Country Homes Camper: 1995 Ford Aerostar 4WD

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While the Ford Aerostar is frequently derided as being one of the more unattractive people haulers ever made, some variations on the theme of a gigantic box on wheels can transform it into a very capable cruiser. Take this pop-top R/V conversion, for example: this Aerostar combines that optional factory four-wheel drive system with an aftermarket camper conversion, creating one heck of a getaway vehicle. Find it here on craigslist for $16,275 in Santa Cruz.

The pop-top looks nicely integrated, and the seller says the conversion was performed by a now-shuttered company called Country Homes Campers. The seller claims he has stayed in touch with the former owners, who have maintained an online presence with spare parts and support for owners of these limited-production conversions. The Aerostar always had plenty of space inside, so the extra room up above likely makes this slab-sided van quite comfortable for riding and sleeping in.

Check out that cabin: I’ll bet you never thought an Aerostar could look this good inside. The wood trim appears nicely preserved, and the furnishings are a conservative look that will age nicely. Side curtains provided additional privacy, and you can imagine how quickly you’d start planning cross-country road trips with a van like this. The ad notes that the original cost to convert the interior of the Aerostar to be camper-friendly was a staggerng $15K in the mid-90s, an impressive sum to lavish on an otherwise unloved vehicle.

I may be being a bit too harsh, and I apologize to any Aerostar fans in the room. But it’s rare to see one of these in pristine condition, particularly with additional money lavished upon it for the camper conversion. The seller is confident in the Aerostar’s mechanical health, reporting that the V6 and 4WD all work as intended, and that is has far more get-up-and-go than a Westfalia conversion that costs twice as much. It’s hard to argue with that logic, so would you rock an Aerostar if you needed a new roadtrip rig?

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    I had an Aerostar, 2 wheel drive, and it actually was a really nice van. Even took my ex-wifes abuse. Not sure I’d lay out the cash for this particular unit, there’s much classier rigs to see the country in for this money. I believe this was a full time 4 wheel drive, and why they’d need that in California, not sure, but it takes it’s toll on gas mileage, and not really needed on something like this. I think these and the Chevy Astro van were good ideas for up north, but not for this application.

    Like 5
    • mallthus

      California is a big state and there’s lots of situations where having 4WD or AWD is really important, even if it’s not, strictly speaking, “necessary”. Also remember that the Sierras get some of the deepest snowpacks in the nation.

      Folks from the east or midwest won’t get this, but California (and most western states) have Traction/Chain laws that require either chains or a 4WD/AWD with Severe Snow and Winter Traction rated tires. If you don’t have either, you’re not allowed past the checkpoint and, if you’re already past and are in an collision, you’re automatically at fault.

      (Photo is snow in California.)

      Like 13
      • Jay E.

        I spent many years living on Lola Montez rd right across the street from that photo location! 1983 it snowed almost 20 feet in ONE DAY. Crazy. Anyways, the big drawback to that 4×4 van is its weight even without the conversion. It makes the van engine work especially hard and hurts reliability. Being a van, the engine is hard to access.. But if leisurely camping is your thing it is a nice rig. Wildly overpriced though, cant imagine where they got that value.

        Like 9
  2. Ensign Pulver

    We affectionately called our 93 cayman green XL …”Dust Buster” .

    Ford did make comfortable front seats.

    Like 6
  3. Gary

    I can’t believe this bring any money to speak of.Never knew.

    Like 2
  4. Coventrycat

    ALL people haulers are unattractive.

    Like 0
  5. angliagt angliagtMember

    We had a 1993 Aerostar with the extended wheelbase.
    We loved that van,& only sold it because our three kids
    weren’t living at home anymore.
    Ours had the 4.0 V6,& had good power,& was really
    comfortable on long trips.It also towed a car trailer with our
    TR6 (car).
    There were a few weak points on these – front brakes
    had to be replaced every once in a while,and unless you had
    the transmission serviced yearly,it would need replacement/-
    It doesn’t say which engine it has,but I’m guessing that
    it has the 4.0 V6.

    Like 8
    • Tim Boswell

      4 wheel drive automatically meant 4.0
      Never was ‘ extended wheel base. Same wheel base as a shorty. Only diff was the extended was 14 inches longer.
      Caravans have extended wheel bases. Not. Ford

      Like 0
  6. Warren

    Never should have stopped making the Aerostar. It was a tough van that actually could tow something.

    Like 13
  7. Bob Crowley

    That’s a special van for a special person, and that person is not me. I’ve had 4 aerostars and enjoyed them all very much, but between the transmissions seals, the airbag fuse, the cracked fuel filler and the tendency of the sliding door to slide off, I don’t think I could handle another.

    Like 4
    • On and On On and OnMember

      Mine also had that cracked fuel filler. Very dangerous condition. Gas all over.

      Like 1
  8. SMS

    I’ve owned several Vanagon Westies, including Syncros and diesels, along with traveling with Vanagon country homes and driven thousands of miles in an Aerostar so I think I have some insight to this guy.

    4WD has allowed me to get out of places that were fun to camp at. 2WD can get you almost anywhere.

    The Vanagon makes a great camper and a poor car, for power and reliability.

    Westies are laid out better and have little bugs worked out. CHC uses better materials.

    I very much doubt there is a Westy around with fewer miles than this one.

    The owner compares this to a Eurovan. Those I have known with Eurovans were disappointed with the reliability and parts support that I don’t think it is a good comparison.

    For me if the prices were the same I would have a tough time deciding on this or a Vanagon Westy. With the price difference I would choose this.

    As I get older the adventure of working on a car on the side of the road has lost its charm.

    I’m not too far away. If someone is really interested I would go and take a look and pictures for you.

    Like 6
  9. On and On On and OnMember

    Bought a new one back in ’89 or so when I had 2 small kids. Actually liked it and towed a small boat. Engine did work hard. And was tight under the hood. Learned about fuseable links with that car. The alternator went bad so I replaced it but couldn’t get the new one to charge. Took the new one out and back to get a replacement. Guy at the parts store asked If I checked the fuseable link.Oops.

    Like 6
  10. Mike

    I just saw one of these, in the local classifieds for $3500. Around 100K mileage. V6, 4×4. Maybe I’ll go check it out,…save me a trip to Commiefornia

    Like 6
  11. Brian Ach

    While it looks decent and there are few left in this condition, at anything near this price I would expect everything to be up to snuff and working. Read the absurdly long ad and find tucked away a lot of things that don’t work, most of the “It’s broken but I found a workaround and it never bothered me” type.

    You want full price? Fix all those niggling things. Otherwise, there are other vintage or modern vehicles available for the price that have more room and will do the same thing.

    Like 3
  12. Woody

    Abused an AWD working in the early ‘90s, this camper unit would be cool sitting on a F250 frame converted into a Quigley!

    Like 2
  13. Stilbo

    The reason you don’t often see an Aerostar in “pristine condition” is probably due to the fact that while being an ugly box (but still better looking than a Pontiac Aztec) the Aerostar tends to outlive it’s body and good looks (!) due to the 4.0 Cologne V6 and truck derived drivetrain components..
    Therefore nearly all Aerostars you’ll see have in excess of 200,000 miles and lots of parking lot and road scars. They even keep going down the road with bodies so rotted out that the seats almost drag on the ground.

    Like 0
  14. ChebbyMember

    AWD is the only thing that makes this camper interesting. Seller is fishing on the price, no one bit at $14k so they raised it to $16k.

    Like 0
  15. Abel

    I” ve had 5 Ford Aerostars ( two of them died because accidents) The older one was close to 300 thousand miles. Very good cars. All of them have been the 3. 0 liter engine. I never had necesity to tow anything, even when several of them came with towing equipment. Currently I have a 90 model (w stick shift) and a 88 automatic). In my own experience, better than a toyota van LE 85, better than many other ford models and better than other GM cars . Very hapoy with them .

    Like 0

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