As a kid, the minivan was simply uncool – except to parents, who can thank minivans for saving a lot of their sanity while raising kids and running all over town from practices to rehearsals to classes to the store and, oh yeah, to work. In many cases it was the minivan that helped parents get it done and look like a superhero. But to the kids, well… most of us remember how uncool the minivan was. Funny how that changed when the minivan became the hand-me-down ride though. There was probably a lot of quiet excitement about being able to go anywhere, anytime, with anything and any friends. That said, in front of friends it was probably badmouthed and put down, and no minivan took a teenage beating like a Chevy Astro – they were the toughest minivans ever built, as if the engineers at Chevy knew Astros would at one time become high-mileage kid fodder and need the gusto to run one or multiple kids through high school. Even after a few hundred thousand miles and a couple of fender benders, which is why most of them are long gone today. And that’s why this one is so cool.
Having covered just 56,000 miles in 25 years, this Chevy Astro looks like it’s only about 5 years old. Painted in two-tone brown with a matching cloth interior, the carpeting, seats, headliner, door panels, paint, pinstripe, wheels, glass, plastics and dashboard all look to be in great shape. Granted, there is a little mishap to the paint on the front bumper, a fade line from an old hood guard and a little fading on the driver’s door trim, but outside of those few things, we’re hard pressed to find many faults. According to the post, the van is rust free and has new inspection and emissions – not sure exactly what that means, if it has new emissions equipment or it passed the tests, but it’s got to be a good thing. The van’s equipped with the rear triple gate, one divided into three sections: the top, which contains the rear window in a horizontal frame and opens upward like a hatch, and two lower doors that open like barn doors. This door style was an upgrade to the standard two tall barn door design and was advantageous as it allowed people to pop up the hatch to grab items quickly or grab items that might roll out of the van when the doors are fully open. It also provided a full rear window with no obstruction in the center for a clear view.
It’s not mentioned, but we’re betting it’s equipped with the 4.3L V-6, which was a workhorse and a half, and the post is similarly vague as to what other options it might have (i.e. air conditioning, power windows, power locks, remote lock/unlock, etc.), but as an 8-passenger van, it’s equipped with the towing package and the post suggests that it would be a great family hauler or work vehicle if you take out the seats, although we think the latter would be a damn shame.
The pictures would indicate this thing has led a relatively charmed life, and although we’d love to see pictures of the undercarriage and engine compartment, the body and interior indicate this vehicle has never been abused and was always well-cared-for. The upholstery looks immaculate, the driver seat shows just a little bit of wear; the AM/FM stereo cassette player is still where the factory left it and appears to be a working unit, and the tan plastics that make up the console, door panels, pillar covers, etc. all look like they were installed yesterday. To turn this into a family hauler or work vehicle would be to accelerate wear to the point of catching up with its battered brethren.
Seeing as they built nearly 2 million of Astros between 1985 and 2005 when production ceased, they’re certainly can’t be called rare, but they may as well take that description of rare considering they’ve largely evaporated from the roads. The last one rolled off the assembly line 15 years ago, the first one hit the streets 35 years ago, and yet, where are they? Not many are still rolling around, and it’s more than likely that just a sliver of them can claim to be in the condition of this one. What does that make it worth? Without many (if any) comps it’s hard to say, but we also have to confess that we didn’t look it up, because this one’s price can’t ever be considered unreasonable.
We think it’d be perfect for the car guy to use at swap meets or carry like-minded friends to car shows and events, maybe even towing a cool show car, a retirement duty that respects and preserves what’s been respected and preserved all these years, and gives it a little limelight. After all, this is one Astro that didn’t have to stand up to the rigors of the teen life – and that’s pretty cool.