19k Miles? 1986 Chevrolet Astro Van

So, just what could the next owner do with this 1986 Chevrolet Astro Van? There is no reason why it couldn’t serve as a clean and tidy shop van, a role that it has obviously served in the past. Alternatively, it wouldn’t take a lot of work to convert it into a really tidy little camper for those weekend getaways. Of course, you might have other ideas in the back of your mind, but you really have to admit that regardless of what those ideas might be, the Astro is in impressive condition for its age. If you would like to give it a new home, you will find the Astro located in Pinellas Park, Florida, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. The price for this cool commercial has been set at $5,900. I really have to say thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for referring the van through to us.

There’s would seem to be no arguing the fact that the Astro is in far better condition than your average example. The Yellow Beige paint is consistent, and it has a really nice shine to it. There are no significant marks on the paint, while the panels appear to be very straight. The owner states that the vehicle has remained accident-free throughout its life, and there are no signs of any issues with rust. This has probably been helped by the fact that the vehicle has been garage-kept throughout its life. I’m not sure how the paint would look under the vinyl signage, but I suspect that removing this would reveal the fact that the exposed paint has suffered some form of fading over the past 34-years. If this was to be removed, the owner might choose to just leave the paint as it is, have it touched-up to match, or they might choose to apply some custom graphics to disguise the difference. What I wouldn’t remove would be the MTV and Ross Perot stickers, because I do agree with the owner that they are a great vintage feature.

The interior of the Astro also appears to be in nice condition, with no signs of any rips, tears, cracks, or stains. The original radio has been removed at some point, and a Pioneer CD player has been fitted in its place. That was probably a nice addition to alleviate the boredom during long parts delivery runs. One thing that I will say is that the van has been quite nicely equipped for a commercial vehicle. That CD player, along with air conditioning, and cruise control would all combine to make life pretty pleasant on the road. The owner states that the seats are leather-upholstered, but I wasn’t sure that this was an available option in 1986. Still, if he says that they are, I’m happy to believe him. The cargo area is in surprising condition. The paint on the floor has suffered some of the typical scuffing that you see in vehicles of this type, but all things considered, it remains in above-average condition.

There are no engine photos, but we do know that the Astro features a 4.3-liter V6 engine, backed by a 4-speed automatic transmission. One thing is for certain, and that is that the van is a long way from being worn out. The vehicle has covered a genuine and documented 19,500 miles, which means that it should have plenty of life left in it yet. For me, one of the most attractive characteristics of the Astro is the nice, flat floor in the cargo area. Honestly, if the future for this vehicle rests as a recreational rather than a commercial vehicle, it would potentially make a pretty decent camper conversion for weekend getaways. I mean, I wouldn’t want to spend months living out of it, but with the cargo area nicely lined, some coverings on the floor, a bed down the back with some storage underneath, a cooker and a fridge, it might be a pretty good option to consider.

I admit that I really like this 1986 Astro Van, and I can see no reason why it couldn’t serve as a shop vehicle for many years to come. It could also make a potentially great little camper. However, there is one potential sticking point, and that’s the price. For its age, the price is well above the market average, and that could potentially put a lot of people off. Having said that, its condition is also a long way above average, and the mileage is extraordinarily low. Whether that is enough to justify the asking price is a tough call to make. What do you think?


  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    This would be a great period piece for movies set in the eighties.

    Like 4
  2. Rosko

    A great example of early designs often being the best. Beautiful styling.

    Like 4
  3. Sherminator

    Great find! I have noticed that many younger people get vinyl mixed up with leather when selling cars. They may never have experienced the joys of jumping into a hot car with vinyl seats wearing shorts, or it would literally be seared into their minds forever…

    Like 21
  4. Jack M.

    That’s a lot of value there for $5,900. If the mileage can be verified, you would get many more years out of this truck as a work van. Go price out a new one and compare the savings.

    Like 10
  5. Little_Cars

    I owned one of these, and it was a camper conversion. I was the second owner, and other than the smoky smell left behind from the previous owner, I felt it offered a lot of bang for the buck. Worst part of making this into something different now would be the lack of opening windows and roof vent. Those barn doors in the back are much more practical than the liftgate/tailgate versions that came later. I used to go to drive-ins with the misses and dog, open up the back and swing the captains chairs completely to the rear to watch movies. Cooler between the seats.

    Like 6
  6. Chris

    I always wanted to pop that 4.3 into a Chevy Metro…

    Like 1
  7. Chris in Pineville

    Extremely rare to find a utilitarian vehicle like this that has not had the stuffings beaten out of it.
    Great find and I would keep it just as it sits!

    Like 7
    • Little_Cars

      I’m surprised the hardware store allows this van to carry the True Value livery on its sides. I would have expected the graphics to already be removed if this van was sold directly from the store or distribution center.

      Like 5
      • Doc

        As others said, period piece.
        But after 1 movie it would be done as how many 80’s set movies need a True Value Van?

  8. 8banger dave Member

    Wow, I’m no spring chicken, but I’ve never seen or worked on a carbureted 4.3 – F.I. only…

    • Mike

      This vehicle most likely has a 4.3 TBI or throttle body injection. 85, i believe was the only year for the carb’d 4.3.

      The 2.5 iron Duke was also an option in 85/86

      Like 1
  9. RTS

    Sure it’s in great condition, but it’s still just an Astro Van. Don’t see why there would be much interest, especially at the asking price.

    Like 5
    • Boatman Member

      “Just an Astro van”? These things were well built, and carried over many time tested designs. Best minivan EVER!

      Like 4
  10. Tim Litt

    i have had many of these. now with a20 05 AWD., which is next to impossible to get stuck and they run forever also had
    a top safety star if i remember.
    the last one i had, cut the back roof out and made a pick up. something GM
    should have done.

    Like 6
    • Little_Cars

      You mean something like this? Previous Barn Find offering in 2017.

      Like 8
  11. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    Like Jack M said earlier, go out and price something new. My friend has a start up catering service. He recently lost a work vehicle and set out to replace it with the insurance money(about $8k) he needed barn doors and a low floor for loading, and of course space. He ended up with a 5 year old Chrysler minivan with well over 100k on it. I’ll bet this here Astro van has more to offer than the Chrysler and for less money. It’s just old and dated.

    Like 7
  12. Reg Bruce

    Back in the ’80s sometime my brother-in-law bought a new G-van with a carburetted 4.3L engine.
    The poor van wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding but at least the engine was reliable over the 15 years or so that he had it. He claimed that the gas mileage was pretty bad at the start, but as various bits fell off the van due to the typical GM build quality, the mileage gradually improved over the years.
    The guy next door to me is currently working on a GMC Safari version of the Astro van. It has the F. I. 4.3L engine, 4WD, and a 5-speed manual transmission — all from the factory!
    Never knew there were those options available as OEM.


    Like 5
  13. Comet

    Wow, how many of these can be left in this great condition and low miles. Cheap buy-in and (kinda) easy to work on. Good luck finding another like it. Nice van!

    Like 4
    • Thomas Parker

      Our 1st new car ever. A 99 Safari. Served us well for 15 yrs. Fuel pumps on the F.I. models were a problem. I went through
      3. Replaced it myself and swore never again. They put out really high pressure. Replacing the alternator twice was a chore. Had to be in just the right position in and out. 4L60E never failed.

    • SteveTheD

      Wake up people!! It’s a 1986 Astro Van! If it had 0 miles there’s still very little value! Asking price is just silly, not worth anywhere close to that.

      Like 1
      • pugsy

        What’s a new van cost these days?
        And can you find one that looks even one iota as cool, body style wise? Ugly stuff out there these days.

        Like 2
      • don

        People probably said the same thing about a 30 year old VW bus in ’86 ; look whats happened with them now !

  14. Dave

    When I worked for Westinghouse in the 80s I drove the passenger version of this from Atlanta to Pittsburgh. It became my company work truck. It had a throttle body injection 4.3 and I called it the Thundering Herd. When you mashed the pedal big things were happening next to your foot! It had 64k on it and despite numerous attempts to kill it it survived another 120k in company service.
    It proved to be far more durable than the 1989 Voyager they bought a few years later.

    Like 2
  15. pugsy

    Love it. I would like to keep the True Value stickers as there are none up here.

    Like 2
  16. Tracy

    The Perot bumper sticker is worth the price of admission!

    Like 1
  17. Andy

    Why is it that people always think cheap vynal seats are leather? Unfortunately this van has an electronic Q-jet carburetor. More vacuum lines than a 70’s Honda but without the reliability. After the switch to TBI efi in 1987 they ran well. Also equipped with the “early” 700R4, a trans plagued with problems.

  18. Jesse

    “Find us fast in the Yellow Pages”…….wow, amazing that phone directories are going/ have gone the way of 8 track tapes!

  19. Pete in PA

    I bought the window version of this 86 Astro from a catering service back in 1997. It was the same color but had a much more opulent interior with carpeting, cloth/vinyl seats, and just about every conceivable option including power windows, locks, tilt, cruise, a/c, deep tint glass, roof rack, alloy wheels, etc.
    I loved it as a family hauler but could never get rid of a drivetrain shake above 45 mph. New tires. Nope. Replaced the driveshaft. Nope. Replaced the whole rear axle. Nope.
    Terrible gas mileage but great utility. I eventually sold it but missed it for years.
    Wish I could post a pic of mine.

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