Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Rare Combo: 1984 Ford E-Series Half-Ton 351 CID V8 4×4

Here on eBay in a no reserve auction is a well-optioned half-ton 1984 Ford Econoline, bid to $6585 and located in Moreno Valley, California. While the Econoline was produced by the millions, this one is a cut above, with a 351 CID high output V8 in the engine bay and 4×4 underpinnings by TraTech (defunct since 1996). The first generation Econoline appeared in 1961, based on the Ford Falcon’s 90″ wheelbase; the short wheelbase meant the motor had to be placed mid-ship. Space constraints precluded using a V8, so the E-Series offered a choice of three inline six-cylinder engines. It competed against Volkwagon’s Transporter and Chevy’s Greenbrier. A V8 appeared in the van’s nose by 1968 when the wheelbase was stretched 15″.

The E-Series grew to truck proportions for its third generation, kicked off in 1978. No longer a shy violet, the new van required a much larger motor to heave the half-ton’s 4500 lbs down the road. A six-cylinder was still offered, but most buyers opted for one of many V8s. As noted, this van boasts a 351  H.O. V8, good for about 210 hp. A new Holley carb, a new fuel pump, and a new distributor cap and plugs have brought this van to life, but the seller notes that it’s cold-blooded on start-up. The automatic transmission and four-wheel drive work well. The odometer reads 63,000 miles but the AutoCheck report indicates it’s turned over once. Other than that, the report is clean.

The third-gen E-Series was designed with more interior room, taking cues from Ford’s F-Series trucks. This van’s interior is in decent condition – a bit worn but not objectionable. The driver’s window is off its track, and the seller reports that the air conditioning needs to be recharged. The cargo area is a blank slate. If you need ideas, loads of Mom & Pop companies specialize in redecorating that space. Mobile pet grooming? Coffee service? Or put that 4WD to use and use it for hunting trips. The possibilities are endless.

The body has a few dings, the paint isn’t perfect, and the rear bumper is dented. The driver’s front fender was replaced – the panel gap is sloppy and the repaint doesn’t match the rest of the vehicle, but the seller notes that rust is limited to a few areas of paint loss. If you hanker for an E-Series to make into your own, this is as good a prospect as any, but beware the 10-15 mpg rating on that engine. Later versions didn’t mark much improvement, though, so it’s a case of you play, you pay! I like the chrome bumpers, vintage stripes, and plentiful windows – what do you think?


  1. Avatar photo BA

    I think it’s a lot of van for the money its at now & wish it was on the right coast near me! This van has the right potential with its stance & options to be a good work & play rig .

    Like 10
  2. Avatar photo Stan

    Cool colors 😎

    Like 5
  3. Avatar photo HoA Member

    Not rare here in Loony Colorado. I kid, Colorado is still pretty cool for a dirt eatin’ farmboy from Wisconsin. Vintage 4×4 vans are actually quite popular here. Since rust isn’t a big deal, many old hippies know, these can be owned for life with minimal repair. Sadly, many are home, “down by the river”,,,

    Like 7
  4. Avatar photo mick

    Not being familiar with vans in general, I’m not really convinced of the reliability of an aftermarket added 4×4 system. Did they just cannibalize the front drivetrain from an F150? I understand how it could be made but, since the company that created it is no longer in existence, does that mean it would incur significantly more expense to keep it running than a factory 4×4 van?

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Big C

    There never were full size factory 4×4 vans produced, that I’m aware of. I had an Aerostar 4×4 from the factory, and I know Chevy also had a 4×4 mini van. Mine was based on the Explorer . And had full time 4×4. Which was hilarious when I took it to get E-Checked.

    Like 2
  6. Avatar photo MrBZ

    Cool write up. I sold TraTech Tiara’s based on ‘84-‘87 Chevy vans. No 4x4s, not sure if they were available or if this 4wd conversion was actually done by TT. Ours had Lexan windows, “…one of the base materials for bulletproof glass” we’d spout as we punched the lens to show its strength. Haven’t seen that TT name in a long time.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.