Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday – An Old Fashioned Chevy Beauville Passenger Wagon


Welcome to another edition of Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday. This time I’ve decided to mix it up, and highlight an old fashioned Passenger Van/Wagon in incredible original condition. Remember, I’m calling it an old fashioned van/wagon because this is basically the same van that was introduced in the Autumn of 1970. Almost every body panel was still used when fashioning the 1992 version, and this would continue in its current form until 1996, an almost 25 year production cycle. So is this Van/Wagon worth calling your own?


This 1992 Beauville shows 107,000 miles, has it’s original paint and chrome, its original interior, and a great deal of personality. Take a look at the upholstery fabric… when was the last time you saw an interior like that? But take a closer look and you see all the care GM took in producing this van… like cockeyed window and door lock switches.

Comfort was an afterthought when this van was designed. See the passenger foot room? There was none. Comfortable passenger compartment? Not with a 350 CID V-8 housed right next to you. And wait until you experience the ride…. like a wooden cart with no springs. Comfortable seat? Not in your life. Gigantic Steering Wheel that must have an airbag, but doesn’t. Easy Engine Access? In your dreams. Ergonomic Controls? As if….

And yet, there is something very appealing about this Van. Its a product of another era, that was still being produced well past its sell-by date. Look at all that glass, yet the cabin was kept cool because of the enormous front and rear Air Conditioning units. See the center console? One of the first to offer actual cup holders. This truck still had a pull switch for headlamp controls, yet adopted the “everything on one stalk” control for the cruise control and wiper system…Quaint.

You could actually use this truck for towing purposes, as well as carry eight full size adults. I didn’t say in comfort, but it will seat eight. There is enough room to carry the furnishings for a small one bedroom apartment in Manhattan, including the kitchen sink. It is truly a versatile vehicle for the right family, but does it push any of your buttons. Asking price is $6,495 which isn’t bad considering that you see virtually none of these anymore. See the Dealer Listing here.

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32 responses to “Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday – An Old Fashioned Chevy Beauville Passenger Wagon”

  1. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar
    Festiva_Movemnt

    At one point all of my father's brothers (there were four of them) had full size vans, two Chevrolets, and a big turd-hued '76 Dodge. Big catholic families, so the full-size vans made sense. My father, on the other hand, loved him some station wagon, and around the same time we owned a '90 Taurus wagon.
    We lived in the mountains of West Virginia, the rest of the family in Indiana and NW Pennsylvania, where windy roads weren't so much a common thing. One winter, the entire brood converged on our home in Beckley for a ski weekend. Multiple ski resorts were within a few hours' drive, so everyone would pile into a caravan of vehicles and hit the road for impending sprained-ankle fun. I rode in two of the three vans, wanting to capitalize on the rare opportunity of quality time with cousins. I threw up in the back of both of the vans. many others on the trip tossed their cookies as well, but I caught a particular amount of grief, being that I was from WV and should be used to the curvy roads.
    High centers of gravity are a bitch.

  2. chrystlubitshi Avatar
    chrystlubitshi

    that passenger foot room comment is exactly why my parents bought suburbans after station wagons went extinct. (dad always called them "the fat man's station wagon"). enough room for mom, dad, five kids, and a weeks worth of luggage. Plus the 45 gallon gas tank would allow for 8-10 hours drive time with no stops.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      Companies would do conversions to Suburbans when I was a kid. I got to ride in one once. Decided I liked my parents' conversion van more. The Suburban was all for show from the outside. It was in fact much more cramped in the back and lacked all the neat things like TV/VCR, separate rear radio, rear heat, swiveling captains chairs, blinds, TWO sets of mood lighting, and of course the awesome rear bed-a-bench.

    2. NothingHappens Avatar
      NothingHappens

      Your father sounds like the father of some friends of mine. Their 6 person family would do single shot trips from their local area to Disney in FL (2,000 km) in their Suburban (they had 2) stopping only @ rest stops and dramatically exceeding the speed limit on interstates at o-dark-hundred hours in order to knock the trip off in less than 15 hours. Some theory about maximizing their "on the ground time" at Disney. It did not sound fun.

      1.  Avatar
  3. muthalovin Avatar

    Oohhh, power windows!
    That is about it. Where are my wagons, Jim? WHERE ARE THEY?!

  4. dukeisduke Avatar
    dukeisduke

    I remember when the G-Van was introduced. Chevy referred to it as the "Space Van", and ran ads with the van facing nose up, like a rocket. Keep in mind that it was launched (pardon the pun) at the height of the Apollo program, just a year after Armstrong and Aldrin first walked on the moon.

  5. Gabbers Avatar
    Gabbers

    Growing up in one of these, I know how bad they really were. You're being a little generous with your "cup holder" assessment. They were a half-inch deep, square, and hard. You were better off just dumping your drink on the floor because thats where it was going to end up anyway. The continuous gutter around the roof held a surprising amount of water and if either of the front windows were open going into a turn, anyone sitting up there got soaked. The AC unit might look large, but it didn't do much. The rear seat was about four feet from the vents, which meant cool ankles and not much else. Ours (the GMC version) had the dee-lux rear heater on the driver-side floor between the second and third row seats. Unlike the AC, this actually did something. It produced a painful level of heat along with a tremendous amount of noise. It was a nice place to sit in the winter and block your siblings from getting any warmth. One of the few positives was the amount of stuff it could carry. My family went on camping trips all over the North-East, into Canada. There was enough room for the seven of us, our gear, and space left over to make a sleeping area on the floor for naps. We frequently used it like a full sized truck and it could easily hold full-sized sheets of drywall or plywood, even with the seats still in.

    1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      My dad made a little tray from wood that sat up a bit higher on dowel rods over the dog house (Is it only called that in FC vans?) with holes so that the cup holders then were round and deep. He had to make a second revision when mugs did not fit, so he cut little notches for the ears on coffee mugs.

  6. Alff Avatar
    Alff

    You know the phrase, "This is why we can't have nice things."? I don't know what it was that we did in the 70's to bring that phrase to life, but these were the result.
    That said, they are immensely practical for hauling groups.

  7. Feds_II Avatar
    Feds_II

    Damn it Jim, between you and Ms. Martin you're going to spark a van revival with these postings, and shoot my vehicle-replacement-strategy all to hell!
    Don't ask me how I know, but $6,500 buys you a similar vintage/similar mileage G20 conversion van: Comfy seats, TV/VCR combo, electric fold down bed, wooden high-rise cup holders on the dog house, boat-inspired side striping… With enough left over to finance a Turbo 6.2 diesel build/swap, which should net you low-mid 20 MPG in mixed driving.
    I mean, if you're going to do Red Death interior, do it right:
    http://london.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehicles-cars-truc
    <img src="http://img1.classistatic.com/cps/kj/110227/108r1/0660915_20.jpeg&quot; width=500>

  8. Paul_y Avatar
    Paul_y

    Oh, by the way, there's this: http://yubasutter.craigslist.org/cto/2304866093.h
    An '89 3/4 ton conversion van on 24" wheels– proof that there is no god.

  9. OA5599 Avatar
    OA5599

    We used to have a Dodge A-100 cargo van. Besides the windshield, it had windows in all six doors, but no place else. The two most senior adults (usually my parents, or on occasion, one parent and one grandparent) would sit in the permanent seats, and, in the good old days before mandatory seatbelt use, everyone else would sit on folding chairs, bean bags, wheelwells, or one or two lucky kids would get to sit on the doghouse. At least it was safer and better in bad weather than the neighbor kids who used to have to ride in the beds of pickup trucks.
    I don't remember what happened to the Dodge, but recall that it was replaced with a '73 Beauville with all the seats removed except the front ones. I recall that all the kids (including our friends) hated all those extra windows, because people could see in.

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar
      Age_of_Aerostar

      and here I thought the extra windows would have made it better (safer?) for kids.
      <img src="http://candyaddict.com/blog/candy_pictures/free_candy_van.jpg"&gt;

  10. tonyola Avatar
    tonyola

    I drove these things for work and never liked them. Not only was the ride poor and the footwells cramped, there was lots of engine and road noise, the bodies rattled and creaked, and the assembly quality was poor. Ford vans of the era seemed much more solid by comparison than GM or Dodge vans.

    1. scoutdude Avatar
      scoutdude

      Yes the 75 up Econoline was far superior to the GM and Chrylser offerings. Which is why it became and has remained the best selling Van.

  11. Feds_II Avatar
    Feds_II

    Oh and:
    To answer the non-rhetorical questions in the post:
    1. Not at $6,500. $4,500-5,000 is more in line with market value, assuming factory-correctness is not a huge driving factor.
    2. The last time I saw an interior like that was in my '86 cavalier. Same fabric on the seats, same plastic everywhere else.
    Also, dig on the ashtray on the back of the third-row seat. Obviously there so that the people sitting in the cargo hold could smoke without risk of lighting the carpet on fire.

  12. skitter Avatar
    skitter

    When you absolutely, positively, got to carry every motherfucker in the room; accept no substitutes.

  13. chrystlubitshi Avatar
    chrystlubitshi

    I have absolutely nothing against vans. i love the idea of stealth RVs. I have spent many a day lounging in my mobile apartment (astro van) in public with no one even noticing (as far as i could tell).. they're great– and I think I'm going to end up living in mine before too long!

  14. Z71 Avatar
    Z71

    Nice, but I absolutely hate red interiors. Also, to be fair, the 2008 Ford E-350 vans still had the pull switch headlamp controls. Needless to say, it confused the hell out of me for a few minutes after driving late model Chevy Express vans with a regular twist switch.

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar
      Age_of_Aerostar

      a "regular" twist switch?
      I will proclaim that the pull out knob is the "regular" switch!!
      whippersnapper!

      1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        I loved the pull and twist (interior dimmer) best myself.

  15. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar
    Age_of_Aerostar

    I prefered the previous generation front end.
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2183/2374952870_bf00c2f35b.jpg&quot; width="300">
    Not sure exactly when they changed the taillights, but the design that had the chome trim around them looked much more "finished" to me.
    <img src="http://www.unixhelper.org/van/images/van_ass.jpg&quot; width="300">

  16. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar
    Age_of_Aerostar

    Oh, forgot to say, vans are awesome, they fit into Wagon Wednesday. Ford always made a point of having the "van" and the "wagon." The Club Wagon, was the van for people, the Econoline, the commercial van. (yeah, I know that's now changed), but the Aerostar usually had 2 separate vehicle brochures as well. "Aerostar Van" and "Aerostar Wagon."
    Anyone have any idea what BEAUVILLE means? It's kind of fun to say, but I have no idea what I'm saying.

    1. Lotte Avatar
      Lotte

      A beautiful…village?

    2. NothingHappens Avatar
      NothingHappens

      Nice Town.
      Beau = nice/pleasant, etc…
      Ville = town

  17. Slow Joe Crow Avatar
    Slow Joe Crow

    That big doghouse is a powerful argument in favor of an Econoline, and explains why Ford's "long nose" vans are more common. I never drove a GM van but I remember the similar Dodge vans being very cramped compared to the Fords I drove.

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar
      FuzzyPlushroom

      Dodge did eventually fix that… a mere few years before discontinuing the vans altogether.

  18. omg_grip Avatar
    omg_grip

    Nice, but not $6500 nice. Its in really good shape though.
    I got a 94 chevy conversion van in 03 with 76k miles on it, for about $5300.
    Granted, it IS true that behind all those fancy conversion interior panels is some very shoddy workmanship and wiring.
    I drove my van daily for many years and racked up 100k miles without a single mechanical issue. Replaced the starter twice, replaced the alternator once, and changed the fluids on the reg. Thats it. Great van.

  19. goingincirclez Avatar

    The two-tone paint is about the only thing going for that particular van. It's nice to see an old survivor like that, but yeesh… the cut corners are so blatant. A true conversion van would be so much better, but wouldn't fix the issues with the front-row seating and dashboard.
    Still though… people overlook the very same crudeness in trucks and of the day live with it, calling them "utilitarian" and "functional". Which is exactly what this is: a Taxi for 10. There's no other reason you buy one… and with 8-10 passengers, there's little room for "creature comforts".
    Trying to kid ourselves otherwise is why we have today's bloat, and 5-passenger SUVs that take up nearly the same space while offering little more in the way of utility.

  20. Zach Avatar
    Zach

    I love this thing. Some of my friends in a band bought a rough 1985 example of one of these with the 305 for a summer tour in 2000. It was a POS — it couldn't make it up hills with a loaded trailer and it blew its transmission 800 miles from home.
    But when that thing wasn't being used for tours, we'd all pile-in and go hooliganing it up throughout Cincinnati. So many great memories. Ska-checker curtains (because we were all punkers) and a rust. Sigh.

  21. Jim Haley Avatar
    Jim Haley

    Hello to all. I signed up since I have a 1986 Beauville. I bought it from my sister when she moved to Florida. She used it in the early years to take the family camping. When the kids left home she used it to take her crafts to craft shows. She only put 1,000 miles per year on it for 10 years. When she sold it to me it only had 130,000 miles on it. That was 10 years ago and it now has 136,000 on it. I only use it to help friends move or pick up large things at the store. It has been a real work horse and I plan on keeping it for a long time. I just had the door locks and windows fixed and new head lights. The pant is peeling off and I really should get it painted. It is a red/gray color. I was told it has 2 batteries but I don’t know were the 2nd battery is. Any help on this. I have the book on it but can’t find it since I moved.

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