I personally love them. Post your favorites here, and there’s a brief history below.
This is a 1960s Chevy Step-Van, predecessor to the boxy Value Van which we all know. GM didn’t actually build these, they just sold chassis and engines to various different contractors who made the rest.
Grumman-Olsen was one of the major outside contractors for step vans. They also used Ford chassis for their vans, some of which were badged as Grummans and some as Fords/Chevys. They offered vans with aluminum bodies like this one, which was a major advancement due to aluminum’s light weight. And yes, they badged Aluminum versions as Chevrolet’s, so those new ads don’t line up with GM’s history.
The successor to the earlier GM vans was this, the classic Chevrolet P10Step-Van and GMC Value Van. This version is the earlier version, but they later evolved into the classic design we all recognize. Unlike the earlier vans, which had many different design variations, GM standardized the design into one universal face. Most of these were built by Grumman. I love these things.
The stub-nose step van was pioneered by Grumman, who built versions like this on Ford and Dodge chassis.
Here’s another Ford - based Grumman
Of course, Grumman wasn’t the only producer of step vans. Above is a Ford- based Lyncoach. Lyncoach is a small manufacturer of aluminum truck bodies which actually appears to still exist. They were never a major player, but serve to represent all of the small companies. And, that van looks cool.
Ford also built Step Vans that had more a familial link; up until the early 1960s, step vans had the same front end as F-Series trucks.
One of the pioneers of the Step Van was International, with the Loewy designed Metro. These things are really cool looking, and actually have a cult following. The later versions tried to copy GM, and weren’t (and aren’t) nearly as possible as the earlier Metro or their GM counterparts.
Lastly, I’d like to end on a footnote. The Studebaker ZIP Van was made to fufill a postal service contract, but Studebaker couldn’t build enough; they’re fairly rare today.
What are your favorite step vans, Oppo?