One-Owner! 1977 Chevrolet G20 Red-E-Kamp

103116-barn-finds-1977-chevrolet-g20-red-e-kamp-1

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

There should be enough time for one last cross-country road trip in 2016 for those of us in the upper-Midwest. This 1977 Chevrolet G20 Red-E-Kamp is on eBay and can be found in beautiful Meridian, Idaho; just a hop, skip, and a jump to the west from the state capitol building in Boise. This one has a current bid of just over $3,200 but the reserve isn’t met.

103116-barn-finds-1977-chevrolet-g20-red-e-kamp-2

This gorgeous van has a mere 64,210 miles on it, it’s barely broken in! This one is a Red-E-Kamp conversion and it’s about as nice of a camping van as you will ever find. No really. The Chevy G20 is, as most of you know, a G-Series van and the 20 designates it as being a 3/4-ton van, as opposed to the G10 (1/2-ton) or G30 (1-ton). This incredible camper van is a one-owner vehicle and there are over 100 photos on the eBay ad that are worth looking at; this thing is nice!

103116-barn-finds-1977-chevrolet-g20-red-e-kamp-3

Being a Dodge van guy down deep, I would prefer one of the Red-E-Kamp Dodge conversions, but this beautiful Chevy would be hard to beat. The company made Ford conversions, too, and they did less-serious-camping 1/2-ton conversions, as well.

103116-barn-finds-1977-chevrolet-g20-red-e-kamp-4

I will not use the term time capsule here. I’ve overused the term time capsule lately and I promise not to say that this interior is a time capsule. This is a beautifully-preserved van, I’ll just say that much about it. A good weekend of detailing and this van could be stunning, even more so than it is now. The actual camping portion of this van is nice, too. It’s a high-top van so you should be able to squeeze more people in there than normal and you’ll all be cozy and warm with the propane heater.

103116-barn-finds-1977-chevrolet-g20-red-e-kamp-5

With over 100 photos, there isn’t one photo of the engine! Not from the outside – open hood, snap, done, bickety-bam, one minute or less – or from the inside, a little more time-consuming, but still a five-minute affair. That’s just odd to me and you all know how odd I am so for me to call something else odd.. well.. But, anywho, the engine would be visible from under this big, plastic doghouse in-between the two front seats. I drove Dodge vans for years and a couple of these engine covers/dog houses were leakers so even though they had probably the best heaters of any vehicle that I’ve ever owned, if that cover was crooked or loose, sub-zero air rushing in at 60 mph on your feet wouldn’t be fun. I’m guessing that this one isn’t a leaker because this van is far nicer than any one that I’ve ever owned. Under that non-leaker-of-a-cover is a Chevy 350 V8 and 3-speed automatic transmission and the seller says that it’s running well. I have fixed up the back of vans but haven’t owned an actual camping van; I’d love to have one. Have any of you ever owned a conversion camping van?

Like This? Get Our Daily Email!

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    My old man had a Dodge maxi-van that I took to some place in Indiana, and they cut the roof open, and put one of these tops on and made a camper out of it. The ride back was white-knuckles, compared to the ride out there. The top SEVERELY affected handling, as to be expected. It was darn near unsafe, especially in a stiff cross wind, or when a semi came at you on a 2 lane. It really could have used dual wheels in the back. Gas mileage, also to be expected, dropped dramatically, on an already gas hog. Like all motorhomes, the problem comes when you want to go somewhere, and have to take the whole camper, not too big an issue with this, but still a pain. Someone sure took care of this one, for sure.

  2. dirtyharry

    We had a VW van with a similar rigid hardtop. It really was a nightmare. The top was always an obstacle. Garaging was out of the question, forget going into a parking garage. You couldn’t use the upper area for storage, it made it top heavy and just handled that much worse. I am sure the Chevy van handles this modification 1,000 times better than the VW, but the “pop up” style roof is so much easier to live with.

  3. Rustytech

    Wow! The colors and patterns look very 70’s but this thing looks like it was built last year. I too would chose the Dodge, but you can’t fault anyone who take such good care of their wheels. Incredible!

  4. Rex

    My parents had a 1973 C20 that was an Open Road conversion and it handled well in almost all conditions. A big benefit over the pop tops (mainly VWs) is that you did not have to raise and lower the top; it was always in the up position. Just walk right in and stand up straight; no hunching at all. They drove it to Alaska twice and to Florida several times. I drove it to Mt Rainier and to San Diego. We never had stabilty issues. It was just a nice driving van that got 13 – 15 mpg, a queen bed, a little kitchen and even a porta potty in the closet.

  5. blasphemy

    I still have my 1973 G-20 Chevy Van (“Open Road”, purchased used in January 1978) I used to pull my race car. Even with the trailer and car (about 3500 extra pounds) it would still accelerate up the steep incline of I-24 to the top of Monteagle if you stepped on it, but gas mileage was about 10mpg and maybe 13 without the trailer.
    There was a problem with water leaking in the front where they had cut the roof to put the top on and in 1984 I lifted the off and installed a solid brass sheet using stainless steel screws to the old roof flange and sealer afterwards to cure the leaking.
    There was always a problem with the starter coming out of alignment due to the poor design of the mounting bolts being 90 degrees to the starter, which is something I got fixing fairly quickly.
    The inside had a nice pull-out double bed and a double burner propane stove in back as well as a sink(which I added an electric pump to) with a ??30 gallon?? water tank under the bed.
    I plan to pull most of the interior items to put in my newer 1992 Ford 250 raised-roof van and let this one go to some construction crew for about $1600(rebuilt engine has only 12,000 miles on it)
    This one is much nicer( I preferred to keep it looking somewhat “ratty” to discourage would be thieves) than mine, but it brings back many fond memories.
    Thanks for the memories(and you to, Bob Hope)

  6. z28th1s

    Surprised to see that it doesn’t have air conditioning.

  7. Alan (Michigan)

    My experience with GM conversion vans was with one made in ’94. Perhaps in ’77 the G20 really had a 3/4 ton style chassis and running gear.
    I posted regarding another one a while back that mechanics and even GM insiders referred to my G20 as a “5/8 ton” vehicle. Maybe more than the 1/2 ton, but really not much of a change towards heavy duty.
    I’d like this much better if it was a G30.

  8. gearjam1

    My parents had a van IDENTICAL to this van (without the custom paint), and finally sold it a few years ago. Had an awesome build sheet…similar to a police car. Heavy duty radiator, oil cooler, oversized brakes, on and on…. Parents do a lot of caving, and even drove it down to Mexico from Southern Illinois. Rode like a 1-ton truck of course, but was nice to be able to be able to stand up in, and would go about anywhere… Reading the post, theirs must have been the G-30. I remember Dad having a hard time finding 16.5″ tires, so he changed over the rims.

  9. PRA4SNW Member

    Added to E-Bay watch list. I’m interested to see what something in this condition will go for.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.