Cohort Outtakes: Extended Body gen1 Vans – How About a Column-Shifted Four-Speed in Your Chevy?

Perusing the Cohort these past few days, I couldn’t help but notice that two of the Bog Three extended body gen1 vans were represented. And tonight, the third one joined the party, this Chevy 108 van shot by Curtis Perry.. So let’s take a look at what America’s perpetual need for growth resulted in.

As you all know, in 1961 the first domestic compact vans arrived to do battle with the VW Transporter/bus. That was the Ford Econoline and Chevy Corvan/Greenbrier, both of which were only a bit bigger than than the VW. The Chevy van succeeded the Corvan, still in short format, and the Dodge A100 joined the party.

But after Ford extended the rear end of the Econoline in 1964, Chevy and Dodge fired back with something even better: an extended body with an actual extended wheelbase!

The 1967 A108 now had a 108″ wheelbase, and it quickly became popular for various camper conversions. This one was shot by William Rubano.

Although the new LA 318 was optional, this one is obviously slant six powered. The big advantage of these van was that they were their own garages, when it came to working on the engines. I put that to good use in my own A100.

The A108 had better weight distribution as well as a better ride than its short wheelbase brother.

The revised Chevy Van with an available long version (108″ wb) also arrived in 1967. And it too now offered V8 power, everything from the 283 to even a 350 in its last year (1970).  And Chevy offered something else starting in 1968: a column-shifted four speed. Now that’s a new one to me, and I can’t help but wonder why, and how many were sold. But there it is, right in the brochure.

We’ve covered these vans before, but I always manage to learn something new. A column-shifted four-speed in the Chevy vans? With a 350? That should scoot, once the rear wheels hook up.