My father in law’s voice boomed through the phone: “We gotta 2016 Caravan coming in on a trade. The deal’s a little goofy but if it goes through you need to be here when it’s turned in to get first dibs!”
That was all we needed to hear, we got our current 2007 Caravan in 2010 on a similar deal as a “temporary” measure. After 7 years and 200,000 km we had been looking to replace our faithful but tired workhorse with a newer version. The deal was indeed goofy, one of these depressingly common transactions where the person rolled the balance from their last vehicle into this one, still owes more than it cost new, and wants to roll that balance into yet another new vehicle if they can get the financing. Apparently if Pa were to tell such folks that it’s not such a great idea he wouldn’t be able to pay his bills either, such is the nature of new car sales.
At any rate, the deal did go down so on Saturday we were off to the dealership bright and early, and saw a few CCs on the way there.
We stopped for coffee at Tims, and there in the parking lot was a late model (1965-1969) Corvair on a trailer. It was obviously a project, the back window out and parts inside. Looked like a good Christmas present for someone. After our CC trip to Detroit this year I have a bit more appreciation for Corvairs, the 2 door hardtop does have a fine sweep back to the slim C pillars. As we came out with our beverages the Corvair was leaving, so I gave the guy a thumbs up.
We had found out a bit more about this particular Grand Caravan during the week. It was very low mileage, about 25,000 km but there were concerns. It was a CVP van, which means Canada Value Package and also means we would have to work around some compromises. For starts the 2016 CVP came with a fixed middle bench seat, the narrow kind. Our teenage kids expressed their displeasure at the idea of riding around squished together, so after a bit of research we determined that it was feasible (if an expensive PITA) to obtain stow and go captains chairs and do the conversion.
Next we passed this D series International pickup, I’ll guess it’s about a 1965. I really like these trucks, the stoic and purposeful face, the way the large windshield comes right down to the base of the A pillar. Also the DougD family is an IH family as far as farm equipment is concerned because my mother worked at the Hamilton plant in the late 1950s. As much as I like them in general this specific example will not find a place under my tree, cornbinder pickups are notorious rusters and as you can see this one looks to be in an advanced stage of rot.
Another CVP van issue was the lack of roofrack. The last two minivans I’ve owned have lacked this feature, and it has been a source of annoyance for me the last fifteen years. We do a lot of canoe camping, which necessitates a time consuming strap system to hold a canoe down on the rackless roof. We also like to carry our Christmas tree around on the roof, so all in we’d be looking at me being annoyed about ten times a year for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of annoying, well maybe this is more like discouraging. A nice 1960 Oldsmobile sitting out in the snow when there’s a perfectly good garage right behind it. As much as I like all 1960 GM cars, the generic looking Olds front end isn’t my favourite. The back end is much more distinctive on these, with the quarter panels angled out like that. Good chrome wheels with baby moon hubcaps too. Although plated with historic plates this Olds appeared here about six months ago and I don’t think it has moved in that time.
This is a photo of the actual van in question. We got to the Ford dealership about an hour after it was turned in, and slogged to the very back of the dealer lot with Pa to check it out. The inspection was quick, Mrs DougD opened a door, stuck her head in, said “Nope” and slammed the door. I did the same, it was so smoky inside it felt like I’d inhaled a whole pack just taking one breath. Everything was well coated with ashes inside too, so for once we said no to Pa’s deal of the century.
My father in law was a bit irked, the salesperson whose deal it was had told him he thought it hadn’t been smoked in. He half heartedly tried to sell us on a used Explorer as we walked back to the front, but he’s tried that before and knows that we really want another van. The smoke van is still for sale, it looks better cleaned up in the photo than when we saw it, hopefully it smells better now too.
So it appears that our temporary, short, red, non roofrack, non ABS, non stow and go Caravan will keep going for now. Besides it’s got snow tires and as you can see we need them this week.
Hope you enjoyed the trip, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Joyous Whatever from the D family to yours!