CC Outtake: 1980 Dana V-Drive 4WD GMC School Van – A Rarity Indeed

Well here’s something you don’t see everyday.(ED: that’s an understatement. I’ve never heard of the V-Drive, or have long since forgotten about it. It’s a very innovative approach, and only some 1600 GM and Ford vans ever used it.)  Not only is it a 4×4 School van but, it’s a Dana V-Drive 4×4! For those of you not familiar with the V-Drive system here is a picture of the underside of one.

And if you want the technical stuff here is a link to the original patent application: (ED: the point of it was to allow drive to the front wheels while still retaining the independent front suspension, and stock ride height, instead of the solid front axles that were typical for 4×4 conversion vans)

The van belongs to Mr. Williams of Albany, OR who bought it from a man in Gold Hill, OR; the same place my 4×4 Chevy van came from! It was originally built for a Minnesota School district as evidenced by the rust. Having grown up in Minnesota and endured many a hairy school bus trip,  I can attest to the need for such a van.

Mr. Williams also received the original manuals for the four-wheel-drive system and all the service and purchase records when he bought it. A pretty dang good find!

A lovely shade of government Interior Green (Federal Standard #24585) adorns the inside.

It seems to be running find and the V-Drive seems to be in working condition.

As you can see the previous owner spent a lot of time on the paint (to each his own I guess).