Family Wagon: 1988 Dodge Ram B250 Conversion Van

This 1988 Dodge B250 conversion van is an aftermarket creation at the hands of Compact Equipment Co. of California, according to the seller. It’s amazing how many of these companies existed at one time, with the sole purpose of converting an off-the-lot van or truck into a rolling home on wheels. The end result is a creation that is clearly from the 1980s, both in terms of the popularity of models like these and the styling contained within. The seller reports there’s just 65,400 original miles on the clock, and he’s asking $6,000 cash for the running, driving conversion van. Find it here on craigslist in Gresham, Oregon.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Andria Antonakos for the find. Check out the old-school California license plates – there’s little doubt this van has been a West Coast resident for some time. The branding always got me on these things, as the lettering looks like it’s a font straight out of the Brady Bunch era and also speaks to a culture where it was completely normal to load everyone up in the conversion van and head out, looking for adventure. I can still remember the one time my father has a Chevy version of these luxurious cruisers as a rental, and not wanting to give it back. I mean, it had a TV and a snack drawer filled with M&Ms – it was a dream come true for a 10-year-old!

The interior of this Family Van is exactly what you’re hoping to find if you’re a connoisseur of conversion vans. Wall-to-wall carpeting, captain’s chairs, custom blinds, a roof-mounted TV, pop-up tables – it’s literally everything you could need for a road trip with maximum comfort. The seller also reports there’s an icebox and hand-pump sink nestled in here, and of course, the third-row bench that converts into a bed. The heat still works from front to back but the air conditioning is kaput. The headliner appears to be in great shape, along with the thick-pile blue carpeting. Apparently, all the windows open, too.

The seller claims that despite the low miles and nominal use over the years, the van has still been maintained to a high standard. The 5.2L eight-cylinder is said to run well, but details about its maintenance history aren’t shared. It sounds like it’s received the normal fluid changes and comes with a recent battery, but you’d still like to know details around belt services, valve cover gaskets, water pumps, and thermostats. The seller is only the second owner, and I can’t imagine there are too many conversions vans of this era in this sort of condition that haven’t been passed down to fourth and fifth owners by this point. Which conversion van company was your favorite?

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Comments

  1. Steve Clinton

    Man, these vans were a dime a dozen in the ’80s and a father’s worst nightmare. (The reason they were called a “Family Wagon” was because of all the children conceived in them.)

    Like 6
  2. mike

    It’s a toss up for me between the Ford and Chevy. The Ford seemed more modern looking inside and outside.

  3. Cycle Salvage Kevin Member

    I had a 1983 Chevy G20 conversion van back in the 90’s. Two tone silver and gray w/gray interior. Yeah it was comfortable but all I ever used it for was pulling either a 13′ or 26′ flatbed trailers full of motorcycles and van full of parts. One such trip stands out, up 250 miles into Minnesota, empty on the way but full on the way home. I bought 2 Yamaha SC500’s, a Bultaco Sherpa T, a Heald Super Tryke w/20 HP Kohler, a NOS Shrew conversion kit from the 1960’s that turns an 80-100cc motorcycle into a snowmobile and best of all a 1960 Triumph pre-unit 650 Bonneville converted to MX, a show bike. At the same place he included a Norton 750 all there but dismantled. I still have the Shrew but the rest, including the van are long gone. At some point the worst transmission ever made, 700r4, stranded me.

  4. Don Eladio

    The Dodge used to look the best in the ’70’s…then the Chevy ruled through the ’80’s. Ford became the best in the later years and, a 7.3 Diesel F-350 Extended was the Holy Grail.

    Like 1
  5. AZVanMan

    At least this one has a real interior, not some flipper’s demented idea of what custom vans looked like in the 70’s-80’s.

  6. RMac

    70 s Dodge with Turtle top conversion traveled to all lower 48 states in mine

  7. Kevin

    Had a bunch of them thru the years,liked dodge best for looks,and dependability, chevy close 2nd,Ford last,the last ford I had was a money put from hell,it was solid,rode good, but I threw way too much in that engine and fuel system, 1990 5.0,and sold it cheap,last year,said no more fords after that one,just would not idle right, it start consistently, even after all fuel system components were replaced, and electrical, to include ecm….done!

    Like 1

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