Or did I even ever know they existed? I don’t know, or I forgot. But now I do. Ever seen one?
I saw a few of these back then. A friend had the passenger van and the driving position was horrible. I believe that there was a glass window behind that side panel. The panel just snapped on over the glass. I am not positive about this though.
I think I might have seen 1 or 2, probably sitting at a Chevrolet dealership. I have also seen 2 or 3 of the Dodge Grand Caravan Cargos…or whatever they are called. I considered getting a Dodge lightly used, but the ones I have seen advertised had well over 100,000 miles on them. I always thought that this type of van, Chevy or Dodge would make a fun camper van or maybe a more modern version of a ” surfer/hippie-type ” van.
I have never seen either van that wasn’t painted white.
The Chrysler version was known as the Caravan (later Ram) C/V. It lasted until Fiat bought Chrysler and replaced it with the rebranded Doblo as the Ram Promaster City.
A shame because the Ram C/V was a much better small cargo van and a step up from the other, similar city vans like the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200. Of the three, the Promaster City is merely adequate and, in most comparisons, lags behind. We’ll see what happens since FCA was bought out by PSA and the corporate name is now Stellantis.
My bet is on the panel van below as the next gen ProMaster City. The fairly fresh, current generation of the Peugeot Partner aka Citroën Berlingo aka Opel/Vauxhall Combo aka Toyota ProAce City aka (future?) Fiat Doblò (pictured is Peugeot’s version).
I like that it has the same cheap wheel covers as a Celebrity. Think I’d pick the Astro instead.
If you’d spent even a small amount of time behind the wheel of an Astro (and you’re taller than 5’4″), you’d want the Lumina. As much as I admire the style and durability of the Astro/Safari wagons, a six-foot tall person like me has absolutely no place to put their left foot and leg in an Astro. The Lumina, even with the five-acre dashboard, is a much better place to be.
Sounds like “Toyota dealer, here we come…”
The Astro/Safari had an interesting career. It never really made it as a competitor to the Chrysler “Magic Wagons,” but found a niche as a cargo van and among people who wanted a minivan with lots of towing power. It certainly made a bigger impact than the Ford Aerostar.
It also developed a very dedicated cult following of customizers – in Japan!
I haven’t seen one in years, but back in the 90’s I worked in Doraville (Atlanta), the home of the U-bodies. Oddly, I think it would be cool to have one now, as they were fairly rare, even back then.
First gen (90-96MY) U van was assembled in Tarrytown,NY. Doraville built the 2nd gen.(97+MYs)
I was 5′, 6″ tall when I drove my Safari. For me it was great. I put 318,000 miles on it and gave it up when it spun a main bearing. I drove the equivalent of the Lumina in the Oldsmobile version. Nice vehicle except for trying to clean the windshield on the inside.
Gotta love that standard rear wiper/washer according to the specs that is nowhere to be seen on said vehicle.
Interesting find, considering that Chrysler swore up and down that 30%-40% of its original minivans would be windowless cargo setups like this, and thus got them regulated as trucks.
Chrysler also straightfacedly safety-certified the PT Cruiser as a “truck”.
I never new they HAD a cargo version of the “Dustbuster.” Obviously it didn’t sell very well. My one experience with these early U-Bodies–cargo OR passenger–was with a junked unit at Pull-a-Part when I was getting spare parts for my ’05 Astro. I got in the driver’s seat just to see what it was actually like seeing the road from one of these: y’all aren’t kidding about that dashboard & windshield!
With the reputation of the Fiat Ducato (RAM ProMaster) as a possible exception, front-wheel-drive just doesn’t hold up all that well for serious cargo duty, hence why most commercial vans continue using a rear-wheel-drive layout. Both have their pros & cons depending on the exact priorities (i.e. interior room & loading height vs. towing & payload ratings); it’s ultimately up to the buyer to decide which ones are the most important.
If it weren’t in a brochure I would have thought this was a screenshot from an early 90s sci fi movie set in the 2000s where even utility vans are sleek and futuristic!
I think it was Predator 2 where dustbusters were being used as patrol cars in future LAPD(which, if you look at crossovers as stylized minivans like I do the D4 explorers kinda imitated art). I have to admit, cheesy as they were they did look cool
This who-ever-saw-one cargo minivan from 1991 reminds me of another who-ever-saw-one cargo minivan from 1991.
Having a window on the single side door but not on the opposite side makes it sort of the ’90s equivalent to an old Econoline or A100 display van.
I don’t recall ever seeing one of those in person
“Total cargo area is a spacious 3.2 m^3 Litres (115.4 cu ft)“
They must have been new to this metric thing. That’s not how it works.
Leading with the metric units makes me think this cargo model was targeted outside the USA. I don’t recall ever seeing one stateside.
Pleased that just about all of these “Dust Busters” have faded away.
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