My Number One Son has been vehicle shopping since the demise of his (formerly ours) 1998 Grand Caravan ES. The impending demise of Daughter-in-Law Number One’s 1998 Chrylser Concorde (2.7L + 165,000 miles = ticking time bomb) has made this a bit more of an urgent activity. We took some time to look around this weekend and ran across this very clean 1993 Caravan C/V. While I was completely unable to get them interested, I have to admit it did tug at my wallet, albeit very briefly.
Especially when I saw it had 265,691 miles and is powered by a 3.0L V6 – an engine sourced from Mitsubishi that had developed a reputation by 1993 due to dropped valve guides and excessive oil burning. I wonder if this 3.0 may have set a record? More likely, it’s not the original engine… On top of the iffy engine and high miles, the asking price was $2990 (!). In its favor, the three-speed automatic used with its 142hp engine was pretty reliable as compared to the four-speed overdrive. A five-speed manual was standard; I’m not sure if it was offered with the 3.0L, however.
What sets the Caravan C/V apart from normal Caravans is that it’s set up strictly as a cargo hauler; rubber mats and bare painted steel are the order of the day out back. This being a short wheelbase model, hauling sheets of plywood would not be possible, but I’m sure those racks came in handy over the years.
The cab is stock Caravan, with exception of the hard metal console visible in this photo.
I found it amusing that Dodge (Chrysler) was still reminding drivers nearly ten years after the debut of the Caravan that the vehicle had “Front Wheel Drive.” I’m also guessing this van came with the standard AM/FM radio, which has been “upgraded.”
One could order the first-generation C/V with either a standard lift gate as seen on our subject vehicle, or with optional fiberglass “barn doors” out back, which were fitted post-factory. I was unable to confirm if this was the case for second-gen C/Vs.
The second generation would be the last of the K-car derived minivans; the significantly redesigned third generation minivans debuted in 1996. This particular example is a true survivor, having lived its entire life just an hour South of Peoria, IL–right in the heart of the Rust Belt. Someone really took care of it, and I suspect with some selective refreshing of components, it could live on another 5-10 years or more.
So as I mentioned at the top, I was unable to talk Son and Daughter-in-Law into buying the C/V, but we did run across another red vehicle that may just indeed be in their future. Stay tuned!