1965: Don’t Buy a Van Made by Car People!

During the decade of the 1960s, the forward-control small van with engine mounted in a “doghouse” between the front seats became a strong sales success in North America. Ford started it with the 1961 Econoline, and Chrysler and GM got on board a few years later with the A100 and ChevyVan/SportVan, respectively. The GMC version of the ChevyVan cargo van wore Handi-Van badges, while the passenger-hauling variant was the Handi-Bus. Here’s a magazine advertisement for the 1965 Handi-Van.

Since there weren’t any functional differences between the ChevyVan and the Handi-Van, GMC’s marketing had to focus on the fact that everyone working at GMC was a truck person… not like those car people over at the competition (including, unfortunately, their fellow GM employees at Chevrolet). As the fine print states, “Turns inside a 38-ft circle. It also turns heads.”

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