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Groovy Shorty Party Van! 1976 Dodge B200 Tradesman

Once upon a time, there was an era in automotive history during the seventies when motoring just didn’t get much cooler than in customized vans, rolling domiciles created by their owners as sort of a far-out way to express themselves in the form of a vehicle.  More than a few drivers went so far as to give their creations a name, some coming up with a unique epithet while others borrowed titles from well-known pop culture icons.  The creator of this 1976 Dodge B200 Tradesman here on eBay chose to go the latter route when he named it The Mystery Machine, a moniker many of our readers will remember from the Scooby Doo van if they’re at least 50 years young.  This one’s not perfect but seems like a capable driver, so if you’re anywhere near Moreno Valley, California, it may be worth checking out if you’ve been in the market for a vintage home on wheels.  As of now, 46 bidders have sent the price up to $7,400, so you’re not alone in envisioning this would be a fun way to travel.

Perhaps you’re thinking this Dodge doesn’t bear a color resemblance to The Mystery Machine from the lovable cartoon, as the animated van was blue with green and orange trim.  No, it doesn’t, but that’s one of the beauties of putting a party van together is being able to get away with all kinds of misnomers and heed to the rules-are-for-fools mentality, although the creator here went with a not-too-radical paint scheme on the outside.  It’s simple, yet effective, with the body stated to be rust-free and still looking pretty good to be heading toward the five-decade milestone.  The seller points out a couple of dents, one on the passenger side rocker and another on one of the back doors, but other than this things outside appear to be in acceptable condition at a minimum.

Inside, nearly everything you’d hope to find is present, with a set of captain’s chairs up front being the only thing I can think of that may be lacking.  I’m seeing padded diamond upholstery, wood panels, shag, an overhead console, and even a round table with a skull on top, so pretty much all the attributes that make up a seventies party-mobile interior are on hand, and let’s not forget how well thought of those J.C. Whitney-style steering wheels were back in the days of yore for untraditional applications.

Power is provided by a 318 cubic-inch V8 and a 727 TorqueFlite automatic, with the seller stating that the van runs and drives very well.  The van had been sitting for a while before he purchased it from the prior owner, so the carburetor got a rebuild, a new gas tank was installed, plus there’s also a new battery, rotor, and distributor cap.  We even get to go on a short test drive and view a walk-around video, but it’s only through the neighborhood as the tags are expired but the vehicle does come with a clean California title.  I’m digging this van quite a bit and finding it relatively high on the groovy scale, how about you?

Comments

  1. Zen

    Most of these rotted away, so it’s nice to see one in good shape. My father had a 76 Dodge Van, and the frame rail where the steering box bolted to it was rotting away, and the steering box was starting to turn with the column. He drove a good running, recently rebuilt transmission van straight to the junk yard.

    Like 5
    • Sam61

      Ditto, I got my license in the summer of 1977….these vans were everywhere. There was one in town with triangle windows with, you guessed it, Pink Floyd prism colored stripes.

      Remember, if the van’s a-rock’n, don’t bother knock’n….or it my have a bad suspension.

      Like 8
      • Grant

        Never understood the popularity of a van like this, except if you are a loser and there is nowhere else to get laid. (BTW, the quality of girl that would agree to that, matches the classiness of the van) The custom vans with big windows and multiple captains chairs, I understood the need for those. Great for a road trip, but these?

        Like 2
      • John Eder

        I had a 73 B-200 that could tell some stories…

        Like 10
      • Classics Fan

        Grant, you obviously didn’t have the opportunity to party in one of these as a kid or young adult. Your loss!

        Like 19
      • MoparMike

        I have a short 76 with no windows so according to Grant I’m a loser but you know what they say about opinions.

        Like 7
      • Grant

        Classic, didn’t need to. Had a hay mound and a beautiful farmers daughter. What more could I ask for?

        Like 5
      • Grant

        MoparMike, your could be a loser, maybe not. My comment was about boys who couldn’t find a better place to test their manhood. Now, did you try that in the van, or did you just haul items to the flea market for your Grandma like a good boy?

        Like 0
      • bone

        Grant wonders why he gets yelled at on this site, yet he calls people a loser for owning a custom van ( and its always a Mopar he comments on) , or irresponsible and stupid for wanting a Mopar with anything more than a 318 …..its not hard to see why he gets snide comments back !

        Like 0
  2. John

    Yeah known for rust .. at this age it might be “rust free” but replaced with 10 gallon of Bondo.
    Again this is a basic USED vehicle. Anything over 3k and you paid way too much. The rest will be needed for endless repairs

    Like 1
  3. Stan

    Is the 200 a Heavy 3/4 ton chasis.

    Like 5
    • Nelson C

      A 200 was more of a heavy half ton in pickup speak. You didn’t get the 8-lug wheels and full floating axle until you got to the 350 series.

      Like 6
      • Stan

        Thanks Nelson cheers 🍻

        Like 0
  4. bill tebbutt

    Had a 1974 with the 318, in 1982. It cost all of $1100 on the road, and was awful robin’s egg blue. Yet it towed my race car, served as the truck for my summer business, etc all the was through university.

    IIRC, it had a single barrel carb on it. Was decent on gas for its size, an surprisingly good in the snow – you could do these really big dougnuts!

    best
    bt

    Like 4
    • Marshall Belcher

      If Richard Pryor was still alive an seen this he would buy it pronto…

      Like 3
    • MoparMike

      That was actually a two barrel carb, they were just small.

      Like 4
  5. Classics Fan

    This brings back good memories of my late-teens youth. I had two ‘74 Dodge vans in the late ‘70’s, both black exteriors with nicely-done owner-customized interiors. First one was a long wheelbase B100 with a 360, headers and side pipes. A real runner! The second was a shorty B100 with a 318 and stock exhaust, not so much a runner but adequate and reliable. I can say my girlfriends’ fathers weren’t impressed with either of them!

    Like 3
  6. Nelson C

    My parents friends had one that was professionally customized. Called it their Sin Bin. Having five daughters I’m sure they knew what was what.

    Like 3
  7. T. Mann Member

    Like it, a lot.

    Like 3
  8. evrp99 Member

    Is it me or does it look like the distributor is on the back of the engine? Is this something for vans only? I seem to remember all the Chrysler V8’s having the distributor on the front of the engines.

    Like 2
    • Rick

      The big block V8s (361, 413, 426, 440) had their distributors at the front, but the smaller V8s (318, 340, 360) had them at the back.

      Like 5
  9. angliagt angliagt Member

    Like surfboards on a station wagon,the “MYSTERY MACHINE” logo
    seems to be used on every kind of van,even though (to me) the original
    appeared to be a ’60’s Econoline.

    Like 2
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Submitted here for your perusal is one man’s story of life with his 77 Dodge short wheelbase van.
    This man came upon this white over gold van parked in the backyard of his girlfriends parents house in Miami, Florida in the year 1985. It had no engine and there was a large hole cut out of the roof where an a/c unit had once occupied. The van was given to him if he wanted to take on the job of putting it back on the road. A 318 V8 engine was procured from a local salvage yard and installed while still sitting in the backyard. The van was licensed and used as a daily driver for sometime before being sent to a body shop to have the hole in the roof repaired and new paint applied. In reality it was hidden there to keep the now Ex-girlfriend from getting it.
    This is life of an ordinary man.

    God Bless America

    Like 2
  11. CATHOUSE

    For the author Mike Stephens you had better take a closer look at the seller’s photos as this van does have a pair of captains chairs up front.

    Like 0
  12. jwaltb

    Something looks off with the ride height to me, but maybe that’s the way they were. I had an A100 with a 273 long ago, and that was a good van.

    Like 0
  13. T. Mann Member

    Current bid:
    US $8,105.00
    Time left: 8h 48m|Today 06:21 PM

    Like 0

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