Grandma’s Van: 1983 Ford Econoline XL

It’s indisputable that “vanning” culture is making a comeback these days – it’s even got a trendy hashtag (#vanlife) to go along with its revival.  Unfortunately, while the commodification of an automotive niche often leads to rising prices on parts and vehicles, it also brings out well-preserved and period-correct examples, such as this 1983 Ford Econoline XL that Barn Finds reader Russell G. found here on Craigslist.

This Econoline is available in New York City, New York with a clean title. The seller is the second owner, and they purchased the vehicle in Oregon in preparation of a long cross-country trip. After successfully anchoring down in the Big Apple, it’s time to sell this distinctive van.

The exterior is very clean, with the seller mentioning that the van was kept in a garage its entire life, resulting in very little rust or body wear. There’s a newly installed fiberglass topper, which allows occupants to stand inside the van, and the multi-color paint job still has plenty of luminance left.

While custom vans like this are very cool looking, the interiors are undoubtedly the selling point – after all, they are designed for use as living quarters. Luckily, this Econoline’s well-preserved cabin combines retro looks with some modern amenities, such as a custom-installed Pioneer head unit with a functioning reverse-view camera.

There’s also working appliances in the van such as a fridge, sink, and propane stove. This Econoline could benefit from an auxiliary battery, but the seller mentions that they had no issues living without it on their cross-country voyage.

You can catch some sleep on an Ikea mattress is only a few months old, which also features ample storage space under it. Additionally, the van’s working air conditioning keeps occupants cool, while custom mosquito netting keeps them free from bug bites.

Though the seller does not specify which engine the drivetrain the van uses, its 5-digit odometer shows 58,406 miles, a figure that the seller notes is the original mileage.

The seller is asking $13,000 or best offer for this Ford, which they nicknamed “Grandma’s Van.” Do you think that you would begin your #vanlife adventures with this neat Econoline?


WANTED 1972 Ford Ranchero GT Ready to go 4 speed, no restoration project, preferably white in Midwest Contact

WANTED 1974-75 Toyota Corolla E5 Yellow, Black Interior, 5 speed. Rust free, any location in US Contact

WANTED 1975-1991 Ford e-150 / e150 Manual Transmission please. preferably with a v8 and preferably shorty Econoline van, 3rd gen. Contact

WANTED 1984 -1985 Ford EXP Ideally rust free, solid running car w/ man. trans. Prefer ’84, ’85 Turbo model. Or 86 Contact

WANTED 1960-1965 Porsche 356 Driver I’d like to find a driver-quality 356 that isn’t too rusty to enjoy. Thanks! Contact

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  1. Chebby Staff

    Vandma in search of Vandpa.

    Someone on the East Coast should snap this up, shipping’s already been done for you.

    Like 2
  2. art

    A vehicle you could love, only if you approached it with your eyes closed.

    Like 2
  3. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Wasn’t this in Oklahoma last week ?

  4. Rosco

    The newly installed fiberglass topper/high-top ruins the look of this otherwise cool van.

    Like 3
  5. Superdessucke

    If Granny’s van’s rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’!

    Like 2
  6. Steve

    Vanlife nuts these days are real big on high top roofs. But this roof is not a good one. It is not accommodating for solar panels. The price is right though. Some one will resort to ground deployed panels. I think they stopped making Econolines in 2015. Ford Transits are the replacement.

    • Otis

      As an actual owner for many years of a number of classic vans, have to say that the high top roof is a no. I get it for the additional space for camping and such, but totally ruins any resemblance to an old school van.

      Like 2
      • CATHOUSE

        Unless you find one with a Vista Cruiser roof grafted onto it.

  7. SWells679

    This is a classic example of…”it’s so ugly, it’s awesome!”

    Like 1
  8. Matthew W Kirk

    The whole “original mileage” claim is a lot more believable with a 6 digit odometer. This van almost certainly has 158, 406 miles on it.

    Like 3
  9. Del

    I am continually insulted here.

    Grandma only entered 5 star Motorhomes. Big ones.

    Like 1
  10. AZVanMan

    Well equipped, but that is about as fugly as a van can get.

  11. Neil

    Very odd odo alignment, or is it just me? I’ve never seen so many digits misaligned.

  12. Miguel

    You can get a better equipped class C motorhome for a fraction of the price.

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