Fully Loaded Off Roader: 1979 Ford 4X4 Van


It seems that there has been renewed interest in vans from the 1960s and 1970s. We’ve even featured several interesting examples recently. This Ford is a fully loaded heavy duty version. Often when describing a van of the 1970s, you didn’t know if “fully loaded” referred to the driver or the van. This one ton beast listed on craigslist has it all including a 460 V8, a freshly overhauled C6 tranny, all wheel drive and an interesting interior. It was stored for years in Ojai, California and is now for sale in nearby Ventura, California. The $6,800 asking price seems a little high, but if it’s in really good shape perhaps it’s reasonable..


It does look original in the back, but likely no more comfortable than any other sofa bed. The interior looks ready for several recreational activities not condoned by parents or law enforcement.


There’s nothing psychedelic here, but it does have that 1970s “vibe.” It looks like a home brewed conversion with cheap paneling and carpet from a home improvement store.

right rear

What would you do with this van? It looks ready to play, but off road excursions with such a high center of gravity don’t seem practical. There doesn’t seem to be much of the interior worth saving. Perhaps the new owner will add an interesting paint job and cruise back to the 1970s? Or maybe it will just make a good work truck? You should certainly expect extra attention crossing any borders in it, but that’s a risk you take driving a van! With that huge V8 and 4 wheel drive it will use a lot of gas making long distance trips noisy and expensive.


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  1. Chebby

    That couch looks like its built to stretch between the wheel wells. Agree it does not look comfortable. Might be a great van to keep in ski country, but I am wondering if that diamond plate is hiding rust.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      It usually does or ends up promoting it.

  2. Rob L

    I thought a high center of gravity would be “practical” for an off road excursion vehicle. Guess I should take a Ferrari F40 the next time I hit the back country.

    Sorry, I just couldn’t let that commentary slide.

    The van looks like fun.

    • DAN

      do any real off roading & you will find out quick/fast & in a hurry what a high center of gravity will get you,lol
      no the Ferrari f40 won’t do better,lol

      • Bobsmyuncle

        Obviously this isn’t appropriate for rock crawling or getting crossed up on a rooty trail, but no one ever claims a Unimog is top heavy.

    • David

      High center of gravity is top heavy. That has nothing to do with ground clearance. We used a similar rig in the 1970s, but it was full of electronic gear. These vans also suffer from a VERY wide turning radius.

  3. JW

    Might do well for a fishing rig along a river for hunting in 70’s style, heck if Willie on “Duck Dynasty” can use a motorhome to hunt I can use this rig.

  4. Mark S Member

    With all that heavy gear below the floor line ( axles, engine, trans, transfer case, frame rails) I don’t see how some sheet metal and carpet can possible make this top heavy. This van just appears to be top heavy, maybe if you stand a couple of cows in the back and went off roading it might be top heavy. What do you think guys am I wrong.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      For all intents and purposes, you are right on the money.

    • Rob

      Not sure if cows would fit. Perhaps some fat chicks?

  5. RichS

    Now here’s your Hot Wheels Baja Breaker van!


  6. Woodie Man


  7. Roger

    For where this van is intended to get , it WILL BE JUST FINE. And the fun that awaits, I can only imagine but it will BE GREAT!!!!

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