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11,000 Original Miles: 1974 Dodge B100 Tradesman

Short wheelbase vans have been all the rage for some time now, to the point that many of the cleaner examples have been snatched up and restored. Some have even gone well past just being restored and become full-on show trucks, built to the highest “vanning” standards as it relates to shag carpeting and painted murals. To find one that hasn’t been touched – either by a ravenous customizer or a plumber heading to work – is a find, especially when it pops up in stock, short-wheelbase form with just 11,000 original miles. The Dodge is listed here on eBay with bids to $4,550 and no reserve.

This is a real rarity: a 1970s work van that retains an extremely basic, stock interior, with not even a hint of 1970s swagger on display. At this juncture, you could just as easily slide in some racks and convert it into its intended purpose, which is to be a work van. Pictures aren’t the best but we can tell this one doesn’t have any windows going down the side, so it really is a workhorse in the finest tradition as the vans used by contractors and other trades almost never had windows. The floor does have carpeting, which is a surprise, but I doubt anyone in the business of sorting this Dodge into a proper tribute to the 1970s “look” will yank that out for shag carpeting or plank flooring.

Like all low-mileage finds of otherwise ordinary vehicles, you have to wonder how a rig like this survived with seeing barely any use. the interior photos don’t show a lot, but from what we can see, it has all the trappings of a vehicle that hasn’t seen much use. The steering wheel looks mint, as do the door panels and dash pad. The seats aren’t entirely easy to judge, but what we can see looks promising. This van comes with the added bonus of a 12-volt winch mounted behind the driver seat, but not much else from what we can see. This is the classic work van in every way, with next to no comfort features being a hallmark of the model segment.

The 318 V8 is a workhorse in every sense of the word, and finding one with such low mileage is a windfall for anyone who wants to run a vehicle cheaply for decades to come. We all know here that the 318 is a bit of a legend in the cheap-and-cheerful class, and while it won’t win any stump-pulling competitions, the engine itself will be still be running long after the body disintegrates and the transmission fails. The Dodge as shown here is likely one of the lowest-mileage specimens in the country, and with a short-wheelbase setup and durable running gear, this B100 looks like an absolute bargain if bidding stays around the current number.

Comments

  1. Boatman Member

    11K? I don’t think so.

    Like 10
  2. Stan

    Great Vans 👍

    Like 8
  3. William Spiegel

    Hard to tell from pics but it doesn’t “look” like a short wheelbase, does it?

    Like 3
    • James Grieshaber

      Right front door and side door share the B pillar, definitely a shorty.

      Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      It’s a shortie, there is no wide panel between the right front door and the side door as on the LWB van. I know, as I bought one new.

      Like 4
  4. Way2nutz

    Once again, BF is promoting another LOW ORIGINAL miles Survivor!

    BS. The door jambs/under hood are all baby blue. The outside is silver. The vans just been repainted in my opinion. The headliner has the crap beat out of it. And dont forget the ‘original’ winch. No, Dodge didnt offer a 12v winch mounted to the wall.

    Good lord, I’m sending my 12 year grand daughters resume to you people, her skill set far exceeds the authors skills at merely copying and pasting ad text.

    111k miles is more like it.

    Also, if you look at the Ebay pics this is a standard length van not a short wheelbase.

    Like 10
    • Hall-z Member

      I appreciate your skepticism, but your attack on the author is a bit much. I doubt this is a legit 11k vehicle, but I come to this site to get away from the negative finger-pointing.
      If you don’t agree with the author, then say so, but skip the rudeness. I love to read what other car lovers are thinking. I often learn from what is said in the comments, but your rudeness makes me want to disregard everything you say.
      We are all here because we like cars and want to see what is out there. It gives us a sense of community in an otherwise hostile and isolating world.

      Like 46
      • NHDave

        Well said.

        Like 18
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Way2nutz,

      The van is not repainted from light blue, [a color not offered], it’s simply a poor quality camera.

      Like 1
      • corvette collector Member

        Yes there are Blue seats, floor, firewall, bottom of the hood, door jams, distributor cap AND all door interiors

        Like 2
      • SteveTheD

        It’s been repainted and Light Blue was available on the 1974 vans.

        Like 3
    • SteveTheD

      If you look again at the Ebay photos it’s clearly a short wheel base van.

      Like 3
  5. Rbig18

    I am not as quick to discredit this one. Many of these were sent for a repaint into the color/logo of the company buying them before they even take delivery. And rarely do they care if under the hood matches the new color. Pictures are not the greatest but the engine looks clean and the seats look brand new. The winch was probably an aftermarket put on before delivery so it was ready for work. The headliner I would expect to be beat up on a vehicle that needed a winch to load large heavy objects. Now it may be a higher mile vehicle but pics aren’t good enough in my opinion to feel strongly either way. Also, I doubt a publication like barn finds can call the seller a liar without the risk of a lawsuit. We on the other hand can.

    Like 10
  6. Engident

    If this has 11k miles, then I weigh 60lbs less than I appear and can still hold tequila like it’s 2002
    Nonsense
    111k easy, though arguably a much gentler life than most of these vans lived.

    Like 6
  7. Duane Hayes Member

    Without a in person look, it’s hard to judge the mileage, but I would assume the rocker valve covers would still be bright blue at only 11K

    Like 4
  8. Steve Clinton

    The bottom line is: this is NOT an ‘original 11,000-mile’ vehicle, so one has to wonder what else isn’t true in the ad. PASS!

    Like 4
  9. Steve Clinton

    Can someone edumacate me? What is a “Fargo”?

    • Denny N. Member

      Fargo was the name Dodge gave to their trucks that were produced in Canada.

      Like 7
  10. Patrick Gregston

    My roommate in college bought one of these new this same year. It didn’t have any inside panels or flooring. All metal. We paneled it one evening and drove it to San Francisco the next day.
    None of the photos show what would tell more about the mileage, but at this age, a low mileage vehicle that hasn’t been used probably means all the rubber has to be replaced, especially in the suspension.
    How it has been taken care of matters when its over 40 years old.

    Like 1
  11. Comet

    1974 me: “Hello sir I’m here to pick up your daughter for our date”.

    2022 me: “This van is so handy!” “Plenty of room for our walkers!”

    Like 9
  12. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    That is really neat. We had a 76 Tradesman 300. The 318 didn’t move it quickly and it was 11mpg up hill or down and the Philadelphia salt ate it up in around 8 years. This is a museum piece and should stay indoors and only run on sunny days.

  13. JT Member

    Am I the only one that remembers five digit plus the tenths analog odometers that can be- disconnected, rolled back and rolled over to 00000.0 ?

    Like 4
  14. John Eder

    Every time that I called “Roto Rooter” at my old house, they showed up in a van equipped with a side-mounted winch. The big/heavy snake machine was loaded back into the van with the assist of the winch through the side doors at the completion of the job. After the first time, I always brought my own pen to sign the work order…

    Like 1
  15. T. Mann Member

    Jeff Lavery has written some good articles here, after good research.
    I have often wanted to compliment him.
    Not this time…
    .
    BTW Does “Little to no rust” mean Little or No?

    Like 5
  16. trav66

    This looks like a good deal, if it stays under $5k. Most likely 111k miles but it looks like it’s been maintained well. Perfect van for a handyman business and much cheaper than a newer truck. A B100 is a short wheel base, the seller states that in his ad, must be using a funny lens in the pics.

    Like 2
  17. T. Mann Member

    The Dodge 1974 B100 can be 109 or 127 wheelbase.
    Link to the 1974 Dodge van brochure:
    https://www.xr793.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/1974-Dodge-Tradesman-Vans.pdf

    Like 6
    • trav66

      T. Mann, great link! There isn’t a panel between the passenger door and side door (as Bill McCoskey pointed out), so it’s the 109 inch. My parents had one in the ’70s so I have a soft spot for these. Didn’t know there was a longer version available but I do now! Dad decked it out inside, 318, 3 in the tree, baby moons and side-pipes! Ahhh, the seventies!

      Like 2
  18. pixelpusher

    Like most, I would debate the mileage claims on this one. I do like the interior winch. I’m sure it made it easier to drag the bodies in.

    Like 5
    • Stevieg Member

      Yeah, they don’t load easily when they are kicking and screaming lol.

      Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        Stevieg,

        Shhhh, quiet, or you give away the secret reason for the winch!

        Like 1
      • Stevieg Member

        Lol

  19. X

    I’m not sure I accept the 11,000 mile part of the story — but 111,000 seems too high for the condition of the driver’s seat. I think it has done 50,000 to 75,000 miles.

    Like 1
  20. bill tebbutt

    I owned the twin (perhaps a close cousin is a better description!) in university as a daily driver summer job vehicle and race car tow vehicle. Same colour, it was a Fargo as well, Mine was the long wheelbase AND it had the extended bodywork on the back which added I’m guessing about 18″ to the overall length. It was HUGE.

    It was also one of my all time favourite vehicles, and I have owned a lot of them. I bought this in 1986 from a small used call dealer for $1100 on the road. I spent $125 to have a hitch welded to the rear subframe and we were off!

    I tried to kill this van. I tried as hard as I could, but the darn thing would never die. In southern Ontario, we got a fair amount of snow, and it was surprisingly good in snow – I had the rally slide/drifting technique down pat with this van, and my friends couldn’t believe it could be driven like that. Long, lurid slides all winter, and never stuck once.

    I was roadracing an old MG racecar in GT2 at the time, with the help of a couple of buddies (that’s a story for another time). 3 guys in school (me, Jouko, and Tom), making our own race parts as we had no cash to speak of, and begging/borrowing a lot. Mosport was our home track and we had a lot of great weekends there with this van.

    I got quite proficient at building MG racing engines, as we blew them up regularly early on. However, on one particular weekend at Mosport, everything went our way. The car hung together, I drove well to a third place in the feature, and it was beautiful weather. Even though our race day finished at just past lunch on Sunday we decided that since everything had gone so well that we would crack open a beer or two and watch an afternoon of racing.

    We hitched the trailer up, loaded the MG on it, packed the van, and went off to Corner two for the afternoon. At about 5:30 we walked back to the rig, and it wouldn’t start. It would sputter and fart, but wouldn’t run no matter what we tried. The track clears out really fast at that time, and before long we were alone. Using the payphone (!) we called Jouko’s brother in Kitchener (where we all lived, about a 90 minute drive from Mosport). He came and picked us up in his GTI, and whisked us back to Tom’s house. Tom’s dad was the only guy we knew with a large sedan with a receiver hitch. We then drove the Olds 88 (1976 model I think) from Kitchener to Mosport (Myles, the track manager to this day, agreed to leave a gate open for us).

    After unhooking the van from the trailer, we hitched the trailer to the Olds and hightailed it back to Kitchener, where we dropped off the MG. It was on this trip that we realized that we could *probably* load the van ONTO the trailer and tow it back to Kitchener with the Olds for fixing at a later date. We grabbed a couple of hours sleep (it was midnight by now), and got back to Mosport by about 8 am the next morning.

    There was some sort of drivers school happening in the paddock, so there were lots of folks to witness us using a couple come-longs and ratchet straps to get the van onto the trailer. Remember how we borrowed a lot of stuff? Well the trailer was a loaner, a poorly converted boat trailer, meaning the floor was probably 30″ above the road. When we got the van lashed down, the front and rear tires were both literally on the front and back edges of the trailer floor

    The van was full – tool chests, spare axles and wheels, camping gear, etc. The trailer weighed a ton on its own. We proudly edged out of Mosport in front of many disbelieving eyes, as we were not really thinking about a centre of gravity for the 6,000 lb load that probably was at the centre of the rear window of the Olds.

    If any of you have been to Mosport, you’ll know it is in quarry country. There are two HUGE hills on the road that leads to the track. I kept the speed to a reasonable 50+ MPH and we got to at least half way down the first hill when the trailer began to sway. Badly. Within seconds, the trailer had taken over the car, and the entire combo was pivoting back and forth on the two front wheels of the Olds. In seconds, I had tried everything I could think of (accelerate, brake, countersteering, etc,) to no avail. the swings got worse, and we were now whipping from shoulder to shoulder.

    A crash was imminent. All I could think of was the van leaving the trailer and driving right over us – all I could see out the rear view mirror was the van’s front bumper. We were goners.

    And then, through some combo of deceleration, drag, change in slope, whatever, the oscillating began to decrease. I got the whole rig parked on the shoulder, and Tom and Jouko and I looked at each other and laughed our asses off (with that kind of “Geez, we coulda died” look in our eyes). A local stopped, and gave us directions to a local mechanic who worked out of his farm. We towed there for about an hour on the shoulder, at about 5mph, and dropped the van off with a view to picking it up the following weekend.

    We drove the Olds to Burlington to return the trailer, drove back to Kitchener to return the Olds, then I got on my motorcycle and rode to London (an hour the other side of Kitchener) to catch my Monday afternoon classes. Called the mechanic the next day, and he had replaced the ignition box on the van – it had fried itself.

    The following Saturday I bummed a ride to Bowmanville, and took a cab from there to the farm. Upon my arrival, as I was walking up the driveway, the mechanic’s farm dog charged me and bit me quite badly.

    And that’s the way it was – good times!!!!

    cheers,
    BT

    Like 6
  21. Stevieg Member

    Great story Bill! I love it!

  22. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Bill Tebbutt,

    Wonderful story! Looks like your track driving skills paid off that day!

    I drove a 1973 Dodge B200 LWB van, ordered it new, put over 250,000 miles in it. I learned quickly to keep 3 extra parts in the back [with the tools to make the repairs]; Ignition module, electronic voltage regulator, and starter motor. Mid 1970s Mopar vehicles tended to use up those 3 parts on a regular basis.

    I see this has factory A/C, as did mine. That A/C was the most expensive option available on my van, it was about $450, but it was so damn powerful I would have condensation form on the outside of the windows on a very humid night, with the A/C on Max.

    A friend of mine from Germany and I took a 3 week tour of the USA, thru 36 states & Canada. On our return trip, we left the California coast and headed inland. On heading out it was about 72f. As we climbed the hills the outside temps started rising, so we turned on the A/C. When we arrived at our destination in Barstow, nice & cool inside the van, I opened the driver’s door, hopped out, & taking a breath I choked on 115f air, and almost passed out! Yeah, that Chrysler Airtemp A/C was worth every penny I spent!

    If this van had been advertised 20 years ago, I would have jumped on it soooo fast!

    Like 1
  23. T. Mann Member

    A graduate student at my college in Carrollton, Georgia had one of these with a 5 octave upright piano mounted by the back doors.

    What a treat…:-)

    Like 3
  24. Gary

    11k and it had a repaint? 111,000 miles is more like it

    Like 2
  25. Red Car Club

    Gary, in Jeff Lavery’s world,
    Every vehicle must be repainted after 10,ooo miles

    Like 1
  26. Terry Bowman

    Sure miss my 72′ Dodge Sportsman Maxi B-300 van that I bought new in High School that year. Just took it to the junk yard last year, due to rust. It was part of my whole life til then. Yes, the fathers didn’t like me, got married, had kids, fishing, camping and a lot of traveling. The play pin fit well in the center. The dogs through the years would look out the pop put windows. LOL I did install a 69′ 340 to give it a little ZIP.

  27. T. Mann Member

    Sold for $6601
    Last bid was 3 seconds before auction ended.

    Like 1
  28. trav66

    Someone got a great deal! I kinda hope the new owner customizes it ’70’s style. Lots of potential with this one.

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