THE MYSTERY MACHINE
When encountering a particularly great vehicle in the city you basically have to shoot it on the spot, even if it is late at night! There was no avoiding the hour when I found myself standing in front of this boxy schlubber:
Righteous! What we have here is a 1968-1970 ChevyVan (which is how it was written in the Chevy literature). This body style was introduced in '67, but '68 was the first year for side marker lights. Other than that the color of the Chevrolet bow-tie logo changed from '68 to '69, but it's been removed from this ride so there's no way I know of to round down the year (the logo would be located above the center of the grill where that pinstriping is now).
This is the closest thing to Scooby-Doos Mystery Machine in my opinion!
This is the absolute zero-frills base model van. No chrome for the grill, bumpers, or mirrors. Plain as day 1 color paint job. No additional windows besides the windshield and each front door. This is the beast that Ma Bell would buy by the hundred for phone repairmen. I love it!
The Vermont plates and GSC painted all over make me think this is the coolest band touring vehicle ever. The side mural shown here where the body is torn open to reveal outer space makes me think it probably reeks of weed inside. What do you expect? IT'S A WINDOWLESS VAN. A band smoking weed is the least menacing use for this plain white box.
Whoever GSC is they've got their act together; sweet chrome rims, a little paint, and that's it. When this was sold new it might not have had even a passenger seat installed depending on the use.
I have no way of proving this but my theory is that plain metal rear van doors of this age are more difficult to come by than those with windows. While the vans with rear seating and windows all around were the same mechanically, this beast was meant for work. I'm sure most of them are long crushed.
I always check the paint names even when plain like this because sometimes you'll run across a weird or cutesy name, but no. This van is officially white. One interesting thing I ran across is literature explaining to Chevrolet dealerships at the time specifying Argent Silver paint when repairing grills or bumpers on commercial vehicles. I think the fact that these are white confirms that this was a fleet vehicle where further penny-pinching is possible when placing your order.
This thing looks ominous. Just looking at this uncaring & featureless opening gives me the feeling of approaching a cellar door in a horror movie. It is remarkably rust-free though!
This pic shows some cool styling elements. The shape of the window is great and totally unique. For that matter the rear edge of the door is on an angle leaning back towards the top. The passenger version of this van had a triangular window behind the door. When driving these for the first time it's a strange sensation because you're sitting on the front axle. Instead of pointing the van you have to get used to steering wheels that are directly under you. VW buses are much the same.
Get a load of that utilitarian side mirror. I'm sure this came with no radio or air conditioning. It is possible in this era that it came without a heater too, but I doubt anything with Vermont plates rolls like that these days!
One last look at Grubby the van. The little pinstripe design on the middle front is a nice touch. It just occurred to me that this could be a GMC van as well, which was known as the Handi-Van. In that case there would be large G M C letters around that pinstripe piece. Regardless this is one cool surf cruiser that I was very pleased to see on the streets. Keep it real GSC!