Ford was the first major American manufacturer to introduce the thrifty-van concept with their Falcon Econoline models in 1961. Inspired by the popularity of the ubiquitous VW Kombi, this market took flight in the early 1960s. With a combination of forward controls, light weight. , and a large enclosed cargo area, it wasn't long before GM and Chrysler took created their own designs. Chevrolet actually had two, : one the Corvan, a Corvair-based model with rear air-cooled engine, and the G10 Van. Here is GMC's spin-off, the Handi-Van with a 90-inch wheelbase set up for extended excursions without the need for hotel reservations.
The GMC press kit puts it like this,":"This Handi-Van along with two 1000 series Value-Vans are now offered by GMC Truck & Coach Division with Travel conversion options that turn them into mobil homes ideally suited for weekend and vacations campers."
It's pop-up area was larger than the comparable VW camper version at the time. The base model G1000 Handi-Van was priced slightly more than the 1Ž2-ton wideside GMC pickup at $2080.
In a press-kit photo, the pair is captioned, "Illustrating the versatility of GMC Truck U Coach Division's models are these light-duty units. At Left left is a half-ton wideside pickup powered by one of GMC's famed V-6 engines. In the foreground is a GMC Handi-Van equipped for camping. In addition to these camping conversion, the Handi-Van is available as a delivery van and even a refrigerated unit."