Survivor Workhorse: 1978 Chevy C10 Van

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We’ve all seen them: the old plumbers’ vans or contractor trucks. They look decrepit, somehow hanging on for dear life despite rust overtaking the body and evidence of accident damage on every panel. Sometimes they are Econolines, other times Chevy’s C10. To find one that has somehow escaped the fate of being a workhorse is incredible, which is why this 1978 C10 van here on craigslist is an unusual survivor find with only 43,000 miles. 

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Look at those interior walls – free from scuff marks due to PVC piping or paint supplies, and no evidence of being used to make in-town moves between apartment buildings. It shines just like new, and even the floor lining appears near-mint. Speaking of mint, I hope you like that color as it coats everything from the dashboard to the seat belts! I don’t mind it; it seems perfectly suited for a van from the 70s.

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Check out the vibrancy of the colors on that switchgear. It’s hard to fake originality like that, and this C10 even retains its OEM radio. The cloth seating surfaces present as new, and the chrome on interior handles and knobs all shines up brilliantly. The cleanliness of the interior reveals just how attractive these C10s were inside when new, because I can’t remember looking inside one of these in its more typical used condition and thinking it looked like a nice place to spend any time.

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The seller is a dealer, and he unabashedly notes that he bought it in Virginia, drove it home to Detroit to sell. $6,900 seems like an OK price for one of these in such nice condition, but I’m guessing it will take a very particular buyer to plunk down the cash. Don’t get me wrong – I believe that buyer is out there, as van culture is still strong in the USA, but it may take some time to find a C10 enthusiast. Do you think it will sell fast?

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Comments

  1. RandyS

    Neighbor had a C30 version of the same. 454 and 14 bolt rear. He sold it for $1200 last year.

  2. sparkster

    Perfect for my 70’s surfer van recreation . These vans hauled butt when they were empty. Loud thou

  3. Matt

    These were g series so g10, g20, g30. C series were 2wd trucks

    • RandyS

      Correct. Mistyped, should be G30.

  4. dirtyharry

    I don’t know how fast it will sell, but it certainly seems like a good buy. It would be nice to see some pictures of the engine and underside. Anyone who has a need to haul something and keep it “locked up,” will want this in a minute. It would be great for dirt bikes for example, camper, beach wagon. I think I want it.

  5. racer99

    Artfully angled shots hide the fact the paint on the roof is peeling (like most of that era). You can see it from the one shot from the side. Really clean but $6900 seems steep unless (as was said above) you have a specific use that this is perfect for. Looks like no a/c BTW.

  6. sparkster

    $9500 ? ? ?

    • racer99

      Guess he had second thoughts at $6900 — and I thought that was a little steep.

      • BRAKTRCR

        Was going to say the same thing. He fell in love with it. Now it’s $9500. Might still be worth it. I had a few in the 80’s. They couldn’t go past a gas station, but repairs were non existent other than maintenance. Loud inside.

  7. Alan Brase

    I had one a few year later, might have been a G15, heavy half. (I think the heavy half was some artful way the manufacturers could bypass some government regs. Bumped them up to medium duty.)
    My van was an 85, equipped with a 4.3 V6 and a 3 speed MANUAL TRANSMISSION. I have never seen another. Looked like a Hurst shifter out of a muscle car, but put on backwards, as the trans was behind the driver. Saginaw 3 speed full syncro. The truck performed great. Was pretty good on gas.

    • Loco Mikado

      A friend of mine bought a new 1974 Chevrolet short van for $2,400. It was a 250, 3spd manual on the column with PS. It evidently was a special order that was not bought It got 25mpg on the road. He sold it a couple of years later for $1,800.

  8. Don

    free candy and puppies//

  9. Dan

    Ad shows it’s for sale at $9500.

    Is that an original color? I’ve never seen that on a ’78 GM vehicle.

    • boxdin

      Yes looks to me like GM default truck blue. I drove a flower shop van in this color during the day and put my new yellow dodge van in the flower shops garage. Then switched them to go home.

  10. Howard A Member

    The farm I live at, the guy has a van just like this, only not near as nice. It looks like the type the author describes in the 2nd sentence. I swear, that thing gets stuck on wet grass, and he won’t take it out if ANY snow falls. ( apparently, he soiled his pants on 2″ snowfall driving it, but won’t say much about it) It is handy, got like 20 sheets of paneling, and styrofoam panels, hauls a lot. It gets atrocious gas mileage, rattles like a tin can with 4 marbles in it, hard to work on, uncomfortable to ride in but it is a good truck. This one is just unbelieveable, wonder what it’s story was. Won’t find many like this.

  11. Alan Brase

    It might be the original color.
    WRT the poor fuel mileage on the V8’s- did it get any better, ever with full sized vans? I had a chance to buy a 12 seat G30 from the tech school. Ran bad, suspect failed intake gaskets, 1995 Vortec. It went for lunch money- $500. Nice, maintained by the state. But I worried about gas mileage.
    My main daily driver is a VW Westy camper, it gets 20 or more all the time.

    • racer99

      The gas mileage and power got better with the TBI injection and then again with the Vortec motors and multi-point injection. The smog laden carb’d motors (like this one — I think) were the worse on mileage but were very reliable and easy to keep running.

  12. Mike D

    I have a thing against ” vintage” autos/trucks being sold by a dealer, you know they paid bare minimum for it and are hoping it will pay back handsomely , it is a nice looking van, very little description , hoping the pics will sell it?

  13. Marty Member

    Unusual color on this van, much more used to seeing it on the “Big 10” C-series pickups. Cool find.

  14. Scott Staff

    The first person I thought of when seeing this thing was Tony Danza. Remember the show with Alyssa Milino where he was a housekeeper. He rocked a van just like this

  15. Chris

    I think this guy is getting way too greedy at $9500. Shoot, paying $6900 for this would be an act of generosity or stupidity. Sure, it’s nice and the miles are low, but this is an old workhorse. The minute you ask it to perform as intended the gremlins will start to creep out and the rust will rear its ugly head. My band has been looking at vans, but we’ve accepted that we want the reliability and mpgs of fuel injection, comfortable seats, a/c, quality sound system, among other things. Someone will pony up a decent offer and the deal will be done, but it isn’t feasible for me. I hope this old van is treasured by its next owner.

  16. Matt Foley

    I could live in that – just park it down by the river.

  17. ChevyTruckGuy

    If this is truly a 1978 Chevy G Van, it is not wearing a 1978 front clip! 1978 models featured new front-end styling.

    • Doug

      This is a 1977 G10 (half ton) Chevy Long wheelbase van.
      It is not a 1978 and I wonder what this guy’s title says?
      The dash, the bumpers, the license plate cove on the back door reveal this to be a 1977. The lower body line that goes from the panel running from the front doors through the rear quarters was added in 1977 to give strength due to wavy panels when production went crazy in the 70’s. I’d love that van but price is too high at 9500.00

  18. Steve lockhart

    I still love the 60’s even though it was early to me. But I always had a tricked out 70’s Chevy van after the song came out, I had to have one. Couldn’t hurt right?

  19. Mark S Member

    As I’ve said before with some work on the engine a 700r trans and the correct gears in the back and the mileage will improve into the low 20 mpg. But you’d have to get it for dirt cheep. Than the best thing for it would be to camperize it and use it on weekends. The other thing about this is that it does not have the correct gille in it for a 1978 so either the seller is mistaken on the year or the grille has been changed.

  20. Terry

    Hope he likes it. This ain’t Barrett Jackson.

  21. slickimp

    That’s in amazing space for a cargo van that year

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