Junkyard Outtake: Pretty Wild For A G-Van


Okay, so maybe it’s not that wild, considering all the forms of seating that have been installed in Chevy vans over the years. But to find them in a self-serve junkyard today, certainly is!

Junkyard Outtakes normally come to you every Friday – but for CC’s Van Week, I decided to throw in a bonus post. The regularly scheduled Junkyard Outtake will still appear this Friday. Enjoy!

Early this past summer, I was scouting parts for a recently acquired ’77 Chevy G10 shorty (which will be featured in an upcoming COAL) when I stumbled upon this rig. It was a 1979 G30 camper van, and it was a real trip. Two-tone orange and cream paint, wood paneling, gold shag carpet, trucker mirrors, dual sunroofs – and these rather unique swivel buckets.


Other than the driver’s inner armrest having been detached, they were in mighty nice shape. The vinyl was still soft-ish, and the saddle blanket style cloth middles were fairly clean too.

I removed a wheelbarrow full of trim and accessories from this van – which, sadly, I didn’t think to take any further pictures of. I debated pulling the seats too, but balked at their non-negotiable $60 price. Unsure whether I ought to abandon them, I snapped a couple of quick pics and send them to my old man (for whom I was picking the van parts) to solicit his opinion. He didn’t waste any time in calling back to say “no”.

The swivel bases went home with me that day, but the seats’ fate remains a mystery. Hopefully the style clicked for some other customer who spared them from the crusher. (The van was long since flattened by the next time I returned.)


Speaking of orange-and-white Chevy vans, there is one other in my picture library. (It’s a double bonus!)


I didn’t realize all the similarities between this van and the one mentioned above until now. They were only a year apart (this being a ’78), they were both one-tons, they both wore two-tone paint (though this one is Cardinal Red), and they both had some interesting options – which included the seating.


More swivel buckets – factory this time – in plaid cloth. They’d need more than a good cleaning to be used again, but they were cool nonetheless.

For all their similarities, there were differences too. Rather than a wet bar in back, this one was filled with boxes of NOS Volvo parts that I couldn’t identify. Instead of aftermarket mags, this one wore steelies with the usual Chevy hubcaps.


And instead of a plain vanilla 350, this one was motivated by a small-block 400. Not something you see everyday under the hood of a van! It also had a Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic, which was not only useful in and of itself, but also meant this van could provide the crossmember and other uncommon parts needed for a future swap.

Those three pictures were taken during the final days of one of my favorite junkyards. The yard owner had been trying unsuccessfully for months to sell the yard – and one day, bang! New owners were coming in a week! I scrambled to pull as many things as I could before the day came; rumor was that the new owner was going to crush everything immediately. Turned out the rumor was mostly true.

Unfortunately for this one, I could only pull so much in the few days I had. I did haul off several pickup-loads of ’60s Chevy truck parts, a complete Saab, a couple sets of ’70s aftermarket wheels (Cragar SSes and Keystone Klassics), and lots of more mundane things – so it wasn’t a total catastrophe. But this is one, along with several others, that I still wish I’d gotten to.

Both the vans seen here are now rolling down that great highway in the sky; I suppose that’s one more thing they have in common.

Moral of the story: the time to buy old parts is when you first see ’em… you never know when they’ll be gone.