Learn about the history of Mark's A-Team Van Replica!
Arkansan Mark Osborne loved 80s television growing up. He obviously took much interest in the action-packed, high-flyin' show known as "The A-Team" starring George Peppard, Mr.T, Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz.
Recently "The A-Team" started showing up on a local Arkansas television station in the form of re-runs - something that has happened little in recent years. Released on DVD, the original television show has enjoyed a surge in popularity as of late - and enjoyed a hightened interest in the famous Black and Red van that moved the characters of the show from mission to mission.
Mark set out on an "A-Team" mission of his own - to build an A-Team van replica. This particular van was built by Patrick Hagarman of Scotlea Hot Rods in Oklahoma.
With no privately owned screen-used vans out there - replicas of the van are the only way to go. The series of course used numerous vans - some even older models with round headlights, and occasionally second-unit stunt vans without the molded running boards. The consensus among remaining cast members seems to be a consistent number of five "hero" vans used during the shows run.
GMC was the original maker of the early 80s G-Series vans seen on the show. Finding one in decent shape that can be used for a replica is harder than one might think. The van must have the rare "solid" door without side windows and the double opening doors in the back with windows. G-Series vans were sold in many configurations and in both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton configurations. For a replica - one needs a 1/2 model (so it will accept the correct wheels) - and be absent the side windows so common on these models.
The side door actually requires some modification in order to clear the body kit used around the wheel wells of the van. Without modification - the door will actually damage the body work when opening.
On the television show, the van actually displayed different variations in equipment. If they need survillence or recording equipment per the story, it would somehow be present. While Mark considered going with an exact replica and attempting to source the correct reel-to-reel equipment and interior materials - he ultimately decided on what would be more useful. Mark has friends and family that he wanted to be able to put in the van - and when with a more useful seating and couch arrangement inside. He even went with two overhead flat screen televisions - with video game inputs.
In it's original delivered configuration, Mark's A-Team van was equipped with a factory 305 motor. Mark left it that way for sometime - but it just didn't have the "get up" he was looking for. Mark fondly remember the way B.A.'s van could do a burnout on the show - and looked for a way to be able to do that.
Fate would have it that Mark fell into an excellent deal on a 385 stroker motor. Installing a new motor in a van is no easy process as much disassembly has to take place to make it happen. Once Mark determined the 385 was right for the van - the van went out of commission for a while and came back stronger than ever.
With it's current gearing and the new motor - burning rubber in the van is absolutely NO problem. In fact, it will do it from a dead stop or at 10 mph!
(Above) Here is the A-Team van in the building process. Note the ground effects are in place at this point.
The A-Team van in all it's glory! Mark took a couple of liberties with the van to include the addition of "The A-Team" front license plate, more useable mirrors than seen on the television show, and an impoved and more comfortable interior.
The final breakdown of the build as follows:
1986 G20 GMC van with 385 fast burn motor (see photo below)
Mark's A-Team van motor was orrdered with a custom cam and other parts- in the end this motor puts out over 400 hp and over 400lbs of torque! The power makes it to the rear wheels via a 700R4 transmission 4 speed auto with over drive and rear end 373 gears. Other additions include 5% window tint and 35% front windshield tint. Two flip down 8” TVs and Surround Sound speakers throughout the van interior. Seating is via Captain Chairs that swivel and a
rear seat that folds down to a bed.