Saturday, November 19, 2016

The cutest vehicle in Brooklyn!

Please remove your hats and show a little respect as the winner for Cutest Vehicle in Brooklyn is here. I mean really, look at this thing. This is basically anime come to life!
This is a 1966 GMC Handivan in Light Green. If this thing doesn't put a smile on your face you're dead inside.
Can I get a quick shout-out for that mini window between the side doors?
This is known as either a Cab Over or Cab Forward design due to the fact that the front seats are basically on top of the axle. The engine is sitting in the cab between the seats in what's known as the doghouse. To work on it you have to go inside the vehicle and remove the large doghouse cover.
This close up shows everything you need to pinpoint the vintage. The perfectly flat windshield means it is the 1st generation which spans 1964-1966. In '65 that extra 2-hole slot appeared between the bumper and the grill behind the license plate. In '66 the antennae was moved to the drivers side from the passengers.
I always assumed that this was the original Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. Most people online feel that it is a Chevy Van (which was identical to the GMC versions) but perhaps the 2nd generation; '67-'70. Then I read somewhere that there is an episode where the Mystery Machine overheats and the gang goes around back to the check the engine which would mean either a VW Bus or a Corvan (the van version of the Chevy Corvair). However again (!) both of those are air-cooled so any steam arising from the overheated engine cancels those out. Mystery Machine indeed!
Those classic rims are known as Kidney Bean wheels due to the shape of the openings.
Supposedly reverse lights were added to the rear of the 1966 lineup. With the antennae placement that of a '66 I guess this could be either a late '65 or early '66 model. This is first and foremost a utility vehicle like a truck so yearly changes sometimes happened whenever an old part ran out or a new one arrived even if it was mid-year.
The chrome bumpers are somewhat deluxe as the base model would have white painted ones. The fact that this is loaded with windows means it was originally a passenger van as opposed to strictly a work truck. Choosing GMC as opposed to Chevy for a passenger rig is curious as the Chevy is generally more passenger oriented and the GMC more for work. As a result this is probably a pretty rare ride.
Even though it looks like a little toy check out how Handivan is looming over that wack minivan. It actually seems like a bit of a bully!
Leaning forward in all caps HANDI-VAN is up to the task! The door handles are lovely '60s style.
Here we can see the doghouse in the middle with some sweet vintage wooden cupholder scenario. Air conditioning and power steering simply weren't available on the 1st generation Handivan so the options are limited to the radio (an obviously terrible '80s replacement shown here) and the automatic transmission. If it were a manual trans it would look very similar to this setup as a 3-on-the-tree, but that column mounted gear selector window wouldn't be there.
Well that's where we'll leave this indescribably charming little lunchbox.
The Ford and Dodge vans of this era are equally cute and share many of the same features as or hero here. I would love any of them and feel that if I ever got a hold of one I'd never let go. I'm sure that when you're driving one of these down the road you're basically on parade. Hats off lil' Handivan!

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