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!
Roader on Jul 20, 2019
"The Astro was the first minivan from General Motors..." Ahem... https://www.corvair.org/chapters/corvanatics/Greenbrier.php
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.
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