Who can forget one of the most memorable vehicles to make an appearance in 1983. In fact, who would want to. I’m talking about the black 1983 GMC van with a large tapering red stripe going up the sides ending in a red spoiler on the roof above the back doors. The van had custom red and black rims and was driven by a large African American man with a Mohawk. Yes, you know who I am talking about, that’s right, BA Baracus. The van carried, on most days, three men besides BA, and together they were the A-Team. This was no minivan, this was the ultimate man-van, complete with weapon storage, floodlights on the front of roof and a heavy duty brush guard mounted on the front grill.
If you think back to the 1980’s and try to conjure up some nostalgic memories, you will likely have this van indexed away in there somewhere. You’ll picture this black van with white leather interior and shag carpet. You will think of the team escaping Colonel Lynch or Decker, or making a getaway from a job. You will smile recalling BA’s reaction when the van was stolen and taken to the chop shop and at his happiness when it was found unharmed. You’ll think of the plans being made in the van and remember how you wished you were in there with them, the fifth member of the team.
The A-Team didn’t need any fancy gadgets or gimmicks in the van. They weren’t in need of headlights flipping around into machine guns. They were not equipped with oil slicks or navigation. The van was just what they drove around. All they needed was space to sit and an area to keep their weapons. I think that was part of what made that van as cool as it was, that it was used for everything but wasn’t high-tech. We all loved it because it was actually possible for us to have one like it. It wasn’t something that was impossible for us, it wasn’t science fiction.
Maybe the red stripe and spoiler were what made the van cool. A spoiler on the back of a van? That was unheard of in the early 80’s. Perhaps that made the van so different than anything we had seen that it became awesome. It could have been the brush guard and flood lights, giving it a sense of being a truck that made us feel that it was more manly. It could have been that we all wanted wheels on our vehicles that matched our paint jobs, and because the van had that we thought it was awesome.
One way or another, that van is memorable. It is a standout recollection from my childhood. Thinking about seeing that van on the screen still brings a smile to my face. When my kids get older, I plan to find episodes of The A-Team, so they can see the show that I enjoyed so much as a kid. They will laugh at me when I talk about how cool The A-Team van is, but I still plan on watching it with them and telling them all about the show….and “I love it when a plan comes together.”