GMC Safari GT, a rad-era hauler with custom-van swagger

The GMC Safari van, along with its Chevy Astro sibling, performed yeoman service ferrying passengers and hauling cargo for two decades starting in 1985. But one special variant, the Safari GT — and, at Chevrolet, the Astro RS — added an unexpected dollop of swagger. Those vans had a custom look that was straight out of the ’70s “sin bin” era. One of those Safari GTs is up for grabs right now, fittingly, on the RADforsale auction site.

The option package at both GMC and Chevrolet was coded BYP, the GT Sport Package, and it appears to have been offered from 1990 to 1994. Its defining element was the two-tone paint treatment shown here, with black on the lower body and the greenhouse, and your choice of white, silver, blue, gold, or red as the main body color. Blanked out rear quarter windows and “simulated air exhaust louvers” behind the middle side windows added a further bit of style (long-wheelbase XT versions skipped that flourish). Also included were a front air dam, blacked-out grille, aluminum rally wheels, and a sport suspension.

This 1991 Safari GT appears to have been further sportified with a lower-body aero kit, a rooftop spoiler, and aftermarket wheels. This rear-wheel-drive, standard-wheelbase model is powered by a 4.3-liter V6 hooked to a four-speed automatic transmission. It has traveled a relatively low 126,000 miles and looks to be in exceptionally good shape — particularly given that most of these vans lived a hard life.

At this writing, bidding stands at $5,100 with bidding to end May 21. That suggests this Astro GT will bring a strong price — but if you want one, you may be hard-pressed to find another.

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