Live Auctions

Former Stereo Showpiece: 1979 Dodge Van + Trailer

The era of custom van building is one that will hopefully make a return to our culture in the near term. Wild, overdone creations is still a thing in countries like Japan, where vans are overbuilt to the point of absurdity. This 1979 Dodge B20 Tradesman started life as a fairly ordinary worker van but now sports an additional axle and custom trailer. Find it here on craigslist where the seller is demanding buyers send him their best offer over $10K.

I debated even posting this because I truly loathe the seller’s approach to listing a vehicle. The “make me a best and highest offer” for rough vehicles like this just doesn’t apply. Highest and best makes sense for a truly collectible, and/or special, vehicle. This custom van conversion is certainly unique, but not worth more than your average Dodge Tradesman due to the trashed cosmetics and need to gut the interiors on both the truck and trailer.

Having started life as a showpiece for a portable DJ business in California, you can certainly see why this Tradesman was likely the coolest thing on ten wheels back in the day. The custom axle setup “…serves strictly as a load carrier when the trailer is loaded down. Has two airbags that are controlled by a switch and onboard pump. System works great.” The seller also says the van runs nice and smooth, so despite being laid up for years, the mechanicals seem pretty solid.

The trailer portion shown here is a blank canvas, as the seller notes. The possibilities truly are endless, but my personal preference would be to outfit it as a tow-behind camping trailer. That said, should you want to finish this custom Dodge van and trailer out the way you best see fit, it will cost significant money beyond the purchase price – which is why I feel the seller’s reference of $10K being the price to beat somewhat delusional. Cool project for sure, but the price makes it a tough sell for me.


  1. Chebby

    I love this hideous monster van, and I’ll raise you 4×4 and a more reasonable price!

    • Jeffro

      Alot of overhang in back…but I like it.

    • Steve65

      That’s not a 4×4. It’s a 6×4.

      • jcs

        Actually, it’s a 6X2 (6 wheels/2 drive wheels).

      • Steve65

        The ad is very clear that only one rear axle is driven, but that “the 4×4 works”. The front is a drive axle. It’s 6×4.

    • boxdin

      The SF van is an abomination where this van has some potential to be a nice truck.

  2. '69 Nova Dude

    It’d make a cool camper thing for a single dude (me).

    • Lorena

      or a single gal (me)!

      • Shayne

        First Barnfinds Matchmake?

  3. TriPowerVette

    +Jeff Lavery- Thank you for codifying what we all know (and are tired of). Jerk advertisers. They think their stuff is solid gold, and they have a small pamphlet of conditions under which you may submit your pathetic offer. You nailed it. I have taken a pass more than once on something I wanted, just because of the seller’s attitude.

    • Steve65

      Aside from general douchbaggery, he’s also explicitly violating craigslist terms of use by running an auction. I flagged it for that, as I do any ad I come across which violates their two fundamental rules:

      1 Play nicely

      2 Local content only.

  4. Blindmarc

    Over priced already. And a nice paint job would cost close to what he’s asking.

  5. Rod444

    Well at least he didn’t say the laughable “BUY it this weekend because the price goes UP on Monday” line. Yeah, that’s my favorite.

  6. lawyer George

    If the price were right and I was 1.2my age, I could redo the interior myself as well as the engine drive line, but with traffic like it is, it would be a real pain driving it around or finding a beach site to set over for a few days. And the fuel mileage would probably dictate that the trailer be converted into a fuel tank.

  7. john

    The ad on Craigslist says his best offer so far is ten thousand… that’s not really the seller ‘demanding’ more than ten, just that he has one for that amount…imho.

    • Steve65

      Uh huh. And that text he just got is another buyer who wants to come check it out.

  8. john

    Someone better hop on this before the price of shag carpet sky rockets !!!

  9. dyno dan

    great demo derby van! worth its weight in rust/patina!

  10. Nickhockman Member

    If he has a 10k offer it is from someone that will send him a check for 12k and have him send 2k via western union to pay shipper.

  11. Mike

    Some possibilities here. Turn it into a 6 wheel Sportsmobile with a pop up roof. A lot of work to remove all the dated sh!t on it and way overpriced to really do anything with it. The trailer is worthless rusty junk.

  12. Nova Scotian

    Horror show. Pass.


    I love me some disco-era panel vans…just not enough to overpay for one.
    I did however purchase a Ram Promaster 1500…of which I plan to give the interior a modern interpretation on that era.

    Could’nt resist.

  14. boxdin

    I was behind a new ram van yesterday and couldn’t help but notice how low the rear tube axle is. Looked like 5 inches or so of ground clearance. I could see hitting a rock easily. I’m sure they will sell a ton of replacements.
    But its about time people got into these new efficient vans. More room than ever and no more fiberglass tops !!
    I”m restoring a short ford 1990 and also have a 1990 Chinook.

  15. James Horner

    This dude no way, has an offer for 10 grand for that crap. You can buy a pretty damn nice motor home for 10 grand, and not have to spend 40 grand restoring it. You know how nice of a used conversion van you could get for 10 grand? This dude is either full of crap or has been huffing glue. I wouldn’t pay 2 grand for that POS.

    • Jim in AL

      Don’t hold back!

      Tell us how you REALLY fell.

  16. MrBZ

    When I built custom vans in the 80s, my boss had a brand new Ford Supervan that we planned to make our company showpiece “in our spare time”. Crazy stuff like making the slider a gull-wing door, molded-in flares and spoiler and changing most of the factory body lines earned the name Mondo Bondo as the poor van sat and waited for the next time we charged the battery, pulled it back into the shop and gave it a little more attention. Never completed, several years later it was sold for next to nothing and went away. While I have a special place in my heart for these vans, few others do– this guy should jump on that 10k fast!

  17. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    The sheer amount of space you would need for this project will eliminate most people, if the price and the item itself doesn’t.

    That’s why he’ll never get half of what he’s asking.

    But then again, there are crazies out there like whatshisface from GasMonkey who in a recent episode bought 2 gigantic monstrosities with no plans on what to do with them.

    • whippeteer

      Well, he did make $20K without doing anything to them. He bought the pair for 30 and sold them for 50 to someone who just wanted one. The top auction price when he listed them on eBay was around $13K and he didn’t sell it.

  18. Al

    I’d rather have this…

  19. whippeteer

    It does have room for my dogs. Maybe at $1K. It needs a LOT of work.

Leave a Reply to whippeteer Cancel reply

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.


WANTED 1970-1971 Plymouth Barracuda Drivable but not restored Contact

WANTED 1961-1974 Porsche Jaguar xke or porsche Top dollar for any Porsche Jaguar im a private buyer 613-894-1141 Contact

WANTED 1967 Mercury cyclone convertible don’t care how bad it is but needs a good title A project Contact

Submit Your Want Ad