic flaws, like a cracked dash panel and holes in the dash where something was previously mounted. The van comes equipped with front and rear passenger HVAC controls and sports the full complement of power options. It’s worth noting the seller did have the van repainted, which is too bad – everything else is completely original.

The 4.3L V6 presents well, with plastics and hoses still showing as-new. With the mileage as low as it is, there’s little reason to doubt the seller’s “drive it anywhere” claims. With so few issues, this is a project van you can simply go out and drive, but at the current price, don’t expect to recoup your investment. The listing does have the option to submit a best offer, and a sale price in the $6K-$7K range seems like a reasonable compromise.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Ben T. Spanner

    Very poor crash ratings. No room for the driver’s feet before the crash. I can’t think of a single reason to buy.

    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      Well, then you have extra incentive not to crash! Auto-piloting Tesla drivers need not apply.

      Like 1
    • LAB3

      Everyone who drives this van will die! As a matter of fact, anyone who even LOOKS at this van will also die. This van is SO sinister that just looking at this ad will inevitably lead to death! Good luck in the afterlife, even Ralph Nader will be there…

    • LucilleCaddy69

      Then don’t crash!

  2. Doug Potts

    GM paint of the 80s/90s era is crap. White and silver ALWAYS peeled off in just a couple years so I’m sure that’s the reason for the repaint.

  3. PaulG

    Some of the most comfortable bucket seats GM ever put in a vehicle. Nice Van, 9K nice, not too sure…

  4. Miguel

    Without the 4WD they are offered for sale for $1000.00 to $1500.00 all day long.

    Is the 4WD really worth that much more?

    Also it is another one owner car that is not a one owner car anymore.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Miguel, well, yes and no. Today, AWD cars all over the place, so no, the AWD option on this van is not worth the extra cost, however, before AWD became all the rage, for people that lived in rural areas, and needed a van, this fit the bill perfectly, as we all know how helpless 2 wheel drive vans are in the snow. These were pretty nice vans, but difficult to work on and, like any 4wd box, they got dismal mileage. They did however, get everyone home safe and warm ( dynamite heaters) and that’s what they were supposed to do.

      • Dave Wright

        Rural areas Howard……….My dad used the AWD In his Chrysler minivan every winter in town…….in Spokane. Many times just getting to the grocery store.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Dave, well, yes. In the country, if you get stuck, it could be a matter of life and death. In the city, there’s always a cab or bus, or heaven forbid, walk. 4 wheel drive got me to the semi more than once in the 80’s. We rarely get snow like that anymore.

      • Dave Wright

        We lost 200 buildings here in the County last winter. Things like the super market and bowling alley. We didn’t get that much more snow than usual but it snowed and got cold so it never melted off. We bought a hanger for the airplane that the roof had come down on…… have to get it fixed before winter…….it will hold a bunch of my vehicles and the airplane.

    • streamliner

      Thank you Miguel — my sentiments exactly. “…another one owner car that is not a one owner car….” How many owners, how many flippers and dealers does it take before the claim of “1 owner” is just a lie? A deception. Not true. This is not a “one owner” vehicle. I long ago got tired of this misrepresentation we all now see too much . Like “Drove when parked”. Yet another now meaningless, over-used term.

      • Mike

        And thank you. At the very least some flipper who buys a one owner car should say, “It was a one owner car for X amount of years before I purchased it from the original buyer”.

  5. Todd Zuercher

    A real unicorn for sure! Haven’t seen one this nice since the 90s. Popular with the junkyard crowds for their hydroboosts.

  6. nessy

    This is a barn find? What is the price again? 9000?? Yea I know the AWD was somewhat of a big deal on this little van but who cares now? Come on now guys.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi nessy, happy Monday,,,:)

  7. Dave Wright

    These are still being sold by the government nearly every week…….can buy an identical vehicle for 3500.00 or so, many with low miles. The State of Oregon had a ton of them.

    • Howard A Member

      We have a local USDA Forestry Dept. and they sell their older vehicles from time to time. They used these AWD vans, and a friend picked one up, running poorly ( but nice otherwise) for a grand, if you don’t mind pea green.
      https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/70/165873770_d6fa37176c.jpg

      • Dave Wright

        We have a couple of S10’s that I bought from the army with 32,000 miles on them. They have CNG kits with the 4.3 V6, I am sure they have never run anything but gas…..boy, they run good. Can’t start them on a gravel road without slipping the tires. My wife likes them so well…..she decided to keep it here at the ranch (as if we need it with the other 14 vehicles we have here) the other one we are using as a shop truck. I don’t have much experience with the 4.3 but these sure run well. They were 800.00 each.

  8. Dave Wright

    I studied this a little more……..it is a one owner…….the Government…….there is a nice looking one for sale at a Seattle School district right now with a high bid of 200.00. The Seattle truck needs some attention to the 4.3…….hasn’t been driven for a year….it is a 2000 model and aside from needing a cleanup looks nice. This nice low mileage version would sell for 3500.00 or so. When they get this old, if they hiccup….the government sends them for sale. I doubt there is much wrong with the truck…..will sell for under 1000.00 for sure.

  9. Oldcarsarecool

    We still have a bunch of these in our fleet, albeit not the AWD versions. As a whole, they have held up quite well in fleet use. The vacuum supply line for the HVAC rots/breaks which makes the air flow default to the windshield. And the cheap plastic heater control valve leaks/breaks with regularity. But other than that, they seem to do ok . . .

  10. Bob

    I have a high mileage 2000 AWD model, and was pleasantly surprised that it is such a good combination of good driver and light work truck. I live in the boonies, where we get dumps of that heavy wet west coast power (basically slush), and that little beauty does a great job of getting through sometimes over a foot of that unplowed crud.
    My biggest complaint, is the rear, upper, dutch door has stopped opening using the electric switch, and now I am going to have to disassemble the door just to get it open, repair the electrical problem and install a manual method of opening the door.
    I don’t think it is worth the $9000 he as asking, but at the right price they are a great light truck..

  11. Scot Douglas

    Small brakes and $6k overpriced.

  12. PaulG

    Here’s one you could have a bit of repair money left over:
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/cto/d/gmc-safari-astro-awd/6231269059.html

  13. Pat A

    In the L.A. area, one of several specific vehicles to stay away from. Unusual to see one that’s actually roadworthy. And not overloaded with people and junk.

  14. Gay Car Nut

    I remember when the Chevy Astro. Although I regret to never owning or driven an Astro, I’ve always liked them. They may be “primitive” next to the Chrysler minivans, I’ve always found them more capable than the Chrysler minivans.

  15. Chebby

    The #vanlife crowd likes to convert these into adventure campers. This one is clean but man it’s pricey. I’ve read this seller’s eBay ads before, and he seems like a pretty solid guy.

  16. Pat A

    Hmm. Get one of these cheap, Add the home built pop up top some guy has on youtube, and you might have a decent cheapo homemade Westfalia.

  17. CMARV

    They still come up for sale in my area by municipalities , AWD , low miles , very well maintained . $2-$3 K , this guy is chump fishing . JMO

  18. duaney

    The basic concept good, but GM blew the details, like door handles, window cranks, breaking or falling off.

  19. Rustytech Member

    These were great vans. I have several clients who are just now retiring them from their fleets, and many of them are well over 300k. GM made a mistake discontinuing them. About the one owner controversy, if the flipper is a licensed dealer they never title the vehicle, it is therefore technicality still a one owner car. In my state the original owner gets an”A” title. It can pass through a dozen dealers but it is still one owner until someone re-titles it. This is a nice van, but $5k tops. It is after all just ( a nice old van.)

  20. Bruce

    Great tools for backcountry living!
    On my 2nd one up in NW Ontario. 97-98 is the series change, advantage of the earlier ones is viscous centre diff vs solenoid acutated, and the biggie for self-service, front end removable to pull subframe vs needing a lift to drop it. One area to watch out for is the top of the fuel tank corrosion in the fuel pump/sender area. Love seeing a clean one, have to come down to find one in the future for an ultimate build, LS3 swap, Dual range transfer case, built 9″ rear w/floating axles, lsd, big brakes.
    b.

    • Scot Douglas

      If you’re going to dream, dream big! :) I like the idea of a LS swap!

  21. andrew m

    Probably one of the best vehicles GM made during that era. I’ve never seen one go less than 250,000 miles…. very durable 4.3 V6, cheap and easy to get off the shelf parts, and the body doesn’t immediately rust away. Yes, lots of small little GM’esque faults, plasticky interiors and of course the same bad primer/paint/clearcoat that was used on every American made vehicle in the late 80s / early 90s. Seriously, if your immediate reaction was to call these vans junk, you know nothing of vehicles. Still popular with van fans today.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Let me tell you…..
      We had one that we bought with 19,000 miles. We got another 130K on it, but not without spending plenty of down time along the way. Huge issues were shorting wiring connectors and the port fuel injection “spider” that was replaced three times. When it was giving trouble for the fourth time, and the transmission was skipping hard in reverse, I parked it, eventually to be towed away to a scrapyard. The interior was great, and the ergonomics were ok. I liked the “Dutch door” feature, until the electric lock solenoid packed it in. A pain to replace in a locked hatch situation.

  22. Tim W

    We are on our 3rd Astro, an ’03 AWD. No big trouble with any of them. Wish the General still made a mini van that the engine wasn’t cross ways! Great economical transportation. Just my 2 cents….

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