(first posted 6/21/2013) Why the endless questions and arguments about the origins of the Chrysler minivans? It’s the old story: “success has a thousand fathers”. You don’t see designers and execs fighting about the paternity of the Aztek. We’ve already taken a wild (and disputed) stab at finding the maternal lineage of European minivans, but the American minivan paternity wars go on.
Its origins clearly go back to the early seventies, when both Chrysler and Ford developers claim to have been working on “garageable vans”. Meanwhile, the commonly held story is that Hal Sperlich and Lee Iacocca’s Minimax concept was spurned by Henry Ford II, and they took it with them to bring to fruition at Chrysler. And as usual, it’s not quite as simple as that.
Before we jump into the Ford side of the story, lets quickly recap Chrysler’s. In an article at Allpar, Burton Bouwkamp, Chrysler’s Director of Product Planning at the time, makes the claim that Chrysler was working on a RWD “garageable van” in the early and mid seventies, but were unable to get the funding to take it beyond the clay model and seating buck stage. It wasn’t until Hal Sperlich and Lee Iacocca arrived from Ford, that the general idea was put on the front burner again, but this time in a more compact FWD package that eventually became the production Chrysler minivan.
It would be fair to say that those early explorations at Chrysler were likely no more than many manufacturers did: ponder various concepts then yet unbuilt. And likewise, it doesn’t seem fair to credit them for any more than that; if Sperlich and Iacocca hadn’t come with their pre-existing ideas from Ford, there likely wouldn’t have ever been a Chrysler minivan.
The story that is generally circulated is that Sperlich’s idea for a small van at Ford was rebuffed by Henry Ford II, implying that Ford blew the opportunity to develop the first small van. But like most stories of the kind, it wasn’t nearly that simple. Hank II strongly endorsed a “garageable van”, and the Carousel concept was built in 1972 and was almost production ready. As can be seen in the image at the very top, the Carousel wasn’t really a minivan; it was just a somewhat cut-down version of the new generation Econoline that went into production in 1974.
The key differences were a lower roof and of course more station wagon styling, to differentiate it from the more utilitarian Econoline.
A thread at fomoconews.com on the origins of the American minivan brought the designer of the above pictured Ford Carousel concept, and some very enlightening facts about it and the Minimax (no pictures available, but perhaps a bit like a smaller Xb). Dick Nesbitt was a designer at Ford in the early 1970s, and in his words he describes the circumstances:
… when I was assigned to the Light Truck and Tractor studio, we received a product planning directive to develop a derivative of the upcoming new Ford Econoline Van, code named “Nantucket” and due for release in 1975. The derivative was code named “Carousel” and was intended to attract station wagon buyers with more car-like styling combined with the added appeal of van utility.
From hundreds of concept sketches created by staff designers in this studio during 1972, one of mine was selected by Hal Sperlich, Director of Product Planning, and Lee Iacocca as the approved design direction. I directed the construction of a full-size clay model, and the vehicle received a great deal of interest from Henry Ford II. Unfortunately, the OPEC oil embargo of 1973 halted further development after a drivable, fabricated metal prototype (top) had been built.
The Carousel was specifically designed as a “Garageable Family Van” alternative to the traditional station wagon market segment. This concept later became one of the most successful and enduring product innovations ever created when Hal Sperlich and Lee Iacocca launched the Plymouth Voyager/Dodge Caravan in 1984. (from automotivechronicles.com)
Nesbitt goes to clarify that the “Garageable Family Van” and the Minimax were not at all one and the same, but that the Minimax was a very compact four-seater FWD boxy car designed for congested urban settings:
The Carousel significantly influenced the Chrysler Minivan success story, Hal Sperlich and Lee Iacocca have often referred to the MiniMax as being the inspiration for the Voyager/Caravan although it was a very small urban vehicle created as a possible solution to overcrowded city traffic problems. The MiniMax concept was a four passenger front wheel drive commuter vehicle with almost no luggage storage capacity and no real future. The significance of the Carousel proposal was that it offered a dramatically improved alternative to the typical interior-space-restricted station wagons of the 1970′s. The key “Nantucket Family Van” variation design and marketing directive was to create a lower “garageable” overall height compared to the Econoline van range from which it was derived, combined with more automotive-like styling.
The non-garageable height and truck-like styling of the Econoline Club Wagon series were seen as major obstacles to any kind of high volume sales characteristic of contemporary station wagons–but the interior room available in a van had obvious advantages. The Carousel Family Van was intended to represent the best of both worlds, and was seen by Ford as a major marketing breakthrough opportunity. Chrysler’s Minivans were and are not really “Mini” at all–and achieved monumental success as a more space efficient “Family Van” alternative to contemporary station wagons combined with “garageable” height and automotive-like styling as a direct extension of the original Carousel idea back in 1972.
This account clarifies that the Ford Garageable Van and Minimax concepts were two totally different vehicles; the Carousel being a bit larger than the original Chrysler minivans, but in the same general vein. The Minimax really doesn’t belong in the discussion, except for the fact that it tried to maximize interior space by using FWD, but was otherwise a diminutive vehicle.
It also makes it quite clear that what was developed at Chrysler was something on the larger side of the middle of the two, which was clearly a more pragmatic solution in response to both the energy crisis and the availability of the K-car platform. It also makes it clear that Ford took the “garageable van” concept much closer to production than Chrysler’s early clays of theirs, as well as being highly predictive of the RWD Ford Aerostar that was hurriedly put into production to do battle with Chrysler’s minivans. So now we just need a picture of the early 1970s Minimax to make that family tree, and close the door on this subject.
Here’s a photo of the MiniMax:
It’s a mini dustbuster van!
I think that may be from a later era…what makes you sure that’s the Minimax?
I just checked; that’s from 1983, a styling concept by Ghia called Minimax. Ten years later….
Here’s a second photo of the Carousel:
Ah yes. The beginning of a golden age of vehicles designed with function, practicality, and comfort in mind. So unlike today’s cramped and swoopy trucklets masquerading as family vehicles.
Reliability, performance, and safety are different stories of course. But I hate most of what is being marketed as family vehicles these days. And I don’t think there has ever been an uglier overall market segment than the newest crop of minivans.
This. The Nissan Quest is exceptionally hideous. A shame, because its original iteration in the early 90s as a badge-engineered Mercury Villager was fairly attractive as minivans go.
Loving those Grand Marquis wheels.
I think those were first used on the 70 Thunderbird. Those things got used for years, even on some of the early Panther Marquis.
Yeah I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve seen them on the mid-70s Marquis as well.
I’m surprised at how complete that Carousel prototype looks, I wonder if it survives somewhere deep inside a Ford warehouse?
I wonder if it was nixed because of concerns about it stealing sales from Fords own Country Squire’s and et al?
Yes, this is definitely where the Aerostar side window treatment came from.
I have an auto magazine from 1966 (I think it was called “Motor Life”) with an article that was a prediction of cars in 10 years. If it had been a 20 year prediction, it would have been scarily accurate. It predicted prevalence of FWD and “garageable” vans. I believe it also predicted the rise of the personal luxury segment.
As a current owner of an Aztek (again!), I had to laugh about the line with “You don’t see designers and execs fighting about the paternity of the Aztek.”
I really didn’t intend on commenting about the Ford minivan, but I wanted to note about the juxtaposition of cars you find in the “wild”. The photo of the xB with the Flex shows me more about the relationships of these cars to one another, even though they’re not related in any way other than the fact that they’re cars. It’s neat to see how similar, yet dissimilar they are at the same time.
Aztek, FTW. 🙂
David Halberstam, in his book The Reckoning, makes a persuasive case that the minivan had roots in the Mini-Max concept; and that it was Sperlich’s baby. Sperlich, like his friend and sponsor Iacocca, liked to tweak the bureaucracy and do end-runs around the chain of command. At one important product-planning meeting, one of those Ford meetings that were entirely scripted and the decisions reached beforehand…at one such he proposed development of a Mini-Max-type van. Finance, in the person of J. Edward Lundy, shot him down. According to script.
Sperlich bucked. That was just not done in Henry II’s Ford. Off script, he presented research numbers; and allowing for error, cut them down to TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT of the market-research potential – and showed it profitable.
For his trouble, he was shouted down by Lundy – and left the meeting with a big red bull’s-eye on his back. Some time later Henry II ordered Iacocca to fire Sperlich – to punish Hal and to humiliate Lido. It was the beginning of the end of the Iacocca Reign at Ford.
And as it turned out, suggests Halberstam, the seeds of the minivan-based rocket-fueled recovery at Chrysler. Sperlich landed there…an unknowing advance-man for Iacocca. He identified problems and in his mind made plans to reverse them. So when Lido followed out the door at Ford, a lot of the preparation was done – all that was needed was a housecleaning and key people in place…and product, and development money.
Whether correct or not, it’s a persuasive argument. I can see why Henry II’s defenders would want to minimize his destructive role in Chrysler’s taking the lead on minivan creation; but apologists and revisionists always abound.
I remember reading in Iaocca’s book that HFII could be a terror when he wanted to, especially after he had tipped back a few, entire careers of Ford employees were destroyed because HFII didn’t like the way that guy was dressed that day.
I can’t help bu wonder if Halberstam got it right about the Minimax. When I started doing some research on it, despite the lack of pictures available, all sources described it as a very small vehicle; essentially a sub-compact FWD hatchback, probably closer in size to the gen1 VW Golf, if not even smaller; perhaps more like the original Fiesta.
I wonder if in folks’ memories the Minimax got mixed up with the Carousel….it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.
Concepts like the Minimax were being explored at GM and such too, as “people movers” for urban areas of the future. But they never got very far back then, for obvious reasons.
Well…the 1960s were full of concepts. I remember one PACCAR prototype of a taxicab; cabover front, sedan rear with trunk. Not very practical but it was really intended as a think-outside-the-box exercise.
Ideas for small or smallish vehicles that broke out of the three-box mold were floating around with all the major manufacturers. Few of them made it to articulate proposals; even fewer made it to market-research efforts.
This may be where Sperlich came in. He gathered the numbers and found it made sense. But it didn’t fit in with Lundy’s rigid profit-per-unit world; and thus didn’t fit in with Henry II’s world.
Likewise, the Chrysler boys may have been playing with the idea of a radically-different carbody on a K platform. But nothing seemed to come of it, until Sperlich, Iacocca, and the Ford expatriates landed in Highland Park and tried to think their way out of the devastation.
What it comes down to, is, Who made it happen? And, Who took steps to PREVENT it from happening? The answers seem to be, Sperlich; and Ford and Lundy, respectively.
Likewise, the Chrysler boys may have been playing with the idea of a radically-different carbody on a K platform.
No, their early doodlings of a garageable van were well before the K-car era; as I said in the post, that was in the early seventies.
There’s no question that after Sperlich arrived at Chrysler, he fathered the idea of what became the Chrysler minivan.
I posted that link in yesterday’s discussion about drawings that Steve Bollinger did for such a van at Chrysler dated 1978. No further dating other than 1978, but seeing as Iacocca did not come on board to Chrysler until late 1978, I can only imagine that these were done under the idea of Sperlich (who I believe was at Chrysler through all of 78) as well as stuff Chrysler was doing on its own.
As I remember the scuttlebutt at the time, most of the discussions of ‘small vans’ usually revolved around mini versions of the big vans. Like what I opined last night which ultimately became the Aerostar and Astro/Safari.
Sperlich pushed the garage able van concept at Chrysler, which Iacocca took up again once they got the initial K car program going. The big question that I want to know is whether the FWD K platform was used out of necessity (as I suspect) or one that they truly wanted to do from the beginning. No one in Detroit at the time really considered FWD to be the basis for larger vehicles. Yes GM had the Toronado and Eldorado, but they were unique and expensive vehicles. That engineering design was not real cost effective or practical for use on small cars.
When news of Chrysler’s T115 program began circulating on the grapevine and being based on the K platform, there was a little bewilderment. The conventional wisdom at the time for a van was that in addition to being a people mover, it was first and foremost a utility vehicle. The only other small van on the market at the time was the VW Bus, and while it was popular in certain circles, it was woefully underpowered for all but basic duties. After the experience with the Corvans, no one expected Detroit to put out anything that wasn’t substantial. RWD was the expected platform for all practical purposes, every truck from the time they were made were nominally RWD, a design feature that remains today.
Part of what drove GM and Ford to push the Aerostar and Astro/Safari was not only expediency but the expectation that perhaps the Chrysler vans would become more of a niche vehicle and that most buyers would still prefer some brawn with their people mover. Well it turns out that there was some truth to that but also much more to the story. The Aerostar, and especially the Astro/Safari, did sell in respectable numbers to people who DID want some brawn with their beast (the Chrysler vans were somewhat underpowered for anything but basic people moving until the arrival of the V6), the Chrysler vans opened up a new concept of usage in that a lot of people began to buy it simply because it was basically was a car and not particular capable of commercial work. Yes, Chrysler offered cargo versions of the vans and they are often seen being used by people in small trades, but ladders will almost exclusively be seen on Astros.
Chrysler did not have the financial resources nor the existing tooling to really do anything other than with the K platform or try to make a smaller version of their existing Tradesman van (which would have been essentially what the Carousel was to Chrysler). So it was one of those circumstances that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Baby Boomers who were quickly moving into their prime years of planet populating and usually with incomes that could support new car purchases wanted to move away from station wagons which they grew up with and were seen as a big old fashioned. RWD mini-vans would have been seen as somewhat crude, as the Astro was and Aerostar to a lesser extent. The Chrysler vans developed a fashionable aura about them, like the station wagon for the 80s.
Part of the success of the Chrysler van was that it was such a basic concept. Aside from its plebian DNA coming from the Aries/Reliant, it was a very conventional looking design, basically a two box square. It was a very clean design, not particularly ambitious, but highly functional. By the time they came out in the fall of 1983, people were already used to the K based mechanics, at least a million Aries and Reliant had been sold plus Chrysler had already revived the convertible. Many (if not most) of the same mechanical parts were shared with the other cars, so there was not a lot of learning curve in servicing them.
Ford and GM pinned their hopes on the original mindset of the minivans and met with some success but not like Chrysler. The import makes tried various original type designs (like the Previa) that had their vans but did not ignite the market. It wasn’t until Toyota finally built a vehicle (the Sienna) that was conventional like the Chrysler vans and met with success (but not enough to overtake Chrysler) almost 15 model years later.
But that was the beauty, like the Mustang before it, it was nothing more that a rearrangement of mostly existing parts that created a vehicle that most people thought was entirely new.
The Astro and Aerostar were better substitutes for what many people had asked of their family hauler in the past. They were capable of hauling the boat or camping trailer in addition to hauling the kids to school and soccer. Most people I knew with Aerostars did use them for towing something. For some reason the Astro people I knew weren’t as big into towing something. For a time the Aerostar was the best selling minivan due in part to it’s added capabilities vs the Chryslers and the fact that the other guys split their sales up between 2 name plates.
Ford’s finance people in that era were, by most every account I’ve read, strenuously opposed to front-wheel drive for anything, even the B-segment project that became the Fiesta. One of the execs who talked to writer Edouard Seidler said every time you mentioned FWD, the Finance guys acted like you were trying to pick their pockets.
This explains how Ford was able to ‘whip up’ the Aerostar so quickly. Just pulled off the shelf the ’72 design and voila!
Not really since the Carousel was based on the BOF Econoline and the Aerostar was a unibody.
The resemblance between the Carousel and the Aerostar is striking.
I see a lot of elements of the Flex in that sketch as well.
Flex from the rear:
Full size passenger vans started selling more in the early 70’s, and there was the beginning of move from big wagons. VW Bus was gaining some converts
Know of some families I grew up with that traded wagons for a Dodge or Ford big van. There was also the conversion van market brewing.
But, people wanted to ‘garage it’, so there was pent up demand for minivans. Ford and GM let Chrysler be the ‘beta tester’, but they were ready quick with their RWD ‘middie-vans’.
So, one big root of minivans was the ‘hippie vans’ and Econolines.
Vans, like RVs, became more popular partly from the fact that people had more disposable income as well as the fact that vans and RVs were more useful than station wagons. Station wagons existed so that groups of people (mostly) families could travel from Point A to Point B and have enough room in the back for their luggage. Then with the various social changes in the late 60s, people began to do more things with their vehicles on trips than simply use them for carriage. You saw it in the explosion of camper tops for trucks and the like, people starting enjoying them as part of the travel experience sort of like the old Cunard tagline “Getting there is half the fun.” Vans and RVs offered a chance for people to get more out of the trip rather than just sitting in the seat.
The VWs were popular in certain circles for this reason but those reasons were usually much more unique than mainstream. “Hippie” lifestyle was not going to sell mainstream vans as well as the fact that the VW was woefully underpowered for a lot of applications.
Conversion vans were rather expensive as a family car at the time. They were fashionable in the 70s until the late 80s mostly with upper middle class and above families who may or may not have boats but could afford a conversion van and used them for all of the amenities they provided. My aunt purchased a Glaval converted Chevrolet G20 van in 1987 fully loaded and paid about $17,500 for it. That was a healthy price tag at the time, when a Cadillac deVille was $21,000. The MSRP for a Dodge Caravan was around $10,500. The Chrysler vans, being somewhat fashionable, and priced like that brought the experience down to virtually all families able to afford a new car.
Being rwd means to me that the ford product would have worked well with trailers. That would put it right up there with the astrovan as a work/play vehicle. Good history Paul. Thanks.
Yeah I saw pictures of this back then popular mechanics probably of course the Ford was RWD noone other than BMC was stupid enough to turn storied brands into the FWD crap nobody wanted to buy economic suicide wasnt real popular back then, Lido took Chrysler along with its Renault tie up into the minivan market aping the Renault Espace using mitsu powertrains he had no choice but use FWD his suppliers built nothing else, that it worked is history but it was hardly his idea.
1. The Espace and Caravan/Voyager came out in the exact same model year (1983 as 1984 models).
2. Chrysler did not tie up with anyone. They sold their European operations to Peugeot, not Renault in the late 1970s after Lido came on board.
3. AMC tied up with Renault, but no minivan ever came of it.
Lido could have used RWD as there were bodies for it around – the Ram Van, the M Bodies, etc. FWD was probably chosen as it made more sense for a fuel-efficient people mover. Remember, the minivan came out for the 1984 model year (in 1983). Everyone was scared stiff of more oil price hikes as seen in 1973 and 1979. They expected to see more.
Yeas you are correct Chrysler Europe sold out to PSA not Renault, however several European manufacturers were shopping at Mitsubishi for FWD powertrains at the time and no doubt marvelling at the aerodynamic flat floor Mitsubishi FWD floor pans that debuted here as the Magna in 84 ok the trans was oil soluble and the Astron blocks cracked easily but to drive they were quite nice and a manual car well maintained could last ok and I can easily see the Zackman family liking Lidos version a good one was ok. The van we didnt get here untill the 90s.
As I mentioned in the article that inspired this one many of the engineers and stylists from International Harvester’s Scout Business Unit were hired by Chyrsler when the unit was closed. They had done concepts for a couple of Mini Vans during their tenure at IH. One that made it to a steel styling concept was a FWD unibody version. Of course IH didn’t have a FWD drivetrain nor experience with unibodies and the project never moved forward. Then in 79 or so they did a number of drawings of Mini Van concepts that would have ridden the Scout frames giving two different lengths. I’d bet that a number of those engineers did work on the T115 project given the early sketches of what would become the Chrysler minivan. Certainly they would not have been in the position to approve such a vehicle but I’m sure they presented their ideas and recent market research that had indicated a place in the market for such a vehicle. So in addition to Ford missing the first sailing IH missed it a couple of times too.
I can see why it would have gotten nowhere; and why the proponents left for Chrysler. By that time, the IH pickup truck platform had been cancelled three years earlier; and the Scout was riding on inertia alone. In fact, IH, struggling as it was in those years, was aggressively trying to sell the Scout line and plant to anyone interested. One deal, IIRC, almost went through; and when it cratered, the decision was made to kill the line.
In the face of that, and given the desperation of the time which led them to sell the tractor line and the International Harvester name, even…why would they be exploring a market they had less and less success in, over the years?
The Scout’s fate, and any dreams of a consumer automotive product, were pretty much a closed book by that time.
It wasn’t that they left for Chrysler it was that they were let go when the unit was closed and a large number of them just happened to pop up at Chrysler. Yes IH did try to sell the Scout Business Unit starting in early 1979, the sketch of the Scout based Mini Van was actually in the SBU’s final presentation to save their bacon. I have it somewhere around here but haven’t been able to locate it since I moved. They actually made a strong case for keeping the Scout alive with a number of predictions that in the end played out even better than expected. IE the comming boom of the Sport Utility Segment and the emergence of a new “Mini Van” segment and likely boom in it.
They ultimately wanted funding to introduce the SSV (Scout Supplemental Vehicle) for 1981 along side the existing SII products and restart the Scout III project, who’s funding was diverted to the SSV, that included the Mini Van variants.
The last of the proposals of where to go with the SBU did indicate trying to sell it as an on-going concern. Most of the speculation was that the suitor they courted the hardest was Chrysler. Part of that was due to the fact that they had been sourcing power train from Chrysler, the 727 and CN (SD)-33 and had prototyped and inked a deal to use the 225 slant 6 as the base gas engine for the 1981 model year and were considering the 318 as well. Which is likely why many of the engineers ended up a Chrysler since some had already worked together.
The deal they had almost complete was with Coachman industries and it was for them to produce the composite SSV body and do final assembly on the existing chassis with the aforementioned power trains that still would have been assembled on the existing Ft Wayne line. If that had went through the regular Scout would have likely been kept in production.
When that fell through IH pulled the plug as the other divisions were bleeding cash like crazy and of course they were forced to sell off the Ag business to keep alive shortly there after.
The Carousel seems to me to have more than a passing familiarity with the Aerostar. Very similar size, similar power train layout. I remember seeing some Aerostar prototypes running around Orange County, CA. in late 1984. Looked like they were still pinning down the final design at that point. I owned a ’88 Aerostar Eddie Bauer (short version) for a while around 1993 or so, and it was quite a capable vehicle. Road very nice, and was great on long trips with 2 small kidletts.
I had read elsewhere that during the development of GM’s FWD X-cars a minivan type version was kicked-around, but ultimately killed due to concerns that it would cannibalize station wagon sales. (Which I guess the minivans ultimately did.) Knowledge of this possible development at GM was used at Chrysler to help legitimize/spur development of their minivans. “See, they’re doing it, too!”
There was never a minivan in development at GM like what was developed at Chrysler. That was really something new and unexpected. The prevailing thought at the time was that vans were always going to be RWD, like trucks, because they were looked at as utility vehicles. At that time, most vans and trucks were used for commercial purposes or for people hauling and not really meant to replace station wagons for domestic duties. Most always believed that the car-like aspect of the T115 was mainly due to Chrysler being unable to develop a more conventional design. Chrysler has no V6 and hadn’t planned on carrying a V8 in passenger cars past 1983. So their minivan became a K car van by default. As such they couldn’t afford to fit out the vans with unique equipment so they became even more car like. So it was one of those things that was one part planning one part circumstance.
There were a few X car wagon mules developed mostly for work on the A car program. GM never planned for anything more models than what was developed for the X cars. The A cars were the intermediate car replacement and as such got the wagons.
I`m not a fan of minivans-they conjure up images of soccer moms driving their offspring to games,sterile suburban gated communities, and Clinton, Kerry or Obummeer errr Obama or “save the “–you choose what animal you want bumper stickers. But, lets face the facts. Chrysler did not invent the minivan.Amyboby remember the VW bus.?That was the first minivan, some 25 years ahead of Chrysler.
Thanks to Dick Nesbitt, A testimonial of Don DeLaRossa and the Roy Axe biography, I finally found one of the Mini-Max studies. I will publish it soon on my Facebook page “Car Design Archives”.
Interesting note: T small wagon market was so starved by the lack of one that when the 1976 Dodge Aspen and Volare Wagons were introduced, original model run was to be 25% of production. By the late fall of 1975, production was revised to devote 50% of Aspen/Volare production to the wagons. And sell they did! This means that the market for a “garageable van” was definitely desired by the American buying public. They grabbed the best utilitarian wagon.
A little off subject, but those wheel covers on the main pic are the ugliest crap and yet Ford made them for like 20 years and even used them in Australia. Yuck. When really ugly stuff gets used forever, it makes you wonder why.
Judging from the dates, the Carousel project preceded the MiniMax idea, and it apparently was an evolving project over considerable time; the “1973” looks like it could be Pinto-based, the “1976” Fiesta. There is a third Ghia proposal from 1973 out there labeled as a MiniMax By the poster, but it honestly looks like a taller Pinto wagon that is basically a squared-up AMC Pacer wagon, especially from the B-pillar back, so I don’t think it really fits the MiniMax “van” mold.
The first American mini van had to be the Corvan and Greenbriar
Didn’t the Econoline predate the Corvair-based vans by a few months?
Interesting coulda been story here .
Pops bought a 1984 Dodge Caravan and loved it, it was still in VGC when he sold it on decades later .
I don’t like mini vans for the usual reasons but that Carvan did Yeoman duty from Hawaii to New Jersey and landed in Washington state, not bad for a cheap van .