Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Keep on Vannin'

Somewhere in the greater Bushwick area I found this Crayola-colored lunchbox. With its white outlined eyes and fun color it looks eager to please! Let's take a closer look.
This is a 1977 Chevrolet G10 Van in Tangier Orange. This style is known as the Shorty Panel since it's the shorter wheelbase and has no windows besides the cab and rear doors. This is the ultimate stranger danger model unfortunately due to its lack of side windows.
I love this van and for me a large part of the charm is the fact that it's the base model. Notice that the grill, bumpers, and mirrors are painted as opposed to chrome; every trim level above the base had those niceties as opposed to plain white.
This cool '70s logo was instrumental in pinpointing the vintage of this ride. This era of Chevy van ran from 1973-1977 but only in this final year was the number on top of a stylized sun. One thing that ran throughout the '70s on Chevy trucks is the use of that wild west font with the heavy serifs on the letters.
*The 10 refers to the load capabilities. Heavier-duty models were the G20 and G30.
I love how righteously plain this thing is. At first glance those square taillights seem to be the same as those used on Chevy trucks of the same vintage. However the truck versions are curved and wrap around the corners of the pickup bed slightly. This is a great example of lending continuity across different models from the same company.
I couldn't find a current listing for PAUL Chevrolet in Brooklyn but it's surprising that this vehicle still resides in its hometown. Being a base model van in the sort of garish color favored by municipalities makes me think this might have had some official use originally. Everything about this van screams FLEET VEHICLE. This is the sort of vehicle that brought road cones to job sites back in the day.
Plain white wheels and budget hubcaps complete the zero-frills look. That single exhaust makes me believe this ride has the stock inline 6-cylinder under its stubby hood. If it's really as basic as it looks it has a three-on-the-tree manual transmission too.
Someone added a little tinted window to the side in a crude manner.
How basic is it inside? Well there was never a radio installed which jibes with the fact that there's no antenna on the outside. Above the heater controls are two more blank squares where optional equipment would be. From here the floor looks to have a black rubber mat as opposed to carpet. Even the door panels look to be pressed metal.
This is 1977 though so even the base van has cool brown plaid seats!
Well we'll leave this orange lunchbox to roam the streets of its native borough. Evidence of a break-in on the top center of the grill probably stems from someone looking to lift the battery way back when. The customization possibilities are endless for plain panel vans like this so it's remarkable to see one so normal and untouched. I've had a few vans in my time and would gladly roll around town in this beast given the chance.

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