BAM! Seeing this Dodge van bouncing down US 67, I was automatically transported back to the late 1970s.
The late ’70s was a great time to be a child as the cocktail of disco, disaster movies, and loud polyester clothing dug into my psyche like a hungry eagle clasps onto an unsuspecting fish and it has vibrantly colored my outlook on all things in life. The torrent of thoughts this Dodge triggered almost enveloped my being, furthered by my piloting a newer rig cut from the same boxy cloth, helping the mental barrage of so many 1970s era goings-on crest even higher.
Seeing this Dodge, it wasn’t in the dark of the moon on the sixth of June, nor was I in a Kenworth pulling logs.
If anything, this rig falls closer to the chartreuse microbus. Seeing any shorty cargo van looking so copacetic is true eye-candy, even for the devout non-fans of vans such as myself.
Maybe this rig is packing the 360 (5.9 liter) V8 that became available in 1974 for the shorties. It would be totally bitchin’ if it did, not the grueler one built with a slant six would be. This one is worthy for a convoy to somewhere like Luckenbach, Texas.
While to these eyes vans are little more than annoying and oafish conveyances that inhabit the Spectrum of Unpleasant Things somewhere in the vicinity of root canals and prostate exams, don’t black saber me. Like root canals and prostate exams, vans also have a specific purpose in their tortured existence. Despite any appearances to the contrary, I do appreciate this particular Dodge for its stamina and defying the odds, bad color and all.
This Mopar Mama may not be a brick house, but it does toss a guy into a groove. Something about it sings to me…
And it does so almost as well as this brunette. Mrs. Jason, also a brunette, refers to a particular white van as a dream boat, but a Dream Boat Annie it is not. I’m not going crazy on you and it’s doubtful this sentiment has put me alone in the crowd.
Hey man, there was a crowd of these Dodge vans, on both the street and in the sales catalog. Take your pick; two wheelbases, three weight ratings, a choice of windows, and engines from that 3.7 liter leaning tower of power to four different V8s of the 318, 360, 400, and 440 variety – that’s magic, man.
Ma Mopar will set you up; with up to 440 cool beans under that skinny hood (but only on the longies), you could haul ass, or anything else, like a boss.
You could even get your Tradesman with a to-go box. Far out.
Of course, that’s just the same cab and chassis that was used for RVs during the Ford and Carter years. Even though Chrysler was in a heap of trouble as a company for most of the 1970s, they did dominate some market segments, such as the RV market. There just weren’t enough of those markets for Chrysler to remain in the black.
This ad is such a sign of the times, advertising a 63 ampere alternator as an upgrade. Arguably the closest in spiritual kinship to this Dodge nowadays is a Ford E-350 (didn’t they have that name before Mercedes?) with a standard 120 ampere alternator and an available 225 ampere unit.
So maybe you are asking yourself – what’s the driver’s seat like, dude? Let me tell you…
It looks like it was marinated in all that was the 1970s – but in a really tasteful way, man. Earth tones are always cool, always possessing some link with contemporary fashion, regardless of the times. And this color totally spanks all the uninspired black found in the gut of contemporary cars.
Forty years from now, people will likely be talking about how wretched the teens were with black colored interiors, fifty shades of silver on the outside, and space gobbling consoles the size of the Paracel Islands. It’ll be a real giggle-fest for them. Fashion changes throughout all the days of our lives.
The parchment seat color (that’s Dodge-speak, man) in our featured van was truly the best available as your choices only strayed from there.
That blue is as harsh as some guy nicknamed Leatherface giving you a manicure. Being surrounded by that much blue would be like sitting in an aquarium.
It’s doubtful the sinus infection green would be any better, although in the example seen in the brochure one could joke about being behind the green door.
Burnt orange (Dodge calls it saddle) would be a distant second choice behind the
tan parchment and one could always call it copper, which sounds much more timeless. Or maybe you want to call it saddle so you can get all Gunsmoke and yell “Saddle up, everybody!”.
With a wheelbase of 109″, driving this shortie while unloaded on rough roads would likely have you shaking like the audience at the premier of either Jaws or The Exorcist. Want a freaky-deaky thought? This Tradesman has a 0.5″ shorter wheelbase than a Ford Falcon! Is that far out or what? Dodge knew how to roll them tight.
Anyone with experience knows that rolling them tight makes them last longer. These Dodge vans were rolled really tight as they lasted from 1972…
All the way to the early 2000s. This ad shows a 1999 model – Dodge gave them another facelift looking like an underbite before the spark finally burned out. Thirty years is a mighty long time – it’s almost like the VW Bug of vans.
To make a statement that could have been said by Gene Rayburn, host of the inimitable and unparalleled 1970s version of Match Game, “Did you hear Jason found an old Dodge van? Surprisingly he didn’t gag. Instead, he ________”.
Pictures taken July 2017 outside of a car show in Monmouth, Illinois; this van was seen in-motion earlier on US 67 south of Rock Island, Illinois
I knew a guy with a beat-up, rusty, patched-up ’74 that was his mobile storage-shed.
It was a struggle every year to get it started and running well enough to limp in for it’s annual safety inspection. Last time I saw it a few years ago, it was so rusty you could no longer open the side cargo-doors because you’d never get them closed again!
Wonder how this one here managed to survive in this condition, especially in the Midwest/rust-belt?
Happy Motoring, Mark
I notice the red van has the same “Ultra Luxury Wheelcovers” listed as the most premium hubcaps in the 1977 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham brochure, and the seats. look like, although not the silver/black/white/purple of my Pierre Cardan AMX 401 seats.
Always thought the Dodge’s of that era were much better looking than the Ford or GM equivalents. Probably had something to do with the stylists having actually taken some time to mold clay for the front end, rather than just take a chainsaw to a large block of wood.
Wasn’t quite my style in the 70’s, having just discovered motorcycles and had a long term love with European sports cars at that time. But I can remember the custom van scene very well. And there were a couple of occasions when a buddy of mine who had one and I would score with a couple of chippies on a Friday night, swap dates somewhere around midnight . . . .
Growing up my friends mom had a long wheelbase conversion van.
It was the family wagon model. Multi colored blue 318 engine.
She loves that thing. I always notice the old cargo/conversion vans.
Great find Mr. Shafer
This van must have lived a charmed life, unless it experienced the unlikely event of a restoration.
Of particular interest to me is where the Tradesman brochure states the automatic transmission comes with a fluid sensor light that indicates the need to add more. I didn’t know Dextron II evaporated!
But it does find its way through various gaps (seals).
The reason for the sensor is that otherwise one has to take lift off the dog house to get to the transmission dip stick. The sensor on my ’77 Dodge Chinook stopped working, so I had to make my own dip stick. Found a Dodge truck dip stick, and then cut it and notched it to the right level.
Paul, this was just my lame attempt at humor. I find it interesting that it was cheaper/easier to install a low fluid light rather than put some effort into keeping transmissions from leaking. Especially a transmission Chrysler developed almost two decades ago at the time.
I thought that might be the case.
It was essentially impossible to completely seal things like engines and transmissions with the technology available for seals back then. Which is why automatics always had dipsticks, until perhaps quite recently. Better to check it once in a while (or be warned) than have it go dry and kaput.
Seal material and design technology has improved drastically, like so many other things.
Actually silicone seals were available at the time to stop the tail shaft leaks as they were using them on the input shaft seals. I’m assuming they did the cost benefit analysis of what it would take to do a warranty repair on the front seal vs the rear seal and went with the cheaper less durable material for the rear.
For the pan again the technology was there to do a cast pan and/or rubber seal, but the stamped steel and cork composite were way cheaper. And of course when talking leaking 727s you can’t forget the shift shaft seal.
Well the cheaper and easier thing to do would have been to make a dipstick tube for the van and a dipstick to go with it. Ford and GM figured out how to make their trans dipstick serviceable from the hood. Of course the problem was it too a long time to get a valid reading after you added any thanks to the time it takes for all of it to drain out of the tube with a lot of distance that is pretty horizontal.
By the time mom’s ’86 was built, a conventional transmission dipstick was installed, accessible from under the short hood. As for leaks, my ’66 A-100 Dodge Van leaked copious amounts of red ATF due to sealing problems where the shift selector enters the transmission case, below the fluid level, a somewhat common Torqueflite/Loadflite problem.
This is like seeing one of those Dave Galinas Kodacrhome pictures come to life — a snippet of everyday life that’s easily forgotten. I can’t fathom what the story must be to have enabled this van to survive four decades — survival rates among unaltered cargo vans must be infinitesimal.
And I’m sure this van was “bouncing” down the highway. Words simply cannot describe what it was like to drive an empty cargo van of this era — especially a shorty, on the highway.
Oh, and now I’ll have Convoy stuck in my head all day… which isn’t a bad thing, particularly since it came from a Hee Haw clip. Convoy is the perfect theme song for this van.
Well, I sure hope this Tradesman won 1st place in the car show’s Oafish Conveyance category!
Finding “Convoy” being performed on Hee-Haw is a double bonus of sorts.
As alluded to, I did indeed see this van on US 67 south of Rock Island. Driving our illustrious, awe-inspiring E150 solo, all I could focus on was how I thought the Dodge was going to tip over as it was bouncing through a curve and had he tipped it would have been onto me. When I noticed what it was, I heard myself say “Sweet!”. My hunger must have made me delusional.
I would love to know what’s lurking under the hood of this thing.
Speaking of “Convoy,” (and since this van was spotted in Rock Island) – one phrase in particular from the song has been stuck in my head: Where CW McCall mentions the “Illinois National Guard” and he pronounces the “S” at the end of Illinois.
Do people from any particular region of the state actually pronounce it that way? Out of curiosity, I looked up McCall’s background, and he was an Iowa native… close enough to Illinois not to have a random and completely off-base pronunciation.
Also, I vaguely recall that CW McCall had a later recording of “Convoy” in which he did not pronounce the “S.” (Admittedly, though, it’s been years since any thought of this has crossed my mind, so I’m not 100% positive of this.) Maybe a re-recording was done for the movie, which came out later. I have no idea. In any event, just had to get this off my chest. Still love the song, though.
Don’t really know about people from Illinois but plenty of people in southern Indiana and western Kentucky pronounce it “Illinoise”. These are the same group of people who pronounce the “l” in salmon and pronounce the name “Washington” as if it contains an “r” in the first syllable. My wife’s late aunt, bless her heart, always pronounced the name of a particular model Pontiac as the “Grand Pricks”. Heck, one of my sisters sounds like she grew up in Alabama or Mississippi instead of Kentucky.
There’s also Versailles, IN (ver-sails) and Lima, OH ( ly-mah). But my favorite has always been Bellefontaine, OH (bell-fountain). But I never heard anyone mangle Des Moines or Phoenix.
I used to do the intentional mispronunciation thing as a joke and was surprised a few times when it turned out the locals actually said it that way.
It aligns with the kind of very gently obnoxious affectations common on CB, I think.
To piggyback on another comment, there’s also Milan, OH (MY-lan). Rarely heard anymore is the tendency to transpose certain sounds, as in Saturn becoming Satrun. Those folks also tend towards adding the letter r, Warshington or less frequently, Aurtopsy. You know you’re in deep when you hear the latter.
Dios me!! Convoy on Hee-Haw! You just made my day. My life flashed before my eyes.
Ha, another literary masterpiece which brought to mind the polyester ToughSkin jeans Mom used to buy at Sears for me…
Nice to see this survivor looking so clean, but that blue and white camper with the oversized fiberglass top! Now there’s something I could put to good use. Do a little cross country road trip and maybe an autocross course.
You took a page out of Joe Dennis’ book with all the music and poetry here. Nice read!
I owned a ’96 Dodge 3500 conversion/RV. Little had changed between the 70s and the 90s for these Dodges. It was a beast of a vehicle to drive. Good steering, but bad brakes, and bargy as hell. I much, much prefer my VW van.
🙂 Jason was doing it long before I was. I guess great minds think alike!
Excellent article, nice trip through the 70’s.
I love the picture of the red raised-roof conversion, which suggests a family outing with the kids also involves a shotgun.
Whatever the heck you folks are paying Jason, it’s probably not enough.
Excellent coverage on an often-neglected vehicle Jason, and I love the reference to the band Heart. My mom actually took me to see Heart live when I was in high school. They are still really good!
Great piece, Jason. I enjoyed it a lot, for reasons that are probably obvious to anyone who knows my taste for the 70’s.
I remember these vans as the ones used by the Bell Telephone company in Flint when I was growing up.
Echoing Syke’s point above, I also thought the Dodge van was styled better than the GM or Ford offerings. The proof of this was in the fact that the restyled ’94s still looked great (to me, anyway).
The paradox in the artfully appointed feature van is that such a nice front cabin came from a company that was starting to circle the drain by that point.
BTW – loved the musical selections… and I still, occasionally catch reruns of the Gene Rayburn-hosted episodes of “Match Game (Seventy-Whatever’s On)” on Buzzr TV. 🙂
Here’s a little secret. After getting back home from the CC Meet-up in Detroit, I was profoundly sick. Banished to our sunroom, I was too distracted to read, so I found something that took my mind completely off my situation. What did I find?
Old episodes of Match Game on youtube. It was the best medicine there was.
Right! … And I almost forgot. My favorite Dodge van of all time: Uncle Rico’s van from “Napoleon Dynamite”.
I was born in ’74 so most of my exposure to the ’70s custom-van scene while it was happening was through toys. And in retrospect, it’s amazing how many custom-van toys were made, considering…
I’d seen a couple of the more G-rated truck mags by 1980 so I knew what the insides usually looked like but not what tended to go on in them!
You and me both. Same birth year, same experience with custom vans. Ive always liked them, when done in the correct period theme.
Very nice indeed ! .
These still show up in my favorite self service junkyard .
Not only did these look better than GM/Ford versions, they worked harder and lasted longer too .
One little problem : the steering idlers would often rip right out of the frame if you turned the steering wheel without the tires rolling, most frame shops back then knew how to properly re weld and fish plates them for a permanent repair .
Had an acquaintance in the later 70’s in Florida that had one of these. Fixed up inside. Captains chairs, a bed, and the requisite shag carpet of course. He fashioned an overhead console that ran across the top edge of the windshield . In it was the stereo, and a LED clock. Also had a VU meter. Two needles that bounced with the music. When I asked him what its purpose was,he said “Looks cool doesn’t it?” I agreed. “well that’s what it does!”
As I recall the van had a 318 in it,and he put dual exhausts on it. Sounded great! A few years later, I worked for a company that had a fleet of these vans, Where great vehicles and very reliable.
I still remember the TWO ’76’s that I had. One a Canada Street van, and the other a 1976 that I turned into a “Dormobile” when I lived in San Diego. Both were tough, spot-on and were petrol sippers… I have a special place in my heart for Dodge’s vans, and I hope to get another to complement my ’17 Mercedes Metris Dormobile II.
That is a truly amazing find. What I always found odd about the Dodge vans was the fact that they inexplicably changed the orientation of the taillights sometime in the late 70’s or early 80’s, but changed virtually nothing else about the vans at that time. The “new” taillights were nearly identical to the old ones, but were mounted vertically, requiring (presumably) a change in the stamping of the panels they were mounted in as well as a change to the lenses themselves, as the earlier horizontal ones were curved slightly while the vertical ones were flat. It was always ironic and bizarre to me that they’d go to that much trouble to change that particular item without any other visual upgrades to the product.
I think the taillights changed orientation in 1978, which was the same year that they moved the side doors up behind the front doors on mid-length vans, eliminating the small panels behind the doors.
You beat me to it. There were quite a few changes, actually, including anew front end the following year. And later more front end changes.
The new dash came in ’78 as well.
I know the front end was changed in 1979 with the wrap around turn signal lights. And you could either get two round or four square headlights.
I always assumed that Dodge was able to increase the size of the rear doors by changing the tail lights… but maybe not.
I do recall though, when driving in the 1980s & early ’90s, making a point to avoid getting behind any Dodge van with these sideways taillights because they always seemed to drive so slowly… slower even than their vertical-light successors or other 1970s vans. Yes, I know that’s ridiculous and that their relative slowness was probably a function of their age. But still, I remember making the observation quite clearly.
I am not sure that they ever changed those back doors. When the newer style black door handles came out (80s?) the indentation that fit the old chrome handles was unchanged.
Your observation on the speed is interesting. I never noticed that. My tell in those days was a driver wearing a hat. If he was wearing a hat, get in the other lane. 🙂
My Dad would always gripe about getting stuck behind an Old Man In A Hat so that observation isn’t unique to you!
Well these sold very well so the literally stamped them out by the ton. The problem is that stamping dies do wear and those that form more significant curves wear more/quicker. So it is entirely possible that those corner dies were just about shot and were going to need replacement one way or another.
So have a senior designer spend an hour on a couple of sketches, send them out for approval and have a junior engineer spend a few hours to do the drawings for the new dies and another draw the molds for the new tail lights. So in the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t have cost them that much extra to make the change and make it look “new”.
I fired up our ’77 Dodge Chinook the other day and took it for a spin, after sitting for a year. A not exact modest amount of smoke accompanied the initial startup, not unlike the start-up of a big aircraft radial engine.
After my jaunt in the country to circulate the fluids and warm it up, I parked it over at where my son and I are going to build him a tiny house. It’ll be his tinier house unitl the permanent one is done.
I’m hoping we get a write-up on the house when the build’s complete. As mentioned just the other day, I for one am quite interested in this housing trend. I notice from the photo that your son’s is not on wheels, so I assume it has to meet all of the customary zoning regulations and restrictions in your area. I’ll be curious as to how the issuance of permits etc. went for him.
Love it! Everything except the color, that is. I have told before of the 73 Dodge Royal Sportsman owned by a friend’s father. With a 360, that thing would scoot and was really enjoyable to drive. That was the one I told about at our Detroit meetup where teenage me learned how to do rolling driver swaps on an interstate highway with the cruise engaged.
These things are really hard to ID by year, especially the shortie with no windows. One nit, this style came out in 1971, not 72. From the beginning to the end, almost every panel was revised except for maybe the front doors. But as with postwar Studebakers, Chrysler did them one at a time that made it hard to notice that there had been a change. So other than big revisions to the front end or the dash, one year looks almost like the others. This one is certainly no older than 74 or no newer than 77.
The closest my father ever came to buying a Mopar was when he was looking to buy a courtesy van for an aircraft business he was part owner of in the mid 70s. Even he acknowledged that Dodges were considered the gold standard in that segment. But the economy started a downturn and he didn’t buy one.
There were several differences between my ’76 and ’77. The ’76 dome lights had a thick round metal bezel, the ’77 was had a plastic squircle lens and very little bezel visible.
Mr. Shafer: hilarious. You have outdone yourself. You really brought that tacky polyester decade to life.
Ah.. Sniff ‘n’ The Tears…… Driver’s seat ooh, Driver’s seat yea!
I love that band.
While I was born in the 1970’s (1977) I don’t remember anything from them and looking back, I feel the 1970’s were boring compared with the 1980’s
That is a nice van, but make mine a 1980’s GM Van
Nice post Mr. Shafer
Paul Roberts, lead singer of Sniff ‘n’ The Tears, is a renowned photo realistic painter. His work included painting the cover art for their debut album ‘Fickle Heart’.
” as they lasted from 1972…”
Actually older than that, they date back to spring 1970, as an early 1971 model year intro. Dodge had a big ad campaign about them.
I’ve posted before that “these B vans are so old, they appeared on the Beverly Hillbillies’ final season” 😉
Probably thinking of the 1972 vintage Dodge pickups, that lasted until 1993. B vans were replaced by Daimler designed tall vans around 2003-ish.
Our family had the passenger/all-window version. A 1972, shortie, bought used. Scuzzy white paint decorated with a few minor dents, was faded from being in the sun for several years. It had been a work truck…95,000 miles and Bare-bones El-Cheapo everything, except for a 318 V8 and Torqueflite. From salvage yards we scrounged the parts to add an underdash air conditioner, as all those windows and hot summers are a bad combination. Salvage yards also provided new seats to replace the worn-out, broken-down originals.
It served us well as a an occasional-use utility vehicle, hauling mundane loads here and there and helping to mive friends and relatives. Its most interesting use was when I drafted it into service for undercover police work. Nobody would suspect a scuzzy, eleven year old van as being the cops! Fortunately, others were on hand to do any high-speed driving, which never happened anyway. While the 318, suitably massaged and de-desmogged was quick enough for its time, I wasn’t going to try any fast cornering!
El Scuzzo lasted a long time. Surface rust was appearing on body creases and at the edges of its dents, but it was still running when it was replaced at 196,000 miles by a totally boring Nissan Quest minivan. I just recently chucked the Torqueflite we bought from a salvage yard to replace the original, which had been slipping when we got it but was fixed by replacing fluid, filter and fixing a pinched cooler line with rubber hose clamped over suitably flared cut-off ends after the pinched section had been cut out.
I was born in 1964, so disco, disaster movies and polyester resonates with me. My folks bought a customized ’79 Dodge B200 with the 318 Torqueflite. The combo returned 18 mpg on trips during the dreaded 55 mph speed limit period.
It came with a discopimp interior. Obnoxiously multicolored shag carpeting everywhere it could go, even halfway up the door? Check. Cheap assed swivel lights sourced from Radio Shack’s bargain bin above every seat? Check. Captain’s chairs in place of the second row bench? Check. Tacky wood enclosure above the driver with a variety of radios, speakers and equalizers mounted like no one gave a damn? Check. Ginormous multitiered wooden cup holder with fabulous 8 track tape notches screwed to the doghouse. Sigh. Check.
All it lacked was a waterfuton and a mirrorball. And a Gandalf mural on the outside.
Hey those are aircraft (style) lights.
Yes they are. I didn’t think the younger readers would know what they were.
That is one amazingly well-preserved survivor, right down to the white OEM steelies, dog dishes, and whitewall tires.
Rare indeed to see a cargo van in such good shape, and such an appropriate color.
This particular grille design is the one that seems to “stick” best in my memory, though the only one I can ever recall riding in was an early LWB owned by the Boy Scout camp I attended in summers. I seem to recall it being older than this one as it had a different grille design.
You remind me that I stumbled across a Ford cargo van of similar age and condition a month or two ago but was in too much of a hurry to stop. Chateau trim up front even, so a real oddball.
Nice van! Id be all over this…I don’t even mind the hearing aid beige color so much. A few well planned tasteful mods would make this a headturner. What needs to go and right now are those ugly wheels/tires. A set of slot mags and RWL tires would really make it pop. Hopefully its either at least a 318…some bolt ons to wake it up and some old school cherry bomb glass packs is all it’d take. Id take some inspiration from B.A. Baraccus’ van too: A pushbar on the bumper and some KC lites on the roof…done.
It seems like more of a head turner in all of its original, strippo glory.
A couple of weeks ago I saw a shorty Dodge van with a set of Western Turbines that looked good. It however was the later aero lamped version and not a survivor.
Thanks for the massive, awesome flashback, Jason! I’ve customized literally hundreds of these dodge vans (fords and chevys too), as the dodges were by far the most popular for custom vans regardless of what the “Chevy Van” song says. Taking me back to those years in the desert, baking (for more than 1 reason) inside one of these “cans” as we ripped out the ribs and cut in some cool aftermarket windows, paneled walls, doors and headliner, shag carpet, captains chairs and laminated drink trays. Right now I’m tripping big time on my 40 year old memories (most of which I couldn’t recall at the time) and dying of delayed cottonmouth. A giant slurpy and some nacho cheese doritos should mellow me out.
Yup the Dodges seemed to be the most popular van to do the shagging wagon customization on.
Did you do those conversions for a Dodge dealer in the LA area that had bunch of TV commercials about them. I forget his name, but he was a buffed out body builder type. It was a little weird, even for here.
Dad bought a new ’75 Dodge D100 work van in this same color, this example looks just the same as his did the day it came home from the dealership. It also had the cheapest tires that would hold air, I used it one weekend to get to a camping spot even cars were getting to without problems, driving over the rocky spot going in caused a flat, and going out caused a second flat. After getting a ride into town with the spare. I got one new radial installed and then drove to the tire shop for the other 3. Never had a problem going to the same camping spot again.
His was a 225 slant 6, torqueflite, ps, am radio and nothing else. Steel dash, no padding, low back vinyl seats and lap belts. Bought it for his tool business and served him well, it had good pickup when new but lost a lost of power after about 35k miles. Not sure how often he had it serviced. Pretty sure his did have windows in the rear doors, but otherwise, identical.
Sorry, but the radio personality in me must do this. Here, friends, is the correct hit version of “Dreamboat Annie/Crazy On You” in all its 6:00 glory…
Why CBS/Epic left the acoustic “Dreamboat Annie” prologue off when assembling the “Greatest Hits/Live” package 36 years ago is beyond me. AFAIK, the original “Dreamboat Annie” album is the only place to find the above version, as I played 35 years ago as a Top 40 “power oldie.”
If Classic Rock is your game, you can tell the passionate from the poseur by whoever plays THIS version.
21 years ago my station had a Ram 1500 SWB with a 360. I was to drive it to Kittanning, about an hour away from Pittsburgh, and do a live appearance for a pizza shop there.
I allowed plenty of time to make it but as I was about to leave, one of our Herb Tarleks brought me a commercial to produce and a sob story that suckered me into the production studio “for only a minute” that turned into 20 as I recall…
Which left me flying to Kittanning in the station van. With gigantic station logos on the sides and rear. Driving at rush hour at top speed, which just happened to be…
And I ended up being late anyway. Yes, I’ve become better at saying “no.”
A former co-worker – who now works for rising Country star Kelsea Ballerini’s record company – her husband redid a mid-70s Tradesman as a period-perfect shaggin’ wagon. SHARP job from pix I’ve seen.
Sniff ‘n the Tears? One-hit wonders came no better.
“Sniff ‘n the Tears? One-hit wonders came no better.”
For the seventies, maybe. But, to me, the number one one-hit wonder will always be ‘In the Year 2525’ by Zager and Evans.
Wow, does that thing remind me of a yellow one that we called The Banana Van. My buddy and I had a lot of fun with that one. I think the statute of limitations has run out. LOL
I have driven several Dodge vans in the course of my employment as a delivery driver for several businesses. The first one a ’72 was a replacement for a ’62 Suburban Carryall that Yaws restaurant in Portland, OR owned. I thought I had died and gone to heaven the first time I drove it in comparison to the GMC or actually there is no comparison,it was everything the GMC was not. The only thing in common was they both had 4 wheels. The next one a ’74 was driving between Portland and Eugene for a small stereo chain. I drove several others over the years, including Fords and Chevrolets and out of all of them I liked to Dodges the best.
The local Chrysler/Dodge dealership really pushed vans so I remember more of these than anything else from the 70’s.
The thing I recall the most is after a few of our salty winters it seemed they all rusted in the exact same spots!
‘Parchmann Seats’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuyHURx-1JE
an antidote to “Dreamboat Annie”…
A friend’s dad bought an identical blue Dodge Tradesman van new in 1976 and did the conversion work himself. He did an excellent job, with blue carpeting, a small table with seats, a storage cupboard, lights, and a Craig stereo system. The outside had pinstripes and white custom wheels to finish the job. Great van, and I rode in it many times. Unlike my dad, his tastes in music were much closer to mine, and I always grinned when he blasted Led Zeppelin or Eric Clapton. Good times.
Those Dodge vans were a design revolution when they debuted in 1971. I think they’re still good looking vans, primarily the 1971-78 models with the single round headlamp design. Those Dodge vans were solid, dependable and long lived.
They were making headway on the Econoline with the A-100, but these vans really made Dodge the category leader. I’ve driven and ridden in all of the Big 3 70s/80s vans, and these always felt the tightest and best handling – as best as a van can handle, that is.
I am in complete agreement with you. I put quite a few miles in 70s-80s vans and these had the tightest, stiffest structure of them all. The Fords were smoother and quieter on smooth roads but they were a little flexy in their structure. The Chevys were my least favorites to drive.
Drove an extended, frequently under-loaded Econoline Shuttle bus, in the late 80s. Often an experience, to say the least.