1975 Dodge Vista Cruiser Van!

Some odd things often get submitted to the staff here at Barn Finds, and this 1975 Dodge van is one of those oddballs. Customized with an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser roof, this Dodge has a rather unique feature that is borderline genius for a camper van. Packing a custom paint job, side pipes, and a few different wheels, this van was apparently a rolling advertisement for taxidermy, and auto body work. An interesting mix of “body work” as it almost makes you wonder if the taxidermist and body man were one in the same? All of this unique and comical van can be yours for a mere $1,000! Take a look at it here on craigslist out of Baker City, Oregon. Thanks to barn finds reader Rick L for this oddball submission!

Once someone’s posh quilted bachelor pad, this van would make a brilliant camper van. Rework the interior to be more camper friendly, and when you sleep in this van you would get a great view of the stars. Beyond the jumbled up cushions, there aren’t any other clues given as to the condition of the interior. The cock pit is unknown, but the drive-train is listed as a 318 V8 in good running condition. Although running the engine has a few needs with leaking coolants lines, and I imagine fresh fluids, a tune up, and some other maintenance will be needed.

The Vista roof is likely easy to overlook to those who aren’t van fans, but from what little can be seen, there does not seem to be any rust, or body issues involved with the roof graft. As a whole this van looks to be in nice shape with no evidence of rust, and only a few minor dents on the passenger rear corner. Despite the mix of wheel choices, I prefer the 5 slot mags the best, as they have a period flavor for a classic 70’s van.  Perhaps not the deal of a century, but certainly a unique opportunity, this van make a great retro camper to explore America with. What are some of the wackiest body grafts you have seen?

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Comments

  1. Rock On Member

    Not technically side pipes Brian. I would call this side exit exhaust. Side pipes would run down the lower length of the vehicle between the front and back wheels.

  2. Mike B

    Often wondered what happened to the custom vans, some with pretty amazing paint (not necessarily this one). I remember an incredible van size reproduction of the Boston album.

  3. Fred W.

    Call it what you will- but this would get more attention at a show than a 100K concours restoration. It’s got character!

  4. Phil

    I would clean out the inside and put some matching tires/rims on it but would not touch the paint job !!

  5. mike D

    I remember the days of the personal custom van , the vista cruiser roof is most definetly an aftermarket, doing body work and changing the tail lights from a car was also en vogue captain chairs and a kicking stereo , a 318 would get the job done, but not nesc. a rocket I believe you could get a 440 from the factory in these lots of possibilities with this one.. hope someone does it justice!

    • Troy

      We ran low – mid 15 second 1/4 mile with our Dodge Plumbing Vans in the early 1980’s..

      One was a ’77 with a 360 4bbl the other a ’83 with a 360 4bbl both had highway gearing 3.21 axle ratio’s and single exhaust and low 15’s is what they ran with shelving and some pipes and tools,not loaded down with tools but some..They were fairly empty,not fully loaded with supplies/tools..

      We knew the vans felt quick,so being car guys me and my best friend who was also a co worker,well we just had too lol ! We were lucky we grabbed the 4bbl vans,some were 2bbl 360’s also quick but not a 4bbl..

      With duel exhaust and a better jetted carb/better carb and empty and 3.54’s its easily a 14 second van..Mopar had low compression but used econo carbs and then lean burn to get by emissions ,remove those,its a stout engine.

      Even some 318’s would feel quick,even with 2 barrel carbs..not blazingly quick but good enough..,others had a smog carb and were sluggish..I only remember a 78 with a 318 4bbl,it felt like a non smog 74 360 2bbl van..Most of the Companies vans were 360 2bbl and had several 4bbl engines that he ordered,2bbl is when he just bought them off the lot….We had some 400 2bbl and 4bbl vans,they were quicker but I never was given one as “My” van to take home..Boss felt it was a good engine and it was,did everything good.He had some 400 big blocks and 440’s…but those were usually in the maxivans that were set up with trailers for the older guys lol..I did drive those,but they were loaded with weight,and never got to take them home like my 200 and 250 series Dodge Vans middle length vans..I know we had 1 440 medium length van that the boss drove daily,he had cragers on it too and fender flares,looked awesome everyone loved it !

      • Troy S

        Those vans sound like they were as quick as the red express trucks from back then! Very interesting.

    • LAB3

      The torque of a 360 would be nice to help pull it up hills, guess it’s a matter of how you want to use it. The 440 would be your speed choice and the sound is hard to beat. With all that said the 318 is a great choice for long trips, you won’t have to feed it nearly as often.

  6. Nrg8

    Probably alot of cc’s of dream killer spilt in there over the years. Rolling bio hazard…..

    • steve

      ewww

  7. Skip

    Back in the ’70s the Tram Corp. in Oklahoma built a pair of 1972 Chevrolet Type II vans for Metropolitan Ambulance in Amarillo. Both of the came with VistaCruiser roofs and small sinks with running water: something unheard of in ambulance at the time.

    One of the vans was totally destroyed in an early-morning accident on I27 near Pampa, TX in which my longtime friend and veteran Metropolitan medic was killed. He, his partner, and the patient they were transporting were killed, along with a couple of people in the car who hit them.

    My standby ambulance service bought the remaining van in 1984 when Metropolitan retired it. We later sold it to another private ambulance service,so it has seen its rounds over the years. Last I heard it was at a church camp in a small town just south of Amarillo.

  8. CATHOUSE

    There were several mid to late 70s Dodge vans back in the day that had 426 hemis transplanted into them.

    • TCOPPS Tyler Member

      Let me know if you find a few, eh?

  9. whippeteer

    Not surprisingly, it’s already gone. If I had seen something like that near me, I would have jumped on it too.

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