Tag: Vans

By on March 4, 2020

gm

Kurt Cobain had only been dead a year when General Motors launched the Chevrolet Express family of commercial and passenger vans. Two and a half decades later, the Express is still in its first generation, with the model’s sole facelift now 17 years distant.

Despite facing ever stiffer competition from the likes of Ford, the Express and its GMC twin, the Savana, remain an important product for GM, with the Express selling over 77,000 units in 2019. It’s far less refined than the Ford Transit, but it’s tough. GM ditched the half-ton chassis after 2015, focusing on three-quarter and 1-ton variants ever since.

The model, paid off by the time Y2K became a concern, isn’t being completely taken for granted by its parent. For 2021, the Express family sees moar power. (Read More…)

By on March 4, 2020

It doesn’t come as a surprise, what with Ford’s concerted push in this direction. Nevertheless, Ford Motor Company announced late Tuesday that its Transit van, most often seen wearing a gleaming, sterile shade of white, will soon don a cloak of green.

The Blue Oval aims to be the first major player in the electric commercial vehicles market. (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

Van culture is making a comeback. We know this because the media has glommed onto the topic as young adults continue to share stories about how not having a mailing address (because they live in vans) is the best thing that ever happened to them.

While you’re unlikely to encounter these people all that regularly offline, the internet is full of them. And yet there’s no real consensus as to the appeal of custom vans. Plenty of people embrace the van life because they see it as an affordable way to tour the countryside; others view it as part of the minimalist movement, or simply as the best way to avoid becoming totally homeless.

Want more than a tent over your head while camping? Need a place to wait out the impending civil war? Simply feel the need to capitalize on a trend that’s growing in popularity on YouTube? Van living has you covered — and Mercedes-Benz is ready to help.  (Read More…)

By on January 30, 2020

2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris front quarter

Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who spend the majority of their days in a van of some sort. I’m not talking about the beautiful people on social media hashtagging their rebranding of the Seventies-era shaggin’ wagon as “vanlife.” I’m talking about tradespeople, for whom a van is as important a tool as a hammer or pipe wrench.

For most of my working life, I’ve worked alongside these van drivers — I’ve been selling various products to these workers for the better part of two decades. I’ve noticed over the years that the variety of vans has expanded recently. Where the parking lot of whatever supply house was once filled with cookie cutter vans from the Detroit Three — occasionally dotted with repurposed minivans — these days any variety of tall, Euro-styled boxes-on-wheels might greet me.

The Sprinter was the leader of this new vanguard, with workers praising improved driving dynamics and improved space efficiency. Now a smaller model comes, the Mercedes-Benz Metris, to deliver much of those improvements in a more city-friendly package. Can this sturdier (not-so)minivan replace the stalwarts?

(Read More…)

By on January 24, 2020

A special day has arrived here at Rare Rides. Our subject is modern, sleek, and the Cadillac of Minivans. That’s right, it’s Van Time with the Oldsmobile Silhouette.

(Read More…)

By on January 21, 2020

This must be some sort of irony-steeped Radwood thing. How else to explain the sudden resurgence in enthusiasm for a mid-sized van that loitered in General Motors’ lineup for two uneventful decades?

It seems there’s a concerted — though perhaps not entirely honest — effort to return the lowly Astro to the Chevrolet stable. It’s a plaintive wail that will absolutely fall on deaf ears in the boardrooms of the Renaissance Center. And so it should. (Read More…)

By on November 21, 2019

For decades, the Japanese market has loved vans of all shapes and sizes, ranging from basic kei to fully-loaded VIP luxury. Rare Rides has touched on JDM van time just once previously, with a luxurious and capable 1990 Toyota Town Ace. Today we’re taking a look at what Mazda offered a Nineties Japanese consumer of vans.

(Read More…)

By on October 15, 2019

Startups come and go, and in the age of electrification a great many companies are issuing promises their meagre resources can’t deliver.

Time will tell if a reborn Morris Commercial follows through on a plan to return the iconic J-type commercial van to the rainy streets of Britain — and beyond. Retro appeal has its perks, but getting a new production vehicle, least of all an electric one, off the ground and into garages is fraught with challenges. So, without further introduction, here’s the Morris JE. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2019

Amazon

Isn’t Rivian the popular thing these days? Courted by Amazon and Ford with investments of $700 million and $500 million, respectively, the Michigan-based EV startup recently gained a cash infusion from Cox Automotive.

Now, that very first investment is bearing fruit — 100,000 pieces of it, promised for a three-year delivery window. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

Despite vans being slightly more popular than getting a thumb in the eye, Mercedes-Benz is sticking with them. Earlier in the month, the automaker revealed the production version of its 252-mile (we’ll see) EQV. Essentially an electrified version of the plush V-Class/Metris, the model will likely serve a very specific subset of the population.

On the other end of the spectrum, Daimler has been mulling over what should be done about the Citan. As the smallest van in MB’s range, the Citan also has the lowest point of entry. However, sales are roughly one-sixth what the V-Class sees in Europe, making it a plausible candidate for discontinuation. But it was not to be. On Friday, Daimler announced it will keep its smallest MPV on the table.  (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

The year is 1990, and you live in Utah or someplace similar and find yourself with plentiful offspring. The only solution here is a full-size van that seats 15. Which extra-long BOF box goes home with the Buy?

(Read More…)

By on August 20, 2019

It would appear that nobody notified Mercedes-Benz that the minivan segment is shrinking faster than male genitals dunked into icy water. Fortunately, while large MPV sales similarly dwindled in Europe by around 30 percent last year, there may be enough positive heat on vans and electric vehicles leftover for the manufacturer to try and bundle both into one package. Enter the Mercedes-Benz EQV — the next arrival for the EQ sub-brand and first non-commercial, electric luxury van offered by an established automaker. Sounds like a niche market.

While not officially scheduled to debut until next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the EQV has already been teased as a near-production prototype at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Daimler’s also felt comfortable enough to showcase the finished vehicle online, saving a handful of details for the German trade show.  (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2019

We’ve lately had some fun Citroën times here at Rare Rides, with the most recent entry being a custom-built and luxurious ID19 coupe. Today’s Rare Ride is not quite as luxurious, and there’s certainly nothing bespoke about it. But it is interesting, and it also looks like a corrugated shed on wheels.

Say hello to HY.
(Read More…)

By on July 19, 2019

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.

(Read More…)

By on July 12, 2019

Developing electric cars for scale in Europe takes time, money, resources and commitment. Volkswagen has the new, advanced MEB architecture designed just for that purpose. There are other automakers, though, who need to have an option. For Ford, that answer was simple. They already are working with VW on several projects, so it makes sense to expand that relationship into platform sharing.

In an announcement that also included VW’s investment into Argo AI, Volkswagen committed to providing 600,000 MEB units to Ford for a new electric vehicle that’ll be manufactured and sold within Europe. That includes all of the electric components, according to Dr. Herbert Diess, VW’s CEO. Ford’s CEO Jim Hackett said that it would be “built Ford proud.”

(Read More…)

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