Never This Nice: 1997 Ford Aerostar

For any of you following the rise in popularity of 1980s and 1990s vehicles, you may have noticed an increase in Facebook groups that track these “rad”-era cars and trucks. As such, some once unloved models are finding favor among enthusiasts who are letting nostalgia guide their wallets. The Ford Aerostar is a terrific example of this, as I wouldn’t have wanted to been caught dead getting dropped off in one in high school. Now? I wouldn’t mind owning a clean Eddie Bauer edition if you could even find one. This 1997 Aerostar listed here on OfferUp is in incredible condition and offered for just $6,500.

Thanks to eagle-eyed Barn Finds reader Oscar who flagged this terrific find. I honestly forget to check OfferUp most of the time for interesting vehicles, and given this low-mileage Aerostar hasn’t sold yet, I’m guessing most other enthusiasts have overlooked it as well. The seller claims there’s just 60K on the clock, and as a ’97, this has to be one of the last ones built. The condition is truly excellent with clean, unmarked body panels and no signs of rust or rot. It’s in Nuevo, California, so it’s very likely rust-free.

There’s no one reason why I think an Aerostar is a neat find other than it was the individual’s choice if you were shopping minivans in the 90s, and most families opted for the Dodge Caravan. So, smaller supply to begin combined with the general throwaway nature of minivans makes it very unlikely to find one in any condition, much less survivor-grade condition like this one. The interior is super clean, and given how most minivans are used, it’s by no means a foregone conclusion that even a low-mileage one will look this good inside.

The seller claims he purchased this clean Aerostar from his aunt, but his wife apparently doesn’t like driving it (or being seen in it). He’s put some money into it in the form of a tint job and new pulleys, tie rods, shocks, and belts. The air conditioning still works, and if you’re an enthusiast with some little ones or some gear to haul around, this makes way more sense than plunking down $5oK (or better) for a new or even gently-used minivan. As the saying goes, find a better one – but if you find an Eddie Bauer in better shape, let me know.

Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Wrong!

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      What, Mike, we need more info,,,

      Like 2
      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        Hi Howard, I hope all is well out there. I opened this expecting to see something like a coyote swap in a mini van. Maaaaybe an Eddie Bauer van. Just not seeing the BF connection here. Take care Buddy, Mike.

        Like 3
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    We had a ’93 extended Aerostar,& we loved it!
    It was a really good family hauler,& I even towed our
    Triumph TR6 behind it.I had the transmission serviced,
    so we never had a problem with it.
    We bought it when it was about two years old for $13,500,
    which is the most I’ve ever paid for a vehicle.We finally
    sold it after our kids left home,as we rarely drove it.We got
    about $2,500 for it.
    It’s funny,but around here in Roanoke,VA,I still see
    a lot of them driving around.

    Like 8
  3. alphasud Member

    These were never a favorite among the technician crowd. Need to pull the dash to do HVAC repairs? That windshield has to come out. I know any trim and body part needed you are SOL as they stopped supporting these ages ago. They always reminded me of a anteater with that pointy nose. The Astrovan was leaps and bounds ahead of these vehicles.

    Like 3
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    We had a 1990. Pretty much a high-end model for its day. Extended length, all wheel drive; plus it was a “conversion van.” The interior re-work was actually pretty good, and it had a very sharp silver/gray/black paint scheme. Add the white letter tires and aftermarket wheels, it was quite the looker (in the context of minivans, I realize). It did its job fine.

    Another example of… nice to see a bread and butter vehicle in good shape. And I agree Jeff, the Eddie Bauer models were very attractively trimmed.

    Like 15
  5. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I feel like I’m 40 again.

    Like 8
  6. Howard A Member

    Being a “family” vehicle, the smell of vomit is strong with this one. Put me in the “loved them” crowd, it was one of the few vehicles that withstood the abuse of my ex-wife, mostly because, it was no K car, underneath it was all business. Ford F series guts, made this, as far as I’m concerned, the best mini-van to come down the pike. They were hard to work on, with no “dog house” to speak of, most repairs were done from underneath, but rarely needed. I didn’t care for Fords V6, in any application, but the van itself, rode great, quiet, dynamite heater/AC, good mileage, handled better than FWD counterparts, so popular, just try and find another good one, ours rusted terribly. Some folks even living in them out here, and that’s pretty sad. Great find, and home for the next displaced homeless person,,,,I kid you not. And in America, people living in vans, pixx poor!

    Like 6
    • Dusty Rider

      33 days…

  7. Todd Zuercher

    I’ll admit I have a soft spot for them. The Ranger/explorer wheels really dress this one up too.

    Like 5
  8. Dan

    Saw one in the wild a few weeks ago, in southern Colorado, in a town near the Pike National Forest. They’re rare to see at all in my neck of the woods (Milwaukee area), where I suspect the tin worm has sent most of them to their final reward. If I had a place to keep even half of the cars I’ve wanted to buy that have come across BF, I’d give this one a home for nostalgia’s sake.

    Like 3
  9. Tim

    Had a ’90 Aerostar XL. Kids called it the “Rumble Wagon” as it seemed every part rattled going over the slightest of bumps. AC wasn’t adequate for back passengers and the little 3.0 V6 struggled to get out its own way. But, we loved that little van and it lasted 15 years before my son took it out hitting a parked Izuzu Rodeo head on. The Fiberglass hood and plastic front end was no match for the solid steel brush guard on that Rodeo. Gave it to Purple Heart Charity to use as a parts car. Was told they were able to get one running using parts from ours and gave it to a needy family.

    Like 8
  10. Moncton(was Winnipeg)carnut Member

    The catering company I worked for in the 90’s had two of these. As previously mentioned, the regular length one with the 3.0 could barely get out of it’s own way when loaded. However, the extended one with the 3.8 was one tough machine.
    When the small one died/lease ended it was replaced with a GMC Safari, which was far superior. GM’s 4.3 legendary motor could haul way more than we could stuff into that van.
    Worst vehicle we had…for some reason the boss leased a Windstar once. Puked the insides of the trans when empty on a slight hill in the city. Piece of junk.

    Like 1
    • Joe

      Extended one had the 4.0 liter not a 3.8. That was used in their car lineup

      Like 4
  11. Houndawg

    Had an AWD one of these that the wife hauled the kids in for years. We live in the snow belt and that thing was a tank. Nothing stopped it, hit rid of it with 300k on the clock.

    Like 5
  12. Autoworker

    We built the 3.0 engine at the Lima Engine Plant. Owned a ‘93 model that was the Mommy wagon when our kids were young. American Racing “Indy” wheels and BF Goodrich tires gave it a sporty look. Sold it to buy a ‘98 Explorer.

    Like 4
  13. John

    You’d really have to have some strange automotive fetish to bite on this one.

    Like 1
  14. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I always heard these often had weak transmissions, but never owned one.

    Like 1
    • Mark C

      I can’t speak for the later models like this one. But my parents bought one brand new in ’86, and it seemed to need a new transmission constantly. It needed 2 of them while still under warranty. The 3.0 V6 was never trouble, however, and they eventually put 200k on it.

      Like 1
  15. MitchRoss Member

    The Aerostar never came with the 3.8 engine. The concurrent Windstar did. The Aerostar had the Cologne 2.8 which was replaced by the Lima 3.0, the most reliable of the Ford V6s and later the 4.0 which was based on the cologne 2.8. the engine you want to drop in your Capri if you can find one.

    Like 3
  16. nlpnt

    I’d forgotten the cheapened-out taillights!

    I remember the Aerostar having amber rear turn signals but those were dropped a year or two before the end.

    Like 1
  17. Big C

    The Aerostar had a 4.0 liter V-6 option. We had a ’93 With the full time AWD. Extended legnth, cranberry and grey metallic. In bad weather, you couldn’t stop it. But, the gas milage suffered. Got worse mpg than my ’74 V-8 Econoline.

    Like 1
  18. Joe

    This is not a Eddie Bauer, it is a XLT.

    Like 1
    • Todd Zuercher

      Correct. I don’t see anyone claiming it’s an Eddie Bauer – just that they’d like to have an Eddie Bauer version.

      Like 3
  19. Troy

    My granddaughter is about to give birth to her first child and has been talking about getting a suv, wonder if she would disowne me if I tried to give her this 🙄

    Like 1
  20. Steve H

    These and Tempo’s bumpers cracked and fell apart in the Florida sun. If you got 7 years before cracking, you were doing good! They did actually drive nice and with the dual A/C would freeze you out. After so many years we saw a lot with 2X6 & 2X8 bumpers! Had window motor issues also.

  21. don r whitney

    super bad for the electric fuel pumps, I know as my friend found out 3 in two years, could not compete with the Chrys, mini vans

  22. chrlsful

    love the Lima motor altho a 2.5 ton behemoth like this? if having w/o turbo? no. The 2 colognes (2.8/4.0) nah. 5 speed autos (or mannie) double thumbs up.

    I’d rather the windstar’s last few yrs asa Freestar/Monterey w/essix 4.2/FWD/4f50n (replace w/4r70w) as a replacement for the ’60s-’03/’25 vans with the chassy needing to be as ‘truck like’ as they can (even if monocoque construction). In fact that may B the legacy – ‘mini vans’ were usa’s transition between the 13 pass style van (not step van) and today’s more european type van transit, sprinter, etc) more step-van-like.
    My best is the pre mini’s tho. Similar to the eagle summit, the Mutsu, stanza, etc before the mini van explosion. A nice practical small box. (Honda real time, tercell waggy, colt vista waggy, even the later mazda 6).

    Like 1
  23. Greg Gustafson

    Other than it’s looks, and being a mechanic, the access to (or lack of it ) to the engine was a major turn off to me.

    Like 1
  24. Patrick Anderson

    Wow! tha;s the biggest Dustbuster I ever saw!

    Like 1
  25. Patrick Anderson

    Wow! That’s the biggest Dustbuster I ever saw!

    • FenderUnbender

      Here, I corrected it for you:

      Wow! That’s the biggest Turd I ever saw!

      Like 1
      • Oregonman

        I’ll correct it one further.
        “that’s the biggest turd that I have ever seen.”

  26. Glenn Schwass Member

    We had one at work. It was ok unless it was raining, then the ass end was too light and slippery.
    In snow, it was useless.

  27. Engident

    $6500?? For an *Aerostar*?!?!?
    We learned in engineering school that when the Aerostar first came out, Ford had to add weight to the steering wheel to dampen the intense engine vibration translating up the column.

  28. Bob-O

    I have a friend who worked for Ford – he was involved with the Ranger program – and he had one of these vans with a 5-speed manual transmission. His was dark green with a tan interior and I saw one exactly like it at a cars & coffee a few months back. Since my friend moved to Arizona, I’m guessing the van I saw could have been his van but with a new owner. It’s the only 5-speed Aerostar that I’ve ever seen.

    • TouringFordor

      I also had one with a five speed manual. Really liked it, and never had any trouble with it. Sold it to finance my ex-wife’s college tuition.

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