By on May 31, 2011

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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8 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1977 GMC Rally STX Van...”

  • avatar

    Wow, that thing still looks like it’s in decent shape. I’m surprised that it has no air conditioning (at least I didn’t see that on the service parts identification label).

    Funny how LS9 meant the 350 cubic inch V8 back then; that code means something else entirely in a new ZR1. It would make for an interesting conversion, though!

    • 0 avatar

      My thoughts exactly. For over 170K it is in great shape. For a van guy this would make a great project. I wonder how many project vehicles could find homes if there was a way to market them before crushing them. Amazing how even 70’s stuff lasts when there is no road salt.

  • avatar

    Only once in my life did I consider a van as a purchase, and that was in the mid-70’s. I would’ve bought a short-wheelbase version and mildly fix up the interior for traveling and camping, but nothing fancy. Wound up buying a three-quarter-ton Chevy pickup and put a shell on the back. Just as big a mistake, too, though I did use it for the purpose intended ’til I got married.

    A friend bought a 1975 broze/brown full-size Chevy van – stick shift and nothing else – don’t remember whether a six or a V8. He did fix up the interior with paneling and all, including adding portholes in the rear sides. He did travel with his. He had it for several years, too. It was a 70’s thing – you had to be there to understand.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of a bumper sticker one of my fraternity brothers had on his beat up old van… this was in the late ’80s and the van was already old and rusty. It was light blue with porthole windows and floor to ceiling gold specked shag carpet… ah, the memories:

    “Don’t Laugh Mister, Your Daughter Might Be In Here.”

  • avatar

    I’ve worked service crew at stage rallies in sketchier vans than that!

  • avatar

    Strange as it may seem, when I hear the word ‘Rally’ it doesn’t conjure up the image of a 1977 GMC van.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.


    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.

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