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Shorty Van: 1978 Chevrolet G20

Just when I think I’ve seen the coolest shorty van, another one turns up that puts the others to shame. Of course, there’s no real “shame”, here – if you’ve got a period-correct van, you’ve got it made in the shade regardless of the specific options and equipment it wears. This 1978 Chevrolet G20 is a sweet vestige of vanning culture and comes with loads of period-correct details. Find it here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $19,900 and the option to submit a best offer.

Now, right off the bat, this G20 is equipped with a body style that is just about perfect: one sliding door, rear barn doors, and no windows. Now, I personally like a porthole window if I can get one, but if you’re going to use this G20 to occasionally sleep in or otherwise live out of, not having windows in the side is a bonus. The seller claims it wears 95 percent original paint and has nearly no rust.

So, you’re already winning quite a bit with this specimen if you’re on the hunt for a van that’s ripe for customization. The seller notes that it has no replacement panels and no bondo, which is downright amazing for a rig like this. So many of vans have led hard lives, either because they were party machines on wheels or because they were used as a contractor’s rig before converting to the van life. The bucket seats and dash and console areas are all in surprisingly clean condition.

The seller highlights that a good amount of money has been spent on the drivetrain, noting that this factory 400 V8 truck comes with loads of new parts. Some of the highlights include an Edelbrock aluminum intake, carburetor, and aluminum heads. He also highlights that it has roller rockers, updated pulleys, and headers with dual sidepipes. This G20 van is loaded with desirable upgrades and a solid body – would you leave it as-is or bring it back to showroom shape?


  1. Davey Boy

    Are you kidding? Man what a find. Exactly as it should be. Finish the interior as a camper style in the color of the outside. Amazing sound system. Match the patina to the fender flares and wahlah. Perfection. Doesn’t get any better than this. I’ll bet it sounds awesome to.

    Like 8
  2. Rw

    Lighten the load by getting rid of the total suck non period wheels..

    Like 6
  3. Driveinstile Member

    I always thought the short wheelbase combined with the fender flares looked fantastic. This is great. I agree with Davey and what he said. Fix up the interior and enjoy it. Maybe a set of Crager SS rims perhaps. Or Turbine rims from the 70s. Actually, yes, Turbine wheels and white letter tires. And side pipes. Gotta have side pipes. I better cut this short or Ill just keep adding to the list. I love the van hope it goes to a good home.

    Like 7
  4. Davey Boy

    Totally agree with Driveinstile about the Cragar wheels. What was I thinking not adding that. You missed the side pipes though. It already has them. That’s where the great sound comes from. :-)

    Like 6
    • The Bandit

      It already has side pipes. It just needs bad a** paint job. And I’d go with Crager mags.

      Like 0
  5. Old greybeard

    3.40 axle. Heavy duty cooling. Locking rear axle. Bigger battery and alternator, hd shocks. 400. Somebody ordered a stout little van, and I bet it moves out. Did these have catalytics in 1978?, think trucks were exempt.

    Like 2
    • Stan

      Bullseye 🎯 Beard is this on a hesvier chasis too ? Awesome van.

      Like 2
    • MTBorst

      I am going to say the only cats it had were inside this nice van. In 77,78,79 the heavier chassis did not require cats. And real gasoline was still available. One reason why many 3/4 ton chassis were ordered.

      Like 0
  6. J Sparks

    I will read about every van BF posts. I find these things fascinating. I had a toy when I was a kid called “Little Van-Go” – like “Fashion Plates”, but for vans. It had a variety of fronts, middles, and rears you could mix and match, make an imprint of on paper, then color. I liked to make them without the middle section after I saw these short vans on the streets. Whoever built this Chevrolet specked it as I might have in 1978 – if I weren’t 6 at the time. 400 with a/c and HD equipment is definitely the way to go. Life ain’t all about just looking cool. 6-y-o me would’ve probably gone with blue, though. This eBay listing has the rare distinction for van posts of including engine photos – several, even – from the cowl and dog house. Good luck to the seller & lucky buyer!

    Like 5
    • Paul Jackson Member

      I bought new my Chevy G20 van long wheelbase 342 gears 350 engine. Wonderful wonderful truck never should’ve gotten rid of it. I never understood the allure of a short wheelbase anything! If I couldn’t put a motorcycle in it and shut the door then I wasn’t interested. I built a plush interior, carpet, very comfortable seating with custom cushions, t/a radials etc
      Out the door it was $5200

      Like 4
  7. Driveinstile Member

    Davey… I need a new set of Bifocals. Cant belive I missed that!! Not many 3/4 ton shortys either.

    Like 2
  8. Cooter Cooter Member

    I like the Cragar SS and turbine ideas, perhaps a set of aluminum Western slots, even a set of 8″ Corvette Rally’s with BF Goodrich tires? Set it up with a nice interior and a new paint job would be cheap…same color for sure. Paint “LOVE MONSTER” on the side, load the console with Zeppelin, Doors, old Aerosmith and Van Halen…not Hagar, and you’re good to go!!

    Like 6
    • Neil R Norris

      Load her down with lots and lots of shag and a nice waterbed and it’s boom-chica-wow-wow …

      Like 0
      • Big C

        “And like a picture she was layin’ there.
        Moonlight dancin’ off her hair.
        She woke up and took me by the hand
        She’s gonna love me in my Chevy Van…”

        Like 2
  9. Hammer

    Where’s this located? Did I miss the location? Very cool ride! I had one with a 350 corvette motor and 4spd on the floor. Needs the cragers for sure! Flirtin with disaster.

    Like 3
  10. Brandon Robishaw

    I am old enough to have experience this van new.

    The only complaint I had was the windshield. The off center seating position ( Due to the engine between the front seats) Makes the driver look directly through the windshield curve. It’s one of the worst designs. It’s disorienting and dangerous making a driver overly drowsy simply from the effort of looking in and around it.

    Like 0

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