These vans were the same vehicle as the Chevrolet Astro van. Although many people refer to them as minivans, they were larger than other minivans made by General Motors, and they were based on a truck platform. They were similar to the Ford Aerostar in that regard, although the Aerostar was more targeted towards the family buyer.
These vans were more than just stripped down passenger vehicles. They could tow a lot more weight than front wheel drive passenger minivans. The Safari could pull 6,000 lbs when properly equipped. Most passenger minivans could tow only 3,500 lbs.
A total of 3.7 million Chevy Astro and GMC Safari vans were built. The Chevy version finally was discontinued in 2005 following sagging sales in North America. For reasons that are difficult to explain, this van is very popular in Japan. They are highly sought after and can be found in heavily modified form on just about every street.
If you are looking to buy one of these vans, you shouldn't have much trouble finding one. Look in any car classifieds and you're bound to find a few. You can also find them in abundance on eBay, along with all sorts of original and modified parts.