The Panel Van: Ordinary trucks

Panel Van
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Panel vans are 'vans without windows'. Utility vehicles of the smaller and austere type. And the fact that The A-Team used a GMC very improperly does not change that. In The A-Team five GMC vans have also been used, two of which had to remain beautiful and undamaged (these are also referred to as the 'photo models'). A lot of 'unofficial, replacement' vans have been used (also from other brands such as Chevrolet and Ford). Those were the cars that were used black with the red striping for the rough work.

No wide rims, no V8s

The panel vans, also called 'delivery vans', were utensils. They were produced in great numbers after the war and it can be said that they were very important to the American economic growth after WWII. Because they were very versatile. In fact they were the urban counterparts of that very large other group of 'multi-tools' in the States, the pickups. They had to be cheap to produce, simple and reliable. Because Americans are par excellence when it comes to maintenance sensitivity. Many a working donkey did not receive much more maintenance after his first childhood than just topping up the oil. Fortunately, the constructions were so over-dimensioned and actually under low load.

They were tough

And so the panel vans kept on walking and running. Until they were really used up. Then they were abandoned. But that could take a long time. And what was not intended, that could not be broken. In terms of build quality, it can at best be said that they were solid. But certainly no quality guards were involved in the production who controlled the correct gap between the panels with painful accuracy.

Under that bodywork was technology from the year jar. A sturdy chassis with a three and a half liter six- (or optionally an eight-cylinder) underneath at the front. Such a six-cylinder engine produced a horsepower or 80-90. Automatic transmissions were devised for a better battle. In addition, it is funny that many Americans just did not know what to do with a manual gearbox. They had learned to drive in a machine. And that was it then.

There are quite a lot of survivors

Due to the large numbers produced and their toughness, plus better climate conditions, there are still quite a lot of panel vans left in various states of fatigue. But due to their simplicity and the still good availability of parts, they can be restored properly and not even at the main prize. The fact that they are often provided with a V8 and an automatic transmission when they are born again, is a poetic freedom that the Americans are happy to buy.

Well done

Our fashion model, which we found at Venema in Drempt, is an honest restoration. The essence of the car has been retained. It has its original six-cylinder engine and is not pimped. As a commercial vehicle, such is of the highest date. Driving does something like a truck. But for small-scale deployment, as attention grabber or out of pure nostalgia, such a panel is a topper. Moreover, a motorcycle fits in and you can sleep in it.


Leave a Reply
  1. I learned to drive such a car as a small ve n Ford flat head V 8, starting with a foot switch, I thought year 55.
    You don't see much, more pickups

Give an answer

The email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 8 MB. you can upload: image. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

Now in store

View the 40-page preview via or a click on the cover.

The October issue, containing:

  • Citroën CX 25 Prestige Turbo 2
  • Frame construction in the Netherlands
  • Frisian Firebird lovers
  • Lancia Fulvia
  • Toyota Corona RT40
  • BMW R90S
  • Classic Days Duesseldorf
  • Duplicate type designations - Part XVIII
cover 10 2022 300

The perfect reading material for an evening or more of undisturbed dreaming. It is now in stores. A subscription is of course better, because then you will no longer miss a number and you are also € 27 cheaper. Not bad in these expensive times.


Abarth. 70 year of pure performance and creation

Classic Cars Pop Up Store

Classic Cars Pop Up Store