Rare Rides: An All-wheel Drive Chevrolet Astro RV From 1991

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

The Rare Rides series has touched on recreational vehicles twice in the past, when it featured a BMW-powered Vixen, and the custom fiberglass hodgepodge which was the MSV.

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!

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

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.

More by Corey Lewis

Join the conversation
7 of 33 comments
  • Roader Roader on Jul 20, 2019

    "The Astro was the first minivan from General Motors..." Ahem... https://www.corvair.org/chapters/corvanatics/Greenbrier.php

    • See 4 previous
    • Roader Roader on Jul 21, 2019

      @Lie2me Dodge came to the game pretty late: 1964, vs. 1961 for Chevy and Ford, and of course VW beat them by a decade. An entertaining "CORVAIR RAMPSIDE Vs FORD ECONOLINE advertising video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6RNp153JSw Check out the unloaded panic stop for the Econoline @2:30. I bet they had a fat driver and passenger in that Econoline.

  • JimmyGill JimmyGill on Aug 12, 2020

    " GM used the S-10 truck platform for their vans " No. No they did not. Only the engine and transmission are shared between the two. 1) The S-series uses a full ladder frame where the Astro/Safari are unibody with a bolt in front subframe. 2) The rear axle, while a 7.5" as in the S series, is a completely different width/lug pattern. It has as much in common with the S-10 axle as one from an 80's Camaro does. 3) The front suspension of the RWD Astro/Safari shares no major components such as A-arms or spindles with S-series. Those components in the Astro/Safari are more closely related to the GM B-body full size cars. The AWD Astro/Safari suspension is unique to those vehicles only.

  • SCE to AUX Here's some advice - slow down. That's a great way to arrive home safely, without a ticket, with lower blood pressure, and more economically.
  • Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
  • Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
  • FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.
  • John The awesome Infiniti G series saved this company 20 years ago, but they are right back on track to obsolescence. (yawn)