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2014-159 HR in CT
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As we head for a new year, I thought it might be good to look back to years past... and more specifically, vans in our past.

Hoping others will contribute with pictures or info about previous vans in our lives!

My only pre-PM van was a 1972 Dodge Tradesman with 6 cylinder, auto, window package, and leather seats (boy those seats were nice) No seatbelts back then, and the box behind the passenger seat was placed between the two front seats for a 3rd rider. Nice and simple.



Up front, my kitchen cabinet. Stove stored in there, and cooking stuff. Hey, I was 22 -not a lot of cooking stuff.... just other stuff. The box directly behind the driver seat housed the propane tank!



Fold up couch, just like my new PM but the top was hinged with two pieces of plywood to make a 48" x 70" bed. I learned how to sew from my mom, so all of the curtains were sewn by me... double sided, shirred on rods at top and bottom. Cheap panelling with plastic trim for sides on the walls and cabinets.



Yes, that is a red shag carpet! Van came with ceiling done... wish my Promaster did! Back then they didn't put in air conditioning, so I bought an add-on unit from Sears ($149) and mounted it in the dash.... worked great!



I built the "custom" swag lamp in the corner... two color mode, white for reading, red for "do not disturb"



My van lasted for about 10 years, blew an engine, I put in a new one, and it did another 2 years. 120,000 miles total. My first trip was CT to FL by way of MO, TX, LA, etc. 7000 miles, 4 weeks, total expenses $200 (gas was 28 cents!)

Hope my pics will bring back some thoughts of your earlier camping days.

Please add yours to this thread!

Ed
 

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Great stuff!

I grew up in vans. My dad always had an old 60's - 70's Ford or Dodge van until I was in my teens.

I had an 84' Vanagon back in the late 80's. I loved that thing, but never really did any kind of conversion to it. I wish I still had it.

I don't have any pictures nearby, but this is what it looked like:

 
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I had the green 1974 Vanagons and the orange 1976 Vanagon. Both had pop-top and sink, no fridge or stove. Loved both when they ran. Neither was reliable.
 

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We had a 1979 Green Westphalia camper not the propane option. We went all over the NE and Eastern Canadian Provinces and except for one clutch cable that gave out it was faultless. It was brought east from San Diego so no rust. I sold it for a profit after using it for 30,000mi and 6 years (summers only of course!) Like this one in San Diego now (for $18,0000) really?

Here is the day a younger me brought it home just before christmas and the only day it saw snow. $2800 purchase and 6 years later $3200 sold. I probably should have kept it.
 
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Yeah, you should have kept it. I know the bay windows are getting what the old splits are going for, but dang!!!

When I turned 50 a few years ago I thought it would be cool to buy an 64' bus, I was in for quite the shock, like this one...

1963 VW 23 Window Microbus For Sale
 
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'16 2500 159 HT Granite Window - OH(io)
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I've been a Vannin' for a long time. Notice that all of these are Dodges. I did have a 1975 Chevy, but it was a POS.
 

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Great thread! I'm busy digging out my old time van/camper photos right now! ;)
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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Hi,

Our first "van" RV was a Balboa. We got it in early 70's with about 100K miles on it -- ended up changing out the engine in the backyard.

Now that I think back to it, its a lot like our current PM -- pretty small, wide open inside with lots of window. About the same overall size as the PM.

It was made by a company that normally made boats, and decided after about 5 years to go back to boats. But, they still seem to have a following: http://www.balboamotorhome.com/index.html

We enjoyed it a lot. On one trip we took it all the way up to Yukon Territory on the Dempster highway well north of the Arctic circle.

Only real negative was the 9mpg.

Thanks Ed -- Nice to spend some time thinking backing to the old beast.

Some pictures from the web:










Gary
 

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I love vans

Great thread and likely to get me in trouble if the better half gets wind of this...lol
Great memories of mostly split window Vw's like this one from a few years ago I got luck and picked up cheap. Fixed up and sold to the oldest kid aka "The Bus Baby" and yes this is what gets me in trouble;)

To many to remember, but VW, Dodge and Chevy's all in the past and now back to my roots and in a van again
 

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I’ve had quite a few van campers over the years and a few not van campers. Unfortunately I don’t have photos of them all or even many interior shots but here is a sample. Strange to say I may be one of the few people here whom has never owned a VW!

One of my first vans was this 65 Chevy window van I bought used about 1968 and added curtains a makeshift bed, Colman stove and ice box and drove throughout Mexico in the winters of the late ‘60s.
I did meet up with some California VW owners in Mexico as you can see here


My next van was actually a Ford Bronco bought new in 1970 which I drove down the Pan-American highway (to the Panama Canal) in the winter of ’70. I removed the passenger and rear seat and fashioned a simple bed in it, added the old ice box and Coleman stove from the Chevy van, no curtains or potty and spent three months touring Mexico and Central America - alone, needless to say


After a few lean camping years and acquiring a wife and two children I got the bug again and bought a used Chey van, circa early ‘80s and made it into a simple camper with curtains, a bed, ice box again, old Colman stove and a new twist - at the time I was into Peugeot diesel cars and had a few parts ones kicking around so I got the not so great idea to put a Peugeot diesel engine in the Chevy van. These old Peugeot’s had a big problem with leaking cylinder gaskets (wet sleeve piston liners) and I became very proficient changing head gaskets on them in about 45 minuets, in fact, I use to carry a supply with me and on the inaugural trip with this van from Boston to Vancouver, San Fran and back to Boston I changed the head gasket twice. No seat belts or cild seats in this days - I we simply but the two month l youngest in the back on the floor in a cradle (she’s 35 now in case you’re wondering if she made it. I think I sold it right after getting home!!!


Next was a Grumman aluminum body step van built on a MBZ diesel truck chassis (Brazilian) that I made similar “improvement” on and spent several months traveling throughout Mexico several winters with the wife and kids.


Come the mid ‘80s I moved up to a new ’84 MBZ 209D (5 cyl diesel) I bought in Germany, along with a 280T station wagon and 280G 4WD (but that’s another story for another time). I kept the predecessor to todays Mercedes Sprinters for over ten rust filled years and 200+k miles after touring the USA and Mexico
. Replaced the 5 on the floor stump puller transmmision with one out of a MBZ 300D and the rear axle wth one from a Chevy pickup for better gearing - those were the good old days when you didn’t know or think about computers, etc.

Next came a new ’04 Sprinter which I kept for 11 rust-filled, breakdown years before discovering my ’14 Promaster - the very best of the bunch, if I do say so myself.

There were a few others thrown in for good luck like the old ’60 Dodge van (no photos) and the Citroen 2cv “camper” we toured Europe in in the early ’80’s
but that’s enough of my camping van history (for now).

Keep on vaning!
 

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Odd how much better we looked then and how bad most of our old vans look in retrospect! 4 people camping with a 2CV! Priceless!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
KOV,

Wow! quite a history in the world of vans... thanks for sharing!

Ed

ps. what happened to the dashing, debonair, guy leaning on the Bronco? Probably the same thing that happened to most of us!
 

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Hey don’t encourage KOV, he can barely contain himself as it is! Ms. KOV and the daughter look cute too! Love that beret!
 

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I have had a LOT of vans, but the one below has always been my favorite. 1965 Cruis-Aire on a chevy van chassis. Pictured as I bought it for $100 in 1992, and later in 90s after "modifications".

The best part...I STILL HAVE IT! It's been sitting for 15 years, and it needs a lot, but I hope to have it roadworthy again in the spring and take the kiddies on a vacation in it.
 

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I had Ford shorty vans in the '70's (no pictures). A couple of years ago I was feeling nostalgic and picked up the 2000 Dodge window shorty. That didn't fill the hole so I picked up the '76 Ford. That was going to take a lot of $$ and time to get it where I'd be happy. Finally broke down and bought the '16 PM. That's when my wife told me "You can keep missing the old days, but you're not getting laid in that."
 

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Hey don’t encourage KOV, he can barely contain himself as it is! Ms. KOV and the daughter look cute too! Love that beret!
Wise words from a wise man ;)

Ms KOV keeps telling me "It's time to grow up" not sure what she means by that but...
 

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shortone,
Selection of a suitable van is for a man (or woman-what was I thinking?) somewhat like the building of a nest is for a bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus), including the decorations. Something we call “conversion.” LOL
KOV,
In the words of the recent Nobel prize winner in Literature, “May you stay...... forever young”
MsNomer,
I am stuck in that awkward age- about 15+- rarely saying the right thing, too common to attract much attention, knowing how to drive but pinning for the perfect vehicle to accomplish adulthood, in envy of the 20 somethings and disdaining those much older as out of touch. Oh I am now realizing I am out of touch.... but very comfortable about it, having the perfect vehicle, how did that happen?
 
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