Van Week Leftover: “This Is Not An Abandoned Vehicle”


I don’t know about you, but I for one am never vanned out – Van Week or not! For those of you who’re of the same mind, I offer two sides of the same coin, both spotted in the same neighborhood a mere two days ago.


As many of you have likely gathered by now, I hail from just outside a small burg somewhere between the Twin Cities and Duluth. For me to be killing time in Minneapolis is virtually unheard of. (Heck, for me to be in Minneapolis at all is unheard of.)

But this past Monday, I found myself doing just that. Paperwork for the 9C1 Impala I’d just adopted was caught up in some sort of snafu. The resolution was going to take at least thirty minutes. So I decided to swing back and snap this pair of CCs while I waited, there being nothing I could do to speed things along.


Yes, folks, the CC Effect is real! Here’s living proof: an early ’70s high-roof Chevy camper van.


Those of you from out west and down south (including the lucky, lucky folks who frequently post Oregonian cars here) might not think much of this view. But for me, here in the heart of road salt country – where we measure it in terms of pounds per resident, per season – this borders on miraculous.


Here we learn two things. One, it’s gotta be early ’70s (I’ve never seen that particular badge before… wild guess ’71-72?). And two, it’s local.

Wayzata is a ritzy western suburb located on glamourous Lake Minnetonka, where the rich and famous partake in weekend sailing and yachting, while politicians pose for photo ops with fish likely caught by someone else. That this van is here in a blue-collar Minneapolis neighborhood tells us it’s surely on at least its second owner.


Clearly this one’s been kept in service, still doing the job it was built for. The crappy respray is unfortunate – but at least it’s a solid 20-footer when clean.


The lap of luxury, or something like that. (Blue interior with woodgrain trim? “Far out, man!” Or perhaps, “It’s like the dash of my boat!”)


Hard to tell whether the sticker is in jest or not – perhaps they sometimes park it on the street? The bias spare is also worth noting.


A couple blocks away at Big Bob’s Carpet (seriously), we find this cream puff. Just $750 and this rolling disaster handyman special can be yours!


Can’t see the rockers? That’s because there are none. This is more typical of what becomes of Chevy vans around here. Consider that this is a ’90 or ’91, and you’ll see why the survival of our previous Smurf-esque example is so extraordinary.


Interior with the usual vinyl buckets, and a cargo cage – the sort that might have made Mr. Grey’s story much less harrowing, had the van he was driving been so equipped. The yellow paint also hints strongly that this van was once part of a rental fleet.

Many cargo vans live a tough life, but this one looks to have taken a few more lashes than most.


Being without the bottom six inches of the rockers and quarters is one thing, I guess; but being without the bottom six inches of your back doors is another. Two different conversion vans donated to the cause.

What’s almost as scary as the condition of this thing’s steel brake and fuel lines? The fact that it only had 160K miles on the clock. A hard life indeed!