Cody's Car Talk: The GMC Vandura

A 1983 GMC Vandura A-team Van

BY CODY FACTEAU

"If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find one, you should drive a 1983 GMC Vandura black and red van with a roaring five liter Chevy V8."

If you've been reading my column, then you know I occasionally cover a Hollywood icon vehicle. The reason for this? Just because! Often times, in real life, these vehicles are not all that great. But, thanks to Hollywood 'wizardry' these typical, ordinary cars come to life, have amazing power, speed and resilience and of course, everybody wants one. They have what is called, the 'Cool Factor.' And, the focus of this story is the infamous, the one, the only, the A-Team Van.

Now, the Chevrolet and GMC G-Series vans were made by General Motors for North America. They are in the same vehicle class as the Ford Econoline van and the Dodge Ram van. The first Chevrolet van was released in 1961 on the Corvair platform, and the latest Chevrolet van in production is the Chevrolet Express and the GMC Savana. The 1983 GMC Vandura, the A-Team van, was referred to by GM as a G20 series. The G20's replaced the original Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier Van in the late 60's and the model line evolved until 1996 when it was replaced by the Chevrolet Express. The G20's low cost of upkeep, size, and options have made this van popular with all different kinds of trades, from carpenters to caterers and your occasional Special Forces team.

I did a little investigative recon and was amazed at what I discovered! I found out that the movie studio that produced the TV series actually used six GMC vans. But, they also did more than that. If you check out scenes from the TV episodes, and if you look sharp, you will see Chevy vans with blacked out logos in action scenes and an occasional Ford Econoline working as a stunt double, typically getting blowed up or taking a jump. It is a common mistake for some people to think the van is all black with a red stripe, when actually the area above the stripe is gray and this critical paint error was even continued by most toy manufacturers. Sometimes the van has a sunroof and in some shots, it does not. Now the van used in the A-Team movie was a different year GMC van altogether. A 1994 GMC van played this role, three of them in fact, and this impressive looking fifth member of the A-Team sadly had only a small role in the movie, getting squashed by a roof top air conditioner. I kinda expected to see more of it, but that's just me being a typical gear head. One of the original six vans used in the A-Team TV series is currently on display in the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, northern England and the movie version was on display at the 2010 New York International Auto Show.

Down to the nitty gritty. How would I rate this movie vehicle, on the 'Cool Factor' scale? I'd give it a 9 out of 10. Yea, I know it's not a muscle car like the General Lee or an exotic sports car like the Back to the Future time machine Delorean. Nevertheless, I wouldn't mind having one and think in the world of vans, it's what every van must want to be. So, in these famous last words, "I pity the fool ... that doesn't like my van."

Cody Facteau is a 16-year old homeschooler from East Burke. He enjoys anything to do with cars, particularly the Classics. He loves Le Mans racing, his favorite TV shows are Gearz with Stacey David & Top Gear (BBC), hobbies are Legos and PlayStation. Career goals? What else, cars!

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