Rare Rides: An All-wheel Drive Chevrolet Astro RV From 1991
Today’s RV is smaller than either of those, but it can also fit into normal parking spaces. It’s the 1991 Provan Tiger GT.
Before this Rare Ride had a bathroom on board, it was a Chevrolet Astro van. The Astro and its twin the GMC Safari were produced for two decades. The vans debuted for the 1985 model year, and remained relatively unchanged until the last one rolled of the line at Baltimore Assembly (during the plant’s closure) in 2005. The Astro was the first minivan from General Motors, and was introduced in response to Chrysler’s wildly successful minivans.
GM used the S-10 truck platform for their vans, in contrast to the front-drive car basis of Chrysler’s offerings. The Astro was initially available in standard wheelbase only, in cargo and passenger versions. Seating totals ranged between two and eight. All-wheel drive became an option in 1990, and coincided with an extended-length version which rode on the same wheelbase. Power was provided by the unfortunate Iron Duke (98 hp), or more powerful 4.3-liter V6 (165hp). A manual transmission was available through 1989; after that, a four-speed automatic was the only option. A visual refresh and some updates in 1995 carried the Astro through to the bitter end. Let’s talk RVs.
Provan produces a line of recreational vehicles under the Tiger name, and continues doing business today. Retrofitting trucks in Columbia, South Carolina, Provan deals only in domestic one-ton trucks. They’ll build your truck into an RV to suit your requirements, so long as it’s American-branded and one-ton.
Today’s Tiger GT has one large room at the back, and features a convertible bed which will sleep as many as the owner cares to stack. Meals can be prepared via the propane-fueled range, and eaten on the fold-away dining table. All Provans (then and now) come equipped with a full bathroom, this one in particular lined with faux wood paneling.
All the extra living quarters add quite a bit of weight to the Astro. Fortunately, this one has the 4.3-liter engine, which the seller estimates will net 20 miles per gallon (no way). Front airbags are also indicated, so perhaps attention to detail isn’t a priority here. One thing’s for sure: It’s very clean. Other promises included a one-owner history, and 15,000 low miles. This van’s for sale on eBay for an easy $22,999. Adventure awaits!
Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.
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