Junkyard Find: 1977 GMC Rally STX Van

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1977 gmc rally stx van

Custom vans got big enough by 1977 that Detroit got into the business of making crypto-custom passenger vans right at the factory. While plaid upholstery with sporty STX logos doesn’t quite measure up to a mural of Zeus hurling lightning bolts at an Aztec warrior on the Mars Base (with matching four-foot airbrushed bong in a special bracket next to the driver’s seat), The General still moved a fair number of STXs during the Middle Malaise Era.

My parents had a close cousin of this van when I was a kid, and I spent many hours squabbling with my sisters in GM passenger-van bench seats just like these. I wonder how they’d look in my ’66 Dodge.

Loaded! Heavy-duty shocks and springs, 350 engine, “Buckskin” cloth interior, 3.40 gears, and an AM pushbutton radio. The one-ton Rally STX (the trim level above both the VanDura and Rally vans) retailed at $5,871, versus $4,496 for the one-ton VanDura. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about 22 grand for the STX. The current GMC Savana starts at $28K, which means Malaise van buyers got out of the showroom with more of their rapidly depreciating dollars still in their wallets.

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  • Jeffer Jeffer on May 31, 2011

    I drove a Shorty '79 Chevy G-10 350 propane powered van for 3 years, and I loved everything about it. It was my work service van and was solid, super dependable and with the posi diff; nearly impossible to get stuck. It was already 11 years old and high mileage when I got it, but had been well-maintained. Another Service tech had it after me, and after numerous fender benders it was retired.

  • Obbop Obbop on May 31, 2011

    As the boot camp company marched then marched more then more, relentlessly, endlessly, toting those bolt-action Springfield rifles filled with lead to make them heavier I drooled every time we passed the black Chevy van parked near the base dental clinic where the quickest methods to perform the needed dental care upon us less-than-human worms, society's dregs, were sent for dental inspection and the least amount of care that had to be rendered. Sub-humans unworthy of any consideration other than keeping us alive so that no Senators inquired about any of us to appease some buttinski mother at home concerned about her vile spawn losing a few teeth or found bleeding to death in the shower or hauled off after performing the final fatal task efficiently without screwing up; thus attaining a momentary notification to the rest of us dregs from the company commander (Navy term for drill instructor, DI)that at least there was one among us that could do something properly. That van represented freedom to me. Mobility. A couple times the enlisted dental tech had the rear open as we marched past yet again. Carpets upon floor, walls and roof.Shag-type, of course. Bright orange. Some wood paneling but not much. A bed and bean bag chairs. Drool. Funds later, post-boot camp, allowed buying a used Plymouth Duster and that was fine with me. Vans were selling at a premium in California back then, always beyond my financial reach for a half-way decent one, even in the used market. I still recall the feelings that Chevy van created in my dreg brain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiEIToOWr64

  • MaintenanceCosts Will the Bronco have a four-motor configuration a la Rivian? That seems to me like the right approach for an EV off-roader. Enables lots of neat tricks.
  • Lou_BC ERay? A southern model will be the BillyRay.
  • Lou_BC I've never used a car buying plan service. My Costco membership did get me 1,000 cash back on my last truck.
  • Jeff S I can understand 8 cars is a bit much unless you are a serious collector. I always loved the Challenger when it first came out and now. I don't need a car like this but I am glad it exists at least for 1 more year. If I had a choice between a Mustang, a Camaro, and a Challenger I would opt for a Challenger but probably with a V-6 since it has more than enough power for most and I don't need to be burning rubber. Challenger has the classic muscle car looks, more cabin room, and a decent size trunk which makes it very livable for day to day driving and for traveling. The base models of the Dodge Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gives you 305 horsepower with 268 lb-ft torque. The car attains 60 mph from a standstill within just 6 seconds, which is quite fast. Even with their base engines, the Challenger and Camaro are lightning-fast. The Camaro reaches 165 mph, while the Challenger can go up to 11 mph faster!
  • Inside Looking Out I would avoid American cities if I can. European cities are created for humans and Americans for cars.