Beach Wagon: 1975 Dodge Sportsman Royal SE

When I was a kid, a family that lived down the street had a 1970s Dodge B-series van parked in front of their house, and the only time they ever used it was when they were going to the beach. So you’ll forgive me if, when I see this ’75 Sportsman Royal SE Maxiwagon, all I can think of is that beach wagon—never mind that this one is in all-but-landlocked Pennsylvania. Hey, it is in Erie, which I guess is about as close to a beach city as the Quaker state’s got. It’s also here on eBay, where someone will be getting a heck of a deal when the auction ends this afternoon; as of this writing, the reserve has already been met at just $6,350. Thanks to reader Matt Williams for the find!

As beach wagons go, this one’s a peach, with an equipment list almost as long as the van itself—incidentally, this length gave Chrysler the first domestic 15-passenger van in 1971, although as we’ll see, this Maxiwagon has traded seating capacity for something else. There’s a healthy dollop of deluxe trim atop a heavy-duty rig that seems to have been specially outfitted by the original owner for towing and long-distance travel. Somewhat surprisingly, then, only 27,764 miles are shown, and the van is being flipped by a dealer that bought it from that original owner.

The condition of the interior bears out the mileage, and the pattern of the upholstery bears out my beach metaphor, looking as it does like a period-correct terrycloth towel. It’s absolutely perfect and extremely cool, but I think I might actually get carsick if I had to ride in it—something about those stripes is making my eyes cross and my stomach hurt just sitting still. Fortunately, if it all becomes too much and you need to lie down, this van’s got you covered.

That’s right, aft of the second-row bench seat is what appears to be a very well-finished (and apparently completely removable) custom bed—just the thing for laying out, watching the stars over the crashing waves as the last embers of your bonfire crackle out…I’m tellin’ ya, I really see this thing on a beach somewhere.

Getting you to your sandy destination will be Chrysler’s venerable 360 cubic-inch V8, which is said to have been treated to “a recent, very thorough service.” Other than this and other regular maintenance, it seems it’s largely been off the road since 1986, which would help account for the low mileage.

Talk about charisma! If vintage vans are going to be the next big thing—and I’m proclaiming here and now that they are—this is the one to get if you want to be in on the ground floor. With an unusually high level of equipment and beautiful originality, I’ll reiterate that I think the next owner’s getting a great deal on this van, even if the bidding closes several thousand dollars higher than where it stands right now. Just…wipe the sand off your feet before you get in, willya?

WANT ADS

WANTED 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 my wife’s first car, red with red interior would be ideal, any locale Contact

WANTED 1964-1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS… Nova SS… Chevy II SS Looking for SS ONLY.. project car or needing work preferred but will look at all… NATIONWIDE Contact

WANTED 1987 Mercury Merkur Ideally rust free, nicely optioned, solid running car w/ man. trans. Also consider 85&86. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. MH

    Wow! That is beautiful!!!!!

    • Superdessucke

      It’s groovy!

  2. Alex

    Man this so amazing I would sell my Ford Bronco for it I love Vans one that I could live in it because its so huge and of I had the money I would buy it and go to the beach because that what you do in Florida

  3. Josh

    Man that thing is cool. I agree–full-size vans are on their way back for sure!

  4. Andre

    At first glace I thought the bed was a hot tub. Good thing I looked twice, I almost sold my kids for this thing.

  5. edh

    Wow!
    No!

  6. jaymes

    i bet hes makin a bunch

  7. John D.

    If it were a Plymouth, I’d say our dealership, just outside of Erie, probably sold it. Every Spring we would order in a fairly well equipped long Voyager. When Plymouth discontinued ‘trucks’, we would go to Detroit to buy factory auctions and buy a Dodge. I remember the last one of these sold looked much like this one. The special thing about the Detroit auctions was many of the vehicles were used by the factory. We have cars had cars from engineering that were being tested. My Dad swears an engineer called him around 1968 looking for a Newport that he wanted to swap the spark plugs. My Dad told him it was sold, and was asked to contact the customer to get free spark plugs. Dad told the customer there must have been something special about those spark plugs and he told the factory guy the customer moved. Incidentally, they did not need changed until the car had over 100,000 miles. Were they an early prototype platinum spark plug? Back to the van. It was used by marketing for photographs for the sales brochure. It was repainted for each group of photos and had multiple coats of paint. I liked the van and when it was traded in for a 300M, I considered buying it but it had a bad infestation of tin worms. And the beaches here are wonderful, but you would never catch a Floridian in the water.

  8. SAM61

    Awesome, keep on truckn baby.

    Add an air horn behind the grill…no more holes in the roof.

    If the van’s a rockn its because your kids are having fun in their new/old van playing slug bug on your trek Florida…

  9. RNR

    Beach wagon? More like “Beach House”!

  10. Gay Car Nut

    Lovely looking Dodge Van. I had a neighbour when I was a boy who had one. It looked like this van, except it was blue, with white that went forward to aft.

  11. Fred W.

    It would have to have been garaged to look like this, and who had a garage that would hold it? Looks exactly like every church van I’ve ever seen, except for the deluxe interior and trim, which they would never spring for.

    • Steve

      I agree about the garage. They don’t build them like they used to. My folks bought a house in 1976 that was built in 1959. The garage was big enough that I remember him parking his 1982 Suburban and my mom’s 1983 Olds 88 side by side. You could still open all four doors…at the same time. There was also still room at the front for a washer/ dryer on one side and a large chest freezer on the other. No squeezing by to get to them, either. My mom passed away in ’11, but dad is still there. Now he has a ’10 Odyssey van on one side, and two Hustler mowers, a push mower and a Troy Built Horse tiller on the other! On top of this, he also has a separate workshop that would fit three cars. Granted, it is an uninsulated wood framed with asbestos (yea, asbestos) siding and a strongbarn corrugated metal roof, but it keeps the weather out, and it’s South Texas, so not much cold. I am going to start on building a house next year, and I plan on a similarly sized garage, and separate workshop to boot.

  12. fish56

    That interior almost looks like what the 1974, 1975 Dodge Dart Hang Ten’s had. Just add some orange shag carpet.
    Wow! Nice van.

  13. John S

    Just sold for 10200.

  14. David Miraglia

    An original shag wagon. Cool…

  15. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    LOL!

    I come from a big family, and we had the ’75 Plymouth Voyager extended version that we all could fit in. It was very plain inside, but was loaded with vinyl bench seats.

    People would call it the “Buckmobile” when they saw it, after our last name.

  16. dyno dan

    this a red green special! free roll of duct tape!

  17. Rick A. Loera Member

    These vans are great. I remember when Ford brought our the new 1975 Ford Van with the long nose. I thought these were very nimble considering these things were as big as they were. Still love that body style and would love to have one in my driveway. Starting with the 92’s , something was lost in the translation.

  18. glenn

    on the trimplate what is this Fargo name I know plymouth dodge and desoto are part of chrysler but what is this Fargo. and why is desoto still there

  19. Rube Goldberg Member

    In the early ’80’s, the old man had one of these I took to Indiana somewhere, and they cut the top open and screwed one of those fiberglass pop up tops on. It instantly transformed a not so bad van, into one of the most dangerous vehicles I’ve driven. Gusty winds, semi’s, made the van head for the ditch. The old man made a motorhome out of it, with limited success, but even he grew tired of the handling, and moved up to full size motorhomes. It was extremely hard to work on, like all cab forward vans, but was bullet proof. Chrysler drivetrains were the best around this time. Very cool find, miserable gas mileage, and the cross over ports in the intake manifold would plug up, and it ran like crap, especially when cold, but very rare van today.

  20. Whippeteer

    Just drive to the center of PA to get to Jersey Shore (Pennsylvania that is).

  21. James

    Nothing says Sportsman like a two tone yellow and brown/ gold van…..

  22. Rick A. Loera Member

    Desoto was also present on my uncles 1979 Dodge pickup.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.