Astro Van: Inspiration For The Xb? Plus A Gallery Of Custom Astros

I’m cursed; I can’t go for a drive without checking out every white Astro. I’ve been looking for years for just the right one to pose with my Xb. But I’m very picky; it has to be a short body version, but with the later small-headlight front end. I’m sure I saw one once, and I’ve been looking ever since (I think I’ve deluded myself on this one). It’s a peculiar form of self-punishment, and I’d like it to be over. This mildly customized one (via google) is about as close as it’s going to get.

So the question is, did the designers of the 2000 Toyota bB have a Chevy Astro Van brochure laying around when they cleaved their creation out of a big rectangle of clay in fifteen minutes? Or maybe just the box the clay came in. We’ll never know for sure, but they couldn’t not have been aware of its existence. American vans have always held a special sway in a segment of the Japanese auto-psyche, with all those customized retro-vans that are so popular there.

We’ll look at them another time, because today is Astro Day, and I’ve assembled a collection of the finest examples man has ever lain hands and SawZalls to. The AstroVan may have been a modest minivan, but as a blank slate box, upon which to Express the pent-up creativity of Astro Boys, it was an Astronomic success.

For those that claim the AstroVan rides too tall, the solution is obvious.

This one is appropriately named the Astroghini. Mid-engined V12? Easy; just bolt two 4.3 L V6s back to back.

Tired of gray mouse fur?

The AstroVan can also show a very different side of its multiple-personality disorder, especially in its AWD mode.

Or more serious campers.

Even the Japanese customizers have discovered the charms of the Xb’s spiritual parent. Now they should make a kit to turn the Xb into an Astro clone; or vice-versa.

Chopping seems to be a particularly popular fetish with the Astro crowd. How about, chopped, sectioned, channeled and lowered?

Opposites attract.

Mustn’t forget the AstroVertible, the counterpart to the infamous TransVertible.

For the vanilla crowd, a mild-mannered conversion Astro.

And the grand finale! I’m just not sure of what label this one earns, but it’s Astroriffic.