By on May 16, 2019

In The Current Year, new car lots are filled with family-friendly adventure vehicles. They’ve got lots of seats, lots of cladding, and some sort of system to drive all four wheels (even if it’s a lousy system like on the CR-V). But our Rare Ride comes from a time when family 4×4 options were much fewer in number. 1989 was a very different time for the adventuresome family buyer.

Enter Quigley, and the Chevrolet Beauville.

First we’ll talk Quigley. The company started out as a car dealership in Massachusetts, Bill Quigley Auto Sales, in 1966. The dealership added campers and trailers to its lot and started customizing vans in the early Seventies. Motor homes were next on the menu. The dealer’s relationship with GM grew stronger, and the genesis for extra-capable vans came in 1974 when Quigley first added a 4×4 system to a Chevrolet Van.

Quigley is still around today, customizing and adding four-wheel drive systems to GM, Ford, and Nissan vans. Their most recent product addition is a 4×4 Ford Transit. Now, on to Beauville.

Chevrolet first used the Beauville name in 1954, adding it to the wagon variant of the popular Bel Air family sedan. The trend didn’t last long; the last Beauville 210 wagon rolled off the assembly line in 1957. The name didn’t resurface until 1971, when it served as a trim level for Chevrolet’s “Van.”

Of course, the Van Chevrolet sold in 1971 was nearly the same one the company sold in 1995. For a full 24 years, the third-generation Chevrolet Van rolled out of factories in Lordstown, Ohio, Flint, Michigan, and Scarborough, Ontario (which is a part of Downtown Canada).

The third-generation Van marked a departure for Chevrolet, as the first and second generations of 1964 and ’67, respectively, were of the mid-engine and forward control variety. Those were called Handi-Van and Handi-Bus by GMC, and Sportvan by Chevrolet. The more modern front-engine, rear-drive layout was based on the long-lived C/K truck platform. Trims had names like Bonaventure, Nomad, Bonanza, and of course Beauville.

Engines ranged from a thrifty-ish 4.1-liter inline-six through a thirsty 7.4-liter gasoline V8, with a couple of diesels in between. Transmissions were of three- or four-speed manual or automatic variety.

The buyer of today’s Rare Ride went with a luxurious Beauville trim for the basis of their van. With a Chevrolet 350 and four-speed automatic to shift all the tweed and curtains, extra capability was added via the Quigley 4×4 conversion — at a cost of $10,000. Original deep-dish wheels compliment the tidy blue and gray two-tone theme. With 78,000 miles on the clock, this go-anywhere family van asks $14,500.

[Images: seller]

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32 Comments on “Rare Rides: This Chevrolet Beauville Is a Quigley 4×4 From 1989...”

  • avatar

    I’ve always heard positive things about Quigley’s work from an assembly standpoint. – Hey they’re still in business!

    • 0 avatar

      Daniel, the article says that and provides that link.

    • 0 avatar

      Quigley is still in business in the county west of me. This particular Beauville van was origninally sold in the county north of me.

      I drove my siblings to teen events in an anemic ’82 Chevrolet van with a 305 as it was the family hauler. Acceleration was downright dangerous. My father went to several repair shops trying to chase a bad carb cough without success until a “test pipe” replaced the original cat. It was like the van found 40-hp!

      The van took the family west in the summer of ’86. Five weeks and 11K miles across the US & the Canadian plains. Nary a problem during the trip except for a very weak battery that was replaced at a Sears in Salinas. Great memories!

  • avatar


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    If you are paying for the Quigley conversion, then why not go for the full ‘disco’ conversion with table and fold out bed?

    Can anyone read the VIN to see which plant it was manufactured in? GM Scarborough had a considerable influence/impact on my early life.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t tell where it was made.

    • 0 avatar

      …and the bumper sticker that reads “Don’t Laugh. Your Daughter’s Back Here.”

      What is that lever between the seats and halfway into the back? It doesn’t look to be the e-brake – it looks to be foot operated. Is that the 4×4 control gear lever?

      Growing up, some neighbor friends of ours had a similar conversion van. Their attitude was “Who needs a minivan???” Excellent cruiser that van. Of course gas prices in the Midwest 35 years ago didn’t mean that you’d bankrupt yourself filling up the beast. Ahh…memories.

      • 0 avatar

        Must be the transfer case shifter. A little forward and toward the passenger side of that spot is where the 4-speed shifter came out of the floor of the Dodge B350 that occasionally drove me to scout camp.

    • 0 avatar

      Window sticker has the VIN.
      Cant see it.

      GM s of that era – made in canada had the small round 0.75″ Dia. Baby blue with maple leaf. Customs Sticker. (Canada Customs > to USA) Inside drivers door below lock mechanism.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Cool write up. I washed quite a few Chevy vans at the dealership of this vintage from middle school to HS.Conversion vans were quite popular in 80s to early 90s. Usually for the families that outgrew the Grand Wagoneers. Eventually conversion Suburbans became just as popular. I’m surprised how long it took OEMs to figure out people would keep paying for more luxury in their trucks.All they had to do was listen to their dealers.
    Quigley is a legitimate outfitter for the gov’t contracts based on their impressive quality. I have fondness for campy 80s remake and the new TC on Magnum PI drives a conversion 4wd van that’s pretty sweet.

  • avatar

    As I recall, these 4X4 conversion vans were quite pricey. One of the folks who could afford it was future Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, who pitched for the Cardinals at the same time my friend and I ran a car washing service during summer vacations. He was one of our regular customers.

    We got paid extra one time to clean out a veritable mountain of beer cans that Sutter and some other guy on the team (I want to say it was Whitey Herzog) had piled up in the back during an excursion of some sort.

    Sutter and his wife were very nice folks, by the way.

  • avatar

    BASED on the full-size C-10/20/30 pickups…the word “based” is the important part.

    Many of the front suspension parts interchange between the vans and pickups.

    But climb underneath and you’ll find a front subframe attached to a reinforced unibody with “rails” that seem at first glance like a frame until you look closer and learn that they’re welded to and are part of the body.

    The new body style that rolled out for 1995 was the first Chevy Van to actually have a full frame, excepting the HD cab/chassis models that had always had a frame underneath.

  • avatar

    “‘Cause like a princess she was laying there
    Moonlight dancing off her hair
    She woke up and took me by the hand
    She’s gonna love me in my Chevy van and that’s all right with me” – Chevy Van

    Oh well, someone was going to say it ;-)

  • avatar

    I grew up a km away from the Scarborough Van plant. One of my earliest memories is passing by all the van cabs stacked along the yard’s fence, along with a line up of smashed cars parked in front of the scrap yard just down the street.

    I ended up working at a big box hardware store that was built on the land in 2000.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      The ‘Golden Mile’. Home to a great many car dealerships, many of which are gone. For over a decade there was even a TVR dealership. And Golden Mile Chev which specialized in ‘hot’ Corvettes.

      More importantly from the late 1940’s until the late 1960’s there were up to 24,000 ‘good’ manufacturing jobs in that general area.

      Started with GECO the large munitions factory for WWII. Some of its buildings and tunnels still exist.

      After the war General Electric, Frigidaire, Rootes Motors (they actually assembled British made/imported vehicles), General Motors, SKF, Thermos, Lily Cup (the entrance to their plant was shaped like a large ‘dixie’ cup, Alcan, and many more. VW Canada had their Head Office there for decades.

      ‘Good’ jobs defined as once employed by one of these companies you could buy a suburban home, your partner could stay home and raise the kids, you could buy a new car every 4 to 5 years, afford to send your kids to college/university, and retire with a company pension.

      These are now replaced primarily by retail jobs, in big box stores.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    4×4 full size vans are super cool, and command decent money.

    I see way more Ford 4×4 then Chevy. Thank you for finding this one.

  • avatar

    “Complement”, not “compliment” (unless the wheels can speak).

    Great find on the van!

  • avatar
    formula m

    Don’t think the author has any clue how the awd system in the current generation CRV works. Can send up to 70% of the power to the rear axel and allocate 100% the power to the left of right wheel. Very similar to the previous SH AWD system from Acura.

    I spent a summer cleaning brush for Hydro up in northern Ontario and spent time driving a GMC Vandura 4wd conversion van. It barely fit down the grown in bush roads, we put so many scratches on the exterior from tree branches and stumps. The winch cable snapped when we tried to winch out of a hole.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, the system can do that. But how long does it take? How much wheel slippage is allowed before the system figures out what’s going on?

      I’ve seen it in person, and it was a pathetic display.

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        I completely agree with the assessment on the time delay being too long on the previous gen CRV 2012-2016. This new system was incredibly capable and we had a horrible winter here in Ottawa, even by canadian standards. It doesn’t even rely on wheel slippage to activate.

        ” Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System make slipping and sliding a fear of the past. Real Time AWD doesn’t wait for the front two tires to slip for the distribution of power to adjust and regain control. Instead, the multi-plate clutch and intelligent control system work together to instantly react to any harsh weather conditions and ensure a smooth ride throughout all trips. Although the AWD system works independently without any input from the driver, it can be initiated manually if necessary.

    • 0 avatar

      Since the 2012 model year, CR-V AWD has been engaged whenever moving off from a stop. It’s actually one of the best systems once you factor in reliability and operating costs.

    • 0 avatar

      “Can send up to 70% of the power to the rear axel”

      That doesn’t sound right at all.

      Yes a ton of the modern AWD systems shuttle power to the back mroe rapidly than in the past, but it seems like the total amount of torque transferred tends to be too low, as demonstrated by most of these rather feckless crossovers failing even mild loose-surface hillclimbs

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        It’s the same system on the new Acura RDX.

        “Last but not least, the new RDX also gains Acura’s torque vectoring SH-AWD system, which was absent in the model it replaces. It can distribute up to 70 percent of the power to the rear axle and all of it can be delivered to either side for the benefit of handling and improved traction.”

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        The new crv has a torque display mode that shows you the split of torque to each wheel.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with you, gtem.

        When these companies can show me how the torque either side of a single inline locked-up clutch can possibly be different, it will be the day I’ll believe in magic.

        All of these AWD “systems” with transverse engines have PERMANENT front wheel drive. There is no clutch to the front wheels and drive there is direct. Nobody can show me a single example that is not.

        Therefore, the rear can only receive as much torque as the front when that inline clutch to the rear is fully engaged. 70% torque to the rear is physically impossible with such a system. We’ve been “lied” to by manufacturers for decades. They have some theory that “overdriving” the rear wheels by gearing in the rear diff somehow means more torque will magically appear in the rear prop drive shaft than the front when the two shafts are locked together. It’s not possible.

        Think about an engine and manual transmission with its clutch. When the clutch is engaged, the torque to the tranmission input shaft is the same as the engine produces. It’s not more! Or the transmission would drive the engine and we’d have free energy. Downhill is the only scenario that comes to mind when one’s foot tends to be off the gas somewhat.

        The same reasoning applied to the inline clutch to the rear wheels, means that because FWD is direct at all times, the rear end can only end up with the same torque as the front if the clutch is fully engaged and not slipping. So that would be half each, not more to the rear. If the rear wheels are geared to turn faster in such circumstances than the front, but the tires are NOT slipping, only the Creator can explain why the back of the vehicle doesn’t overtake the front. Or one can examine reality and realize the inline clutch is not locked up completely and absorbs the difference in speed between front and rear driveshafts that results.

        The tires when they’re not slipping ensure that torque front to rear remains the same bar a few percent of tread slip. Certainly not twenty. It’s why the Subaru DCCD in the STI with five positions does bugger all in reality except when it is in the locked position. The other four positions are just messing around with three or four percent of the torque, and then only around curves, not in a straight line.

        The only AWD systems that can have real torque differences front to rear are the higher end Audi systems with a Torsen center differential, because a Torsen can actually deliver different torque to its two outputs – it has no clutch. And those big Audis DO NOT have fixed FWD like all the other minnows out there claiming miracles. But even then, the road wheels, if they’re not slipping, equalize everything back to 50/50 front to rear anyway.

        Not even the designers seem to remember that the tires enforce equal torque front to rear, or even a bit less than the same to the rear as the front in the case of the single inline clutch, which is all that an RDX has. Or anything else that is actually roadworthy with a single inline clutch. They dupe themselves and then us with missing the point on several fronts.

        A pet peeve of mine for decades. They trained me as a mech eng and then tried to slide incorrect arguments past me. Don’t even get me going on planetary diffs having different torques at their two outputs (unless one output becomes unloaded). Incompetence rules, and this last fairy tale dates from the Ferguson Formula Four AWD system from 1967, the first ever, which nobody has since bothered to correct; indeed, this mistruth has been promoted ever since.

        Some bright spark will up and say, well I believe Honda not you, internet freak, and all I can say is, balderdash. Believe what you want. I’m interested in the truth, not references from companies who haven’t thought things through. I’ve only driven AWD vehicles since 1988,and my ’94 Audi 90 with Torsen center diff was by far the best. Obviously so in snow and ice, you didn’t have to sit back and consider the matter. Second best is the Legacy GT with their version of auto DCCD and an actual center diff, but not a Torsen. The inline clutch jobs have been band-aids — better than nothing but not amazing. How could they be in anyone but a marketing hero’s mind? No wonder some of them can’t clamber up a minor grass bank from rest.

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