CC Capsule: 1980s Chevrolet Starcraft Conversion Van – Why Solid Wood Cup Holders Didn’t Catch On

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(first posted 11/14/2013)    The seventies was the heyday of the custom or cruiser vans, lots of bold graphics, but pretty stripped from the factory. The shagadelic interior was essentially a DIY affair, to reflect one’s own vision of what that entailed. But by the eighties, folks were too busy making money to spend weekends cutting paneling and shag carpeting. So the conversion van was born, although undoubtedly it also reflected the the increasing disappearance of large station wagons as well as the the reappearance of cheap gas. Good taste was never part of the equation though, as this 1980s Starcraft makes pretty clear. Wait till you see the dash “conversion”, with the solid wood cupholders.

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Before we peek inside, let’s take in this rainbow-hued exterior first. This one is in very good shape indeed.

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If somebody can keep these endlessly-changing Chevy grilles straight and tell us the year (or range of years), you’re a better man than I. But it seems to say mid-late 1980s to me. And these big vans tend to sell well when gas is stable or cheap, and the economy is doing well. Did someone trade in a Chevy Citation on this one?

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So here’s the really good part; check out that massive dash center panel. Looks like it was hand carved practically. Let’s zoom in on that.

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Looks like the solid wood cup holder broke in half, though, right along its grain. Too bad; who else can claim to have a solid wood cup holder?

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The back? Ugh. Looks like someone’s either living out of this one, or hasn’t cleaned up in way too long. I’ve seen it parked near the university for a couple of years, and I suspect the former.

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