Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘The A-Team’: All About the 80s Action Show’s GMC Vandura Van

‘The A-Team’: All About the 80s Action Show’s GMC Vandura Van

The A-Team offered peak 80s TV high-octane action, with every episode featuring a modified GMC Vandura van. The show follows a group of ex-U.S. special forces officers who break out of a military prison for a crime they didn’t commit. They operate as mercenaries, fighting on the right side and engaging in shoot-outs while evading the law.

The cast featured a colorful gang of four that appealed to kids and much as adults. Hannibal (George Peppard), B.A. Baracus (Mr. T), Faceman (Dirk Benedict), and Howlin’ Mad Murdock (Dwight Schultz) all had fans and made Mr. T a cultural icon. Of course, during the show’s 1983-1987 run, there was a fifth unchanging team member. B.A.’s trusty sidekick: a sleek black 1983 GMC Vandura van, the A-Team‘s stylish ride.

B.A.’s Vandura had a red stripe on the hood and side panels, black and red wheels, and a red rear spoiler. Perhaps not ideal for a crew trying to stay inconspicuous. The A-Team’s Vandura, while not as classic as other TV cars, is now iconic to 80s TV fans like KITT or Magnum’s Ferrari.

The ‘A-Team’s Van is Highly Customizable

The GMC Vandura was manufactured from 1964 to 1996. Throughout its production, GMC maintained the Vandura’s appearance with minimal alterations. However, some enhancements were made to ensure compliance with evolving safety and fuel efficiency standards.

The GMC Vandura and its counterpart, the Chevy Sport Van, were crafted for customization. They provided a selection of three door options, six engines, four transmissions, and three wheelbase lengths. In its third generation, the 1983 Vandura stood as a sturdy van. It featured a steering column and brakes borrowed from Chevy’s C/K series trucks.

Of course, the show took advantage of this easily customizable vehicle. The A-team’s production crew installed a grill guard, fog lights, a red spoiler on the rooftop, red rims, and the iconic red stripe running along the van’s sides.

The iconic black GMC Vandura is featured in every episode of The A-Team. GMC offered various versions for different scenes. These included one with a sunroof for main shots and one without for stunts. However, this caused continuity problems, with scenes alternating between the sunroof-less van and suddenly having a sunroof in the next shot.

Throughout its four-year run, the show went through about eight vans, according to Classic TV Cars. Obviously, with the stunts it pulled off, the vans took a beating. The team would jump over obstacles like bridges under construction to evade authorities or bad guys. However, after a van was used in a jump, it was usually unusable and had to be replaced.

Meanwhile, in the decades since The A-Team went off the air, B.A.’s van has become a favorite for gearheads to recreate. Of course, scores of shops and YouTubers have painstakingly modified GMC Vanduras to look like the iconic 80s vehicle. The replicas have helped ensure that The A-Team’s action legacy remains intact.