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What You Need to Know about GMC Camper Van and Camper Van Conversions!

What You Need to Know about GMC Camper Van and Camper Van Conversions!

What Is the GMC Camper Van?

The GMC Motorhome is a six-wheeled incarnation of its era’s zeitgeist – those who weren’t alive through the post-war 1950s to 1970s era are unlikely to understand the kind of artistic control that was released. Newer folks may recognize that the songs were great, that some magnificent automobiles were built, and that a number of larger-than-life individuals participated in the near-gladiatorial motorsport that was taking place.

As seen by the creation and production of the Corvette, General Motors seemed to have some creative people who are working in product innovation, and among that group of people were also some who had an inkling that consumers had the newfound opportunity for exploration and most of the time, these people have enough budget to make it happen.

Many people prefer camping to luxury, and an entire business sprung up to produce caravans and “recreational vehicles” so that people may journey in comfort. In the 1970s, this had become increasingly popular as the generation of WWII veterans entered their retirement years and desired to appreciate them.

General Motors planners saw that the RVs being produced at the moment were being built on truck chassis by companies that employed traditional caravan manufacturing processes. When you put a wood-framed flat aluminum camper body on a truck chassis, you have a camper with all the convenience of a truck suspension – or lack thereof – and a mobile that drives exactly like a truck.

Hence the notion that emerged at General Motors was to construct a campervan that blended the convenience and sophistication of a car with the lifestyle qualities of a “home away from home”. This one was not meant to be a “motorhome on a truck chassis,” but a true motorhome. Having said that, the project was overseen by General Motors Vice President Martin J. Caserio, who was also General Manager of GMC Truck and Coach, and his perception was for a “Chevrolet of motorhomes,” which meant he was interested in creating affordable recreational vehicles that GM could anticipate selling in large quantities.

GMC Campervans Now

Nowadays, conversion vans made on a GMC chassis provide a luxurious, but practical automobile that’s guaranteed to fulfill both your everyday and holiday travel demands for years to come if you’re seeking one of the most flexible yet pleasant travel alternatives that are currently available.

Conversion vans from GMC are supplied in 7-passenger and 9-passenger capacities and may be purchased from the comfort of your own home or office. Even better, all conversion van designs on sale from a certain website may be shipped directly to you for $99 anywhere in the United States!

GMC Conversion Camper Vans

The classic Camper Van, often known as a campervan and also as a camper or caravanette, is a self-propelled automobile that offers both transportation and resting accommodations. The name RV, or recreational vehicle, is utilized more frequently in the United States, and RVs in the United States tend to be larger than in other regions of the world.

While many people use the terms motorhome and camper van interchangeably, there are differences in both their dimensions and their prices. Camper Vans are intended to be smaller and less expensive to operate. Campervans often lack live-in utilities such as toilets and showers, whereas most motorhomes do. Camper vans often lack a partition between the cab and the bedroom.

Several Camper Vans are designed with a pop-up or high-top roof to provide greater space for camping. Campervans also often include a small kitchen with a fridge that’s capable of being powered by gas, battery, or electricity. The following features may be found in modern vehicles.

  • Refrigerator
  • Gas or Electric Grill
  • Microwave Oven
  • Water Heater
  • Bed that doubles as seating
  • Toilet
  • Shower
  • TV, Internet, Music
  • Air Conditioning
  • Water Tank
  • Wastewater
  • Awning

Verify with your state’s appropriate regulations and statutes governing owning and driving these sorts of automobiles before acquiring a Camper Van, RV, or Motorhome. Numerous nations have distinct rules governing safety and regulatory standards, as well as issues about usage zones and pollutants.

Since GMC introduced the Vandura in 1964, third-party firms such as Mark III, Tiara, Coach, Starcraft, and others have modified or added to GMC conversion vans in order to convert them into campers as well as other utility vehicles.

From its very introduction in the late 1990s, camper shells have proven to be a popular aftermarket accessory for GMC Sierras. Even before the Sierra, the GMC C/K was a popular truck for adding a camper shell. This is likewise valid for the Canyon, as well as its predecessor, the Sonoma.

GMC Conversion Vans From Classic Vans

GMC Conversion Vans From Classic Vans

Explorer Vans’ GMC Savana conversions give a glamorous alternative for you and the rest of the family.

Apart from the many features found in the renowned GMC range, its strong V8 engine gives enough of brawn when needed and a pleasant experience of driving each moment you sit behind the wheel. The normal GMC 1500 (7-passenger) conversion van is built on a 135″ wheelbase, YP7 uplifter chassis, same like the Chevrolet counterpart.  The GMC 2500 (9-passenger) conversion van is available in an extended model with a 155″ wheelbase.

The GMC Savana, which is offered in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, is also loaded with features that improve comfort and versatility. A higher roof, for instance, does not just give you greater headroom to move throughout your van more easily, but a better aerodynamic design also helps you use less fuel, particularly on the open road.

Additional features offered on GMC’s silent and stylish conversion vans include:


  • FM/AM stereo with CD & USB input (front)
  • High-Definition TV with DVD (rear)
  • Mobile satellite service
  • Premium Surround Sound with Sub-Woofer and Amp
  • Gaming outlets, USB and HDMI inputs

Safety & Exterior

  • OnStar navigation with roadside assistance
  • Rear backup camera
  • Fender vents and ground effects

Seating & Comfort

  • Premium leather with power lumbar, recline and heat (front)
  • Premium leather captain chairs (midsection)
  • 3-section power sliding sofa (rear)
  • Both front and rear climate control
  • Blue LED lighting w/dimmer control

These are obviously only a handful of the choices available on GMC conversion vans; keep in mind that every model is unique. Several of the functions stated above are possible, which is why you should thoroughly research each model to verify it has the functionality you want.

Classic Vans’ new and used GMC conversion van inventory makes this comfortable travel choice within reach – regardless of your budget.

Aside from providing the greatest in comfort and aesthetics, each new model is covered by the standard manufacturer’s warranty. Furthermore, in addition to providing the most affordable pricing and financing choices, every used GMC conversion van is checked thoroughly by its own trained mechanics and conversion van experts.

Sneak Peek: GMC Savana Van Conversion From Off-Track Travel

Sneak Peek: GMC Savana Van Conversion From Off-Track Travel

For nearly a decade, this pair has traveled in a van. They also want to travel slowly, enjoying their leisure to exploring areas off the usual road and appreciating the beauty in the world. The simplest (and cheapest) way they’ve found is to travel in a van. This was particularly true when they chose to move around full-time as digital nomads from 2017 to 2020. Surely, many other travelers had similar experiences and fell in love with van life for the same reasons!

This van conversion's unique characteristics

‘Hanna,’ their latest DIY excursion van, is a Savana. It required them nearly a year to discover this 2005 GMC Savana (2500 size) van, which they ultimately purchased in 2017. They now have the van house of their dreams, thanks to a significant change. Hanna the Savana is their third do-it-yourself van modification. The first was a Toyota Lucida, which they used for a three-month journey from the UK to Turkey and back, passing through 18 different countries.

The other was their cherished Chevrolet Astro van, something they utilized for numerous years and numerous excursions around Western Canada. This even carried them over and below the Arctic Circle. Learn everything you need to know about their GMC Savana van conversion below, along with an inside look and cost breakdown on their blog. But you may also take a few sneak peeks at their camper vans here!

This van conversion’s unique characteristics

unique in this van is its music drawer

The van, like any other form of living space, represents who they are as individuals. As a result, the van has a few elements that are distinctive to it and it makes the van as well as its use of it even more special for the owners.

The primary feature that is very unique in this van is its music drawer, which is located above the pantry and beneath the wardrobe. To avoid damage and mobility, the banjo, violin, and ukulele cutouts are wrapped with synthetic fur.

The van’s hardwood ceiling seems to be the second unique feature. It takes approximately two weeks from beginning to end and is fashioned of spruce trees from one of the owner’s father’s land in northeastern New Brunswick.

The wood panels were planed, shaped, sanded, and lacquered before being affixed to the ceiling in layers. In addition to being visually appealing, the smaller, unconnected pieces enable more free mobility and swelling of the wood.

How Should You Choose A Van For A Campervan Conversion

How Should You Choose A Van For A Campervan Conversion

Selecting a vehicle for your campervan conversion might be a daunting task. It’s difficult to figure out what to start with with the sheer amount of models offered. Although if you reduce it down to a certain brand, there are still several options (i.e. new or used, high-roof vs low-roof, mileage, collision history, and lots more). Nevertheless, by answering a few essential questions, you can quickly limit your search. When you’ve identified your precise requirements, you’ll be able to confidently select a vehicle for a campervan conversion.

Vanlife is all about independence. Therefore avoid picking a van that limits your freedom. What exactly do we imply? Don’t acquire a van that will become a financial strain. If you purchase an overpriced van that you cannot fairly afford, you may be forced to make payments that impose a significant strain on your life. In contrast, if you purchase an automobile that is too cheap, you may end up paying quite so much for maintenance and repairs.

It is essential to begin with a great foundation van when converting a van. You don’t want to waste time and money upgrading a bad van. With the increased funding in conversion fees, you want to know that your vehicle can go the length!

By spending money on conversion fees, you are taking a risk while converting a van. The expense of your conversion should be proportional to your level of trust in the seller and the van itself. You would not really spend a million dollars on a house makeover if you realized the foundation was defective.

The same is true with van conversions. If you intend to invest thousands of dollars in your conversion, you should have complete faith in your base van. If you’re looking to save up for a low-cost conversion, it’s okay to take an additional risk with an older van. Nonetheless, you will have to develop your own risk assessment depending on your overall budget and intentions.

What Are Your Preparations?

The first step in selecting the correct van is to be open about your ambitions. Since campervan owners come in a variety of flavors,  what are your intentions?

Do you intend to live full-time in your campervan and completely embrace the nomadic lifestyle? Or are you merely arranging a short-term road trip with the idea of returning to a residence at the completion of it?

Is your campervan merely a toy that you use for weekend excursions? Is it going to be your full-time residence? What should your campervan include? (Solar panels, desk, toilet, kitchen, bike storage, and so forth.)

The responses to these inquiries should help you figure out how much money you’ll need to invest to build your ideal campervan. And obviously, you must weigh something against what you’re able to realistically afford.

Full-size Vans

While not a legal classification, “Full-Size” vehicles are often huge, boxy vehicles with a truck-like base and drivetrain. The majority of high-end modern campervan conversions are constructed in the full-size vehicle. (Imagine a big bed, kitchen, bench, bathroom, shower, and so on.)

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The Mercedes Sprinter happens to be the most costly vehicle. It’s a particularly coveted van for van conversions since it’s the sole full-size van accessible in 44 and has a roomy/boxy inside. But be ready to incur a premium.

For several periods, Dodge and Freightliner constructed Sprinters in the United States to avoid import duties, thus you may find early 2000s Sprinters with half those emblems, but they are substantially the same.

Ford Transit / Ram Promaster

Ford Transit / Ram Promaster

The Ford Transit and Dodge Ram Promaster are the vehicles in the following tier. These American vans were created to rival with the Mercedes Sprinter by providing a “euro-style” van with a large boxy cabin. The Promaster is a front-wheel drive, but the Ford Transit is rear-wheel drive except for the new 2020 AWD Ford Transit. They are less expensive to buy and keep than a Mercedes Sprinter. Yet, because they only debuted in 2013, they retain a significant portion of their original pricing in the used market.

Nissan NV

Nissan NV

Nissan debuted their personal cargo van, the Nissan NV Cargo, in 2012. It has a body-on-frame design comparable to Ford, Chevy, and GMC vans. However, one significant distinction is that it is available in high-roof varieties, resulting in an odd combination of euro-style and classic American vans. The Nissan NV and its smaller city counterpart, the NV200, will be phased out by 2021. Nonetheless, we note that for what it’s worth, it has a higher towing capability than the rivals.

Classic American Work Vans

Classic American Work Vans

A large number of vans in the United States are in this class. It comprises of the Ford E-Series (previously Econoline), Chevy Express (formerly Chevy Van), GMC Savana (formerly Vandura), and the Dodge Ram Van. The very first three (Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC) are quite comparable in terms of construction, specifications, and available models. For the time being, you should regard them interchangeably. (Since Chevrolet and GMC are both manufactured by General Motors, they appear to be mechanically identical). Yet, Dodge is the odd man out because the Dodge Ram Van is built on a unibody rather than a body-on-frame like the remaining three. 

This category has a big subcategory that includes a wide range of conversion vans and campervans. These are now commonly referred to as “classic” campervans. Since multiple firms were engaged in transforming these vans from their factory form into a conversion/camper van, the aftermarket modifications are a bit of a mixed bag.

To enhance the van and make it more “livable,” the modification often incorporates an aftermarket fiberglass roof, windows, customized upholstery, captain’s chairs, as well as other lifestyle items. They are often based on a Ford, Chevy, GMC, or Dodge work van and date from the 1970s through the 2000s. Yet, depending on their age, the majority of them are going to require significant renovation/remodeling.

Smaller Vans 

Chevy Astro & GMC Safari

Chevy Astro & GMC Safari

Apart from marketing and cosmetics, the Chevy Astro (AKA Astrovan) and GMC Safari (both manufactured by General Motors) are similar. They were manufactured from 1985 to 2005. They continue to have a fan status that respects these one-of-a-kind small vans for their good size-to-cargo ratio and MPG. Yet, from the perspective buyer of campervans, the most important feature is that beginning in 1992, they were available in AWD.

Volkswagen Bus / Vanagon (Westfalia)

Volkswagen Bus / Vanagon (Westfalia)

The original VW bus is essentially the inventor of the campervan. Hippies, counter-culture, an more!  This tradition was carried on by the Volkswagen Vanagon, which wandas famously modified into the well-known pop-top campervans renowned as Westfalias (or Westy). Not every Vanagon is a Westfalia.

VW buses and Westies are still available, but demand for these specialist vehicles has driven up the price of what you receive. They are small and expensive to buy and maintain. Either someone has put tons of work in and expects a big penny, or it’s lesser in terms of price but is overdue for a great deal of effort. They are, nonetheless, well-suited for do-it-yourself mechanical work because of their lack of electronics and computerization.

Small City Vans

Small City Vans

The last group of vans offered in the US is the tiny city-centric vans. Ford Transit Connect, RAM Promaster City, Mercedes Metris, and the discontinued Nissan NV200 & Chevy City Express all seem to be comparable vans in the classification. These are generally too small for a full campervan conversion, as there is hardly enough space for a bed, much less even much more. That is not to say that fantastic conversions do not exist.

Yet, they are substantially less expensive than their full-size equivalents. Maintenance and replacement parts are inexpensive (because they are basically cars). They also have the highest MPG of any vehicle on the list. There are a few special perks for individuals who can manage small sizes.


Hopefully, we haven’t overburdened you with so much details. We’re all aware that there’s a lot to think about. But, while choosing a car to live in, it is well worth your time to evaluate all factors. Yet, if you only remember one thing from this article, let it be this. Don’t become overly fixated on one small detail or too committed to a single brand. Because, in the end, if you locate a good van that meets the majority of your requirements, you’ll be capable of operating it successfully. There’s a lot of good vans out there that we have provided already, especially if you consider getting a GMC conversion van for yourself! Take all the information we shared with you and good luck choosing your own camper van soon.

What You Need to Know about GMC Camper Van and Camper Van Conversions!
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