Hey Culligan Man! 1974 Ford E-100 Econoline

Hey Culligan Man! Those three words are ones that most of us have heard in our lifetime and it’s hard to find such a memorable catchphrase as that, and now you won’t be able to get those three words out of your head. This van is incredibly cool and it’s listed here on eBay in Hays, Kansas in a no reserve auction with a current bid price of just $860.

Just three words, that’s all, how important can they be? Hey Culligan Man! They’re important enough to have built a gigantic global juggernaut of water softening magic. This old YouTube video says it all. The company started in 1936 and the seller says that they “got this from the original family that started their business in this Ford” so I’m assuming they mean one of the many franchise owners. This van has been cooped up for the last four decades!

I think the seller has done a great job on the photos here. They show almost every angle and part of this van other than underside photos which would have been the piece de resistance. I like the dusty barn find-looking photos and then some are cleaned up but not too much. I drove an old Dodge former Sears delivery van for years but they took the logos off of it before I got it. I don’t know what the protocol is for driving a van with trademarked names and logos on them but maybe if a person doesn’t try to sell water softeners it might be ok?

The second-generation Ford E-Series Econoline vans came out as 1969 models and they were made until the 1974 model year. Their introduction was delayed due to a 1967 union strike and Ford decided to basically forego the 1968 model year and call them 1969 models which has to be a little unusual. You can see that the interior needs a little help but seats are easy enough to fix. This one has a three-speed manual transmission with a column shifter, that’s what my old Sears Dodge van had.

I wonder what the next owner will do with this van, keep it original or restore it back to original spec but without names and logos on it? A ’70s custom van maybe? It appears to be in pretty solid condition but there is some nagging rust to deal with, even on the floors and cab floor. The E-100 is a half-ton van which is more than enough for most of us to haul almost anything this side of filling the entire cargo area with conditioned water…

Is that blue overspray? I wonder if that’s original or touchups over the years. The engine decodes to being a Ford 240 cubic-inch inline-six so no 302 here. The seller says that it runs good and they had a gas tank made for it, it has new brakes, a new carb kit, and new fluids. It started right up after sitting for forty years! I would love to own this van, it would be a great vintage motorcycle hauler. Have any of you had a second-generation E-series van?


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  1. Howard A Member

    Hey Hays, “hey” being the key word here. “Hey Culligan, man”, images of a loud mouth housewife bellowing out those words,( to some hen pecked, lazy no-nothing husband, I’m sure was the implication) while we watched Green Acres,( or fill in any 60’s sitcom name) immediately come to mind. Later, due to opposition from certain groups, the housewife was toned down considerable. We never had “soft water”, I don’t think the old man trusted where it came from, or how it actually “softened the water”, much like his views on air conditioning. These vans were a staple of the suburbs, where hard water was an issue, and racked up a ton of miles. I believe the only glitch with leaving a name on, is it’s free advertising for that company, especially ones still in business. These vans, once retired, made excellent “chase vans”, for Harley groups. The “AMF” years were not the best, and there was always at least one in a group that had a problem. The 1984 “EVO” motors changed all that and put an end to the “chase van” needs.
    The van itself? Worst vehicle known to man, but, they had a special purpose, enclosed cargo hauling, and still useful today. Being a F series Ford truck underneath, can’t go wrong there, just don’t go too far.

    Like 8
    • Ike Onick

      Bah! Humbug! And a Happy Thanksgiving to you Ebeneezer.

      Like 6
      • Howard A Member

        Really? What part? I’m normally such a chipper person,,,holidays do nothing for me, I cringe until they are over.

        Like 2
    • Dusty Rider

      If it wasn’t for AMF, Harley would have died in the ’70s. They put the money into designing the Evo engine and belt drive.

      Like 9
    • Steve

      Not overspray. It’s the copper turning green

      Like 8
      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Thanks, Steve. I thought that there was blue to the left of that on the battery so that’s why I thought it was someone touching up that area with a spray can. Maybe it’s a reflection of blue light or something.

        Like 1
  2. Boatman Member

    Scotty, what you’re seeing on the radiator is corrosion on the brass surface (green).

    Like 3
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      I think you’re right, Boatman, thanks! What I see on the battery may be blue reflections.

  3. Mr. Breeze

    That 240 is a baby 300ci. 300 connecting rods and boom, instant 300. Haul whatever you want then.

    Like 1
  4. Ken Carney

    I think I could find a use for it here in sunny
    Florida. I’d use it every day and rent it out
    to Culligan as a promotional tool. And I
    wouldn’t even have to wrap it! Happy Thanksgiving all!

    Like 1
  5. steve

    The wipers work…..

    I wonder if the dark floor (rust?) is due to them storing the salt used in the water softeners on that side..

    Like 2
  6. Troy

    Under that paint its just a Ford van but what a blank canvas to start with I bet you could quadruple your investment by turning it into a surfer van

    Like 1
  7. Paul Hudson

    I had a 1969 E123 3/4 Ton Van for about 5 years. It had the 302 and Automatic. Mine was the window version. It was very tough. It was a unique and cool driving experience. I wish it was just the 1/2 version though. It had the 16.5″ tires which were hard to find. There were a lot of cooler wheel options on the 15″ too. Probably should have kept it.

    Like 1
  8. T. Mann Member

    The Ford 240/300 engine timing chain can not rattle.
    It is something else.

    Like 3
    • Mike Brown

      Absolutely right, the 240 and 300 were gear driven, not chain. I’d say it’s probably piston slap.

      Like 1
  9. T. Mann Member

    Another eBay EASY FIX…
    The seller’s mechanic told him: ” The motor has a slight whine, a mechanic told me it’s the timing chain and is common on these.”
    ALL Ford 240/300 inline 6 engines are gear to gear.
    Wikipedia, Ford straight-six engine
    “One example of the engine’s sturdy design is the fact that no timing chain or timing belt (both of which can break, causing unwanted downtime or even engine damage) is used. This generation of Ford Six was designed with long-wearing gears for that purpose instead. Also these engines employed 7 main bearings.”
    MAKE SURE they clean out the oil pan from the plastic cam gear parts! That will plug up the oil pickup screen and cause major problems!

    Like 1
  10. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this cool van sold for $4,712!

    Like 2
  11. Stevieg Member

    My Dad had a couple short wheel base E100’s while I was growing up, both 1969 model years. One was a 6 with 3 on the tree, the other was a 302 & automatic.
    The 6 cylinder one is in lake Michigan.
    My Dad, who hung out in San Francisco with a certain notorious motorcycle club out that way, had a run-in with some local Outlaws. The line of bikes in front of the bar was actually directly ahead of his parked van. He purposely nudged the first one (from what I understand, he slammed into it instead of nudging it) and they all fell like domino’s. He put the van in the lake after that so they wouldn’t find it.
    I don’t know how much of that is true, but I know how he felt about Outlaws, and one of his friends at his funeral told me that this was how he remembered the story too. Probably true.

  12. T. Mann Member

    Scotty Gilbertson, winner is a Zero score bidder who bid on it 14 times.
    Mix that with a seller who tells lies about the engine.
    eBay, isn’t it great…

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