Some time ago, I wrote about this 2000 Ford E-150 conversion van that graces my pole barn. For those who have read my rambling about it, they might conclude it has been a mild irritant to me. Well, every car does have a story and the story on this tub keeps evolving.
Periodically I have breakfast with Ray, a retiree from where I work and who knows a frightening number of people.
About ten weeks ago Ray and I were eating breakfast when a gentleman approached him. Ray introduced me to Glendon Luetkemeyer. Confessing he was a frequent lurker here at CC, Glendon recognized my name thanked me for my intensive history of corinthian leather, stating he was the great-great grandson of inventor Trygve Luetkemeyer. He asked if I still owned the Ford van. I begrudgingly admitted my name still being on the title. Glendon appeared oddly optimistic.
The distinct advantage to Jefferson City is it is one of the lesser populated state capitals in the United States with a nighttime population of 40,000. Despite the daytime swell to around three times, the advantage is the various elected officials and key people to know are much more concentrated and thus easier to find. Little did I realize that Glendon is a good person to know as he is in a key position with Osage Industries, located fifteen miles east.
Osage Industries currently configures chassis into ambulances. From 1983 until the very early 2000s Osage converted vans into the big box broughams like mine that were so popular for some unfathomable reason.
Glendon told me he had been scouring the Midwest for a decent surviving Osage Industries conversion van. He said with the use these saw, and the downward spiral inherent in the automotive cycle, all the examples he kept finding were as worn and nasty as a mattress in a cheap whorehouse. Glendon then inquired who had made my van.
When I told Glendon Osage had gussied up this van, the look of sheer delight on his face was a sight to behold. In less than five minutes time Glendon would evolve from being a stranger to my new best friend. Glendon had spent the last five months on an extensive international search for a decent example to place in a museum the company was wanting to create. It seems that in all this frantic searching, not a single example of any American conversion van could be found in Asia, Europe, South America, or Australia. My van was the key ingredient they had been missing and Glendon wanted to buy it! Boy was I happy. Since my failure at becoming a motivational speaker, the poor thing has just sat.
We agreed Glendon would come by that evening to take a look at the van and we would talk about a price. The beautiful thing is I had pretty much ascertained he wanted to buy it and no alternative existed, an enviable position to have with any negotiation. Thoughts of a tall stack of $100 bills were dancing through my head.
Upon parting ways, I knew there was an issue I needed to correct. The van had been parked in my drafty, rental pole barn all winter.
With the van parked along the west wall, it had had crap blowing on it all winter. Combined with the refugee, berry eating birds bombing the van with wild abandon, it was not a sight to behold.
Thankfully it was a warm day so I could hose the bitch off. Shortly after I got to working on it, Mrs. Jason and I hopped inside to clean out the interior.
When Glendon arrived a few hours later, he was ecstatic. It seems he and his wife had used an identical van on their honeymoon. He said she become pregnant with their twins during this time while camping in the van. That was a bad mental picture.
The van surpassed his wildest expectations and I received $21,600 in crispy new $100 bills.
Three weeks later Glendon called asking me and Mrs. Jason to attend the opening gala of the museum. The van had been polished to the n-th degree and placed on a very nice mock roadway with a diorama. The only flaw was Mrs. Jason felt nauseated en route then upon our arrival she gobbled up their brie gelato and pickled pork tongue hors d’oeuvres.
Somehow the museum is considered a charity so my 2015 income taxes will be dripping with wonderful deductions.
I did learn this past week there is another tax deduction due this fall. Mrs. Jason’s obstetrician suspects the tax deduction in her oven may actually be two tax deductions.
This endeavor has taught me two things; I’m never helping Mrs. Jason clean out another van and I may have to rescind my loan. This van is like a tattoo – I cannot rid myself of it.
Sweet looking Ford Van. I love this generation for the Econoline. Although its styling is up to date, it’s still old-school, front-engined, rear-wheel drive.
The Econoline’s long-overdue replacement, the Transit, is also front-engined, rear-drive. Among its benefits are better roadholding (MacPherson struts, rack & pinion), lower step height, a factory high-roof option, & greater fuel efficiency. Styling may be an acquired taste, however.
Maybe this will give the Sprinter some competition for a change.
“The Econoline’s long-overdue replacement, the Transit, is also front-engined, rear-drive. Among its benefits are better roadholding (MacPherson struts, rack & pinion)..”
That’s almost subversive – archaic suspension and steering was practically a feature of Ford vans for over three decades. Is there no respect for tradition anymore?
It got the “Fairmont” treatment. What surprises me here is the struts; I never imagined them being used in a commercial vehicle, but then maybe I haven’t paid enough attention to this segment.
More subversion: a V8 is not available. Ford’s Europeanization is almost complete.
From what I’ve heard the Transit is selling like crazy.
The E series vans simply don’t haul enough stuff for the buck. They have outlived their usefulness and the new vans look like real winners. They offer a much larger payload and lower operating costs.
That’s because it’s a typical 21th century van. The days that the house painter arrives in an ox-wagon chassis with a big V8 are over, I guess.
Ford builds excellent vans. Many years ago they already had good vans based on the Fiesta, Escort and of course the Transit. The latter is also an old soldier. The name, at least. The van itself was always based on the latest technology and was highly popular and a bestseller.
A Ford Courier van from the nineties, based on the Fiesta.
One might say it’s a (smaller) predecessor of the Ford Transit Connect. There was also a van based on the Escort, longer than the Courier, yet with a lower cargo-compartment. Both the Courier and Escort van were all over the place in Europe, along with the Transit van.
For some reason after reading your comment i was reminded of the Peugeot 305 Van.
These vans lasted in production long after the car version of the 305 was replaced..by the 405/309 cars.IIRC
I remember seeing them wearing 1989 plates
Great van..and very very fast.
Haven’t seen one in years though.
The escort van..I do remember..That kept it’s shape more or less the same from the Mark 3 Escort onwards.
That Peugeot is pretty rare here. Most common in the eighties and nineties were the Renault Express, the Citroën C15, the Volkswagen Caddy, the Ford Courier and the Ford Escort Van. All car-based and they all pretty much kept the same looks for a very long time.
The cargo-compartment was always taller than the driver’s compartment, on the Escort though not very much. It still looked pretty “aero” compared to the others I mentioned.
Oddly, many American contractors (UK: builders) prefer pickups with toolboxes or even bed covers instead of vans. Is it a “macho” thing, or are even full-sized pickups more economical than obsolete vans?
Neil, it all depends on what you have to haul and / or tow. Just a few tools ? Heavy stuff ? Light but voluminous stuff ? Four big guys and their tools ?
Roughly vans come in three sizes. Small – Medium – Big. The medium and big vans can also have rear seats; a double cab (so it can haul the four big guys). And a trailer hitch to tow a tandem axle trailer. The HD-vans are RWD (or even AWD) and have dual rear tires.
The variations are endless. Wheelbase, overall-length and height (raised roofs) can also vary.
A van is a commercial vehicle, 100%. You buy what you need to get the job done.
By the way, I must say that I admire Ford for offering all the sizes I mentioned for many decades in a row. With their own powertrains (gasoline and diesel), without joint-ventures with other automakers. Year in, year out.
This is a current big Ford Transit with dual rear tires. It is a fact that this one throws the E-series back into the Dark Ages.
Vans are more traditional in Europe for work, same as trucks are more traditional in North America.
Neal, I do not know other Euro countries, but try to left something in the bed of a pick up truck in Italy, England, France or Spain… it will disappear in minutes.
I assume European contractors are no different in what they need to haul around, yet vans seem far more common there, hence my question.
Maybe we’re finally recovering from the stupid Chicken Tax (instigated over an issue entirely unrelated to vehicles). I heard a Harvard academic claim that this ’60s tariff set back American light commercial truck development for decades, being insulated from European competition only until recently.
I see. Yes, vans are far more common here. Yet besides vans contractors often also have light flatbed trucks with a single or double cab. You know, like this Ford Transit….(there it is again)
Vans are the first choice for more “clean” loads. Electricians, florists, parcel delivery service, etc. Often with a custom built interior in the cargo compartment with boxes for tools and parts.
Whatever you haul in a van, it’s never out in the open like in the bed of a pickup.
If I had to pick one vehicle type that most American have driven at least one example of, I’d bet on the Econoline being near the top of the list. I’ve personally driven at least ten – two owned by my parents, rented for moves at least three times plus probably six at various delivery jobs.
They’re great vehicles to have around, even with their penchant for eating tires and front suspension components.
This MUST be another April Fool’s story, I mean who in their right mind would pay over …… $5,000 for this van?
I like Econolines, up until the model before this one and this one. I actually like the box with no aero concessions look.
Subtle though it is, you are correct on it being an April 1 celebration.
I think a CC Meetup at the Osage Museum is in order. I would pay good money to see your old conversion van.
I like how you think, but since I need the van back it is focused on ambulances. Boring.
Might I suggest an alternative? With your coming from Wisconsin, there is little difference in distance. https://www.autoworldmuseum.com/home.html
I read an awful lot of this before I remembered it was April 1st. Well Done Jason!
Damn April 1st!!!
I got to the $21k sales price before I cried BS, and re-realized it was April 1st.
Isn’t this all of ours dream though? We get rid of an almost useless, but still sentimentally relevant, vehicle, a stack of cash, and it’s going to be restored and sent to a museum. Perfect
Same here, you had me until $21k (and brie gelato). Nicely done!
That would be a VERY happy April Fool’s!
A fun read .
Well done Mr. Schafer .
My husband and I also have a set of “doubles” in our antique collection. The picture shows both Ford Mavericks; one a 1972 the other a 1975. The 1972 is in the foreground and the 1975 is in the background. You have to look closely.
Very nice Mavericks! My grandmother had a grabber blue ’71 two-door and my father had desired a ’73 but wound up purchasing a Torino instead.
Seeing any Maverick is a rarity these days.
One more in Flint.
There are couples of more in Michigan countryside along with those St Regis and some unknown cars
Jason, I actually was believing the story, even the bit about the restored diorama for displaying your “pride and joy” but the totally unrealistic price was a huge tip off. Good story up until that point.
Thank you. My first draft was a bit too subtle so I had to show my hand a bit. The next thing you see from me will be completely legit.
Darn, I was hoping that fat was of cash was finally going to convince you of the charm and worth of this fine vehicle. Perhaps there will still be time, since it will still be running just fine when the Shafer twins try to beat the snot out of it during their high school years.