By on September 12, 2010

The Mitsubishi Vanup turned out out to be surprisingly popular: Fark picked it up and gave our servers a bit of a workout. Well, we have more where that came from. Here’s a very well executed domestic version on the same theme, right down to the “Chevy Vanup” tailgate logo and VANUP vanity plates. But unless the owners (UO students) do something about it quick, this thing is headed for the impound yard. And how will it be described by the police?

I didn’t catch the tailgate and plates until I looked at these shots, otherwise I would have bothered to walk across the street and get a better shot.

I saw this vanup in a frat parking lot last spring several times, but didn’t make the effort to get close to it. And when I realized that the school year was up this summer, I suddenly got regretful, given the odds that the frats would not be returning. But there it was on the street the other day, obviously parked there for some time, because the police have gotten pretty aggressive with it. It rarely goes to this stage with a boot. There’s some evidence underneath the rear end that perhaps the vanup is ailing, and won’t drive away under its own steam. Well, it’ll get help with that real soon.

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20 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Chevy VanUp...”

  • avatar

    I wonder if there’s a gov’t classification for such things? Presumably ‘custom’.

    Back in the ’60s, IIRC the details correctly, my dad and uncle took a frame (and engraved VIN or whatever I’d) and put on it a very large engine and not a lot else. They called it “the beast”.

    At one point my dad got pulled over in this thing, which was about two feet tall and had bodywork pounded out with a big hammer. The cop asked him what it was, and without batting an eyelash he said, “It’s a Chevrolet.”

    The cop asked about the engine and let him go.

  • avatar

    The new rear cap on the van cab looks to be well done, and the matched striping speaks to an intent to make it look “finished”.
    But I’m at a loss as to what prompted the installation of a shell on the pickup bed, as that seems to render the whole conversion moot.

  • avatar

    I used to see similar conversions driving around fairly regularly, but not as nicely finished.  Someone would take the cab and chassis of a cubevan and attach a pickup box on the back.  With the box positioned properly so the wheelwells lined-up with the rear wheels, there would be a sizeable gap between the back of the cab and the front of the box, which most owners just left as-is.

  • avatar

    That gap and slight mismatch between the bed and the van body makes the whole thing look like it’s frame is slowly bending in half.  Could it just be the way I’m seeing it?

    • 0 avatar

      Most likely just that the two pieces never precisely lined up with each other. No  reason to expect that they would. They’re distinctly different shapes.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark G Eros

      That generation of Chevy van was unibody construction. The bed, obviously from a BOF pickup. Thus the mismatch due to the back of the van body being hacked off compromising the torsional rigidty of the remaining floor pan?
      Guessing here …

  • avatar

    No matter how long I look at it I still think you used the wrong definition of the word executed

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Yeah with the “cap” I don’t really see how it’s more useful than a cargo van.  Unless you regularly haul smelly loads… although this van is sitting in front of a frat house.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Wow, at some point someone drove that thing from Maine to Oregon. Ack, the nightmares :).

  • avatar

    Was in the 1970s that Car & Driver???  ran an article about the wealthy guy who converted his BIG Cadillac into an El Camino-type vehicle with the rear half of the car being a quasi-pick-up bed to allow his pet goat to ride around the town with him?
    The conversion was quite-well done and had the appearance of rolling out of the factory that way.
    The goat had a bale of food to eat and appeared to be quite content riding in back.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember the C&D article on the Cadmino. IIRC, there were two of them. I don’t recall the difference (or if the same guy owned both) but it’s correct that at least one of them was done well enough to appear like it was a fractory job.

      Maybe someone can dig through their old C&D mags and post a pic.

  • avatar

    No doubt owned by yet another model citizen….

  • avatar

    Lordy, what are the chances of seeing any car from Maine all the way out in Oregon, never mind this abomination? If it ever makes it’s way home, I hope I never see it!

  • avatar

    “That generation of Chevy van was unibody construction.”
    I thought only the lightest duty versions were unibody.  The heavier duty ones had a frame.

  • avatar

    A unibody van might be better described as having the body welded to the frame, rather than bolted though rubber mounts in a body on frame vehicle. There are still a distinct body and frame and they don’t seem integrated into a single whole like a modern unibody car.

  • avatar

    Living in Maine, I can only imagine the Mainers that put this thing together. Yankee ingenuity is what I guess it could be classified as.

  • avatar

    As far as I am concerned, this is no worse than any other Chevy van of its vintage.  If it was a unibody, it is the loosest, most rattle-prone unibody ever made.   We all have those vehicles that somehow generate a visceral dislike that borders on hatred.  Longtime readers will recall that mine is this generation of Chevy van.
    I say that this vehicle has been put to its highest and best use.  Now, let’s round up the rest of them and put this customizer to work!

  • avatar

    Remeber the big 5th wheel RV hauler conversions from the 80’s?  Back before crew cab pick ups were popular, some of the van conversion companies took E-350 dually cuttaways and added an extended cab and fiberglass p/u bed.  There is one down the street from me – clean yet gawdy as ever….   

  • avatar

    I’ve seen some fullsized pickups with a cover just over the front of the bed. Looks almost like they added a rear seat under a fiberglass cover. What the heck is that? Extra cab space for stuff? Just honestly curious. Seen them in traffic, never up close.

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