The first car I bought myself to actually daily drive (first bought a 1949 Plymouth as a project), was a 1983 Chevy G20 van. It’s beautiful shades of brown inside and out led me to name it the Kangaroo Pouch. My friends and I soon dubbed ourselves the Kangaroo Pouch Kids. Without a doubt, it was the best $500 I ever spent on a vehicle and selling it was nothing short of regrettable. Although, I did double my money. Anyway, as I sit here reminiscing about the days gone by, I find myself cruising Craigslist in search of my past, hoping to find my future. Let’s see if anything I’ve come across scrambles memories of road trips, concerts or young love for you. That said, I’m going to take a wild guess that some of you may have lost those memories in a hazy fog. OK, enough, let’s check out these vans for sale on Craigslist of under $4,000.
1965 Chevrolet C10 panel van – $2,200
Vans were generally used as utility vehicles when they first started popping up in the 1950s and 1960s. However, by the time this 1965 Chevy van in Yakima, WA rolled off the line, they were becoming more and more popular as people movers. While this one likely worked hard during the day when new, it’s now begging to be a cruiser. The seller claims its sturdy six cylinder runs and the three on the tree presumably shifts. It also has a variety of new parts. All in all, this seems like a good deal, if not a bit of a mystery… what’s up with those headlights? At $2,200 could you see past the rust or is this van a bust?
1979 Ford Econoline – $3,995
My oldest brother had a van very similar to this fine 1979 Ford Econoline in Idaho when I was a kid, though his wore bright yellow paint. That thing made me jealous, and likely stoked my love of vans. It’s nice to find one of these in decent shape that still runs and drives. This example seems like its lived a comfy life, what with the shag carpet and wood paneling on the inside. Grab the keys, fire up the 351 V8 and hit the Mother Road (or the mountains, it comes with extra snow tires!).
1984 Dodge Mini Ram Royal – $3,500
Coming in hot out of the 1980s is this super cool, in my very professional opinion, 1984 Dodge Mini Ram Royal out of Orange County, CA. Why so cool? Chrysler introduced the minivan to the masses in 1984 with the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. A small number of those left the factory as work vehicles with minimal side windows, like this one. Better yet, this baby is Canadian, earning it the Mini Ram Royal name. The minimal visibility, mixed with the petite exterior and roomy interior, make this a great candidate for a camper conversion that gets good gas mileage. It looks like someone already started that project with this running and driving project van. Check out that interior!
1984 Chevy G20 – $1,000
I had to find a G20 to include, and while it’s not brown, it is cheap. The reason behind the cheapness of this 1984 Chevy G20 in Portland, Oregon isn’t necessarily the used mattress and pillows in the back of the super hippie interior, but a possibly cracked engine block. The seller states that some oil is mixing with coolant, but you can drive it, barely. The good news, though, is that it has a skylight. However, I’d be wary of it. Mine leaked plenty, but a little rain never hurt anyone.
1986 VW Vanagon – $3,900
I grew up in a VW family, but we never had a water-cooled Volkswagen. I wonder if it was because they overheated too much, like the 2.1 liter engine in this 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon does. Besides that issue, it does have 229,000 miles on the clock, so who knows what’s really happening with this thing. But hey, it turns on! Beyond that, it actually looks decent inside and out. Sure, it’s got a few flaws, but again, 229K! With a little tinkering this old van will surely be ready to haul all your pals to the next Woodstock revival.
Most people have a story of a van, but if you don’t now’s your chance! If you’re getting in on the fun or are all about that uh, hashtag van life, which of these vans for sale are you snagging?