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Rare “Van Up” Conversion: 1979 Dodge B300

We’ve seen a few Dodge van / pickup / hauler conversions over the years here at Barn Finds, but this is by far my favorite one. Although, unless I were hauling a fifth-wheel trailer, which is never going to happen, I’d never need a one-ton van or pickup. The seller has this 1979 Dodge B300 with a rare “Van Up” conversion listed here on eBay in Peyton, Colorado and they list a buy-it-now price of $5,500.

I grew up with second-generation Dodge vans, typically 1974 through 1977 models so this 1979 is “newer” than I would have been used to having. Downright luxurious, and this pickup bed conversion is about as cool as it gets in my world. All I can think about is hauling vintage motorcycles and other three/four-wheelers back there to vintage shows.

The details and quality of this conversion seem to be really nice. I’ve never heard of a “Van Up” conversion but one of you may have. There’s basically no information on the entire internet that I can find, even typing in Vanup. There are a couple of forums, but I was hoping for some sort of brochure or photos of one when it was new, or a dealer ad or something. The seller says this was a dealer conversion and they say it has very little rust. It sure looks good to me. This appears what I used to refer to as a Dodge Maxivan, the long wheelbase (127.6″) version. I had one for a cleaning company that I ran after high school and that extra space was great.

The front/cab interior looks surprisingly nice in this van. The seller gives possibly the best line in the history of vehicle sales when they say the “interior is dirty from sitting but doesn’t stink and will clean up good.” Power steering, power brakes, air-conditioning, and cruise control are things I could have only dreamed about in my rusty, beat-up 1974 Dodge Tradesman van a little more than four decades ago.

Sadly, there are no engine photos but this one has a big 440-cu.in. OHV V8, which wouldn’t have been an option, but that’s what the seller says it is. It’s said to run great and the van drives fine. The coolest part for me, other than converting the rear seating area to a little camper, is the hauling bed behind the rear seating area. There’s even a little door to access the back from the rear part of the interior, and are those two supports back there for a tonneau cover or some sort of cover? I love this thing, have any of you heard of a Van Up conversion?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo JustPassinThru

    Given the lack of rust, and bulletproof Dodge driveline…I’d say this is worth looking into.

    Although I’ll pass. I found all the truck I need, in a 25-year-old Toyota this last fall.

    Like 7
  2. Avatar photo HoA Member

    Already gone, but someone sure had a vision of the future. Just about every car maker offers a pickup box of some sort today. As mentioned, nothing comes up under “VanUp”, but “Dodge Van/Pickup” brings up a lot of images. It seems, most of these vehicles are the result of some very skilled people, and most are for a 5th wheel trailer, and all home made. I think it’s neat, in that, it covers a lot of bases here. 4 people, pulling a trailer of toys or boat/camper, and room for gear, all in a bulletproof Dodge van. Apparently, you’ve got to be quick with this stuff.
    I’d also at this time, like to thank the writers again, they do a lot of research for us to skim over or not read at all.
    Also, to the chief, cook, and bottle washer, Jesse, whose tireless efforts have seemed to correct the problem affecting comment recognition( I hope), until the next scammer comes along, that is, the sites a hummin’ again like a well tuned British motor. Hey, they put up with me, and that should tell you something,, :)

    Like 14
  3. Avatar photo John S.

    It looks like the conversation company’s badge is on the upper left corner of the tail gate. The photos aren’t quite clear enough for me to read what it says. The “VAN UP” graphic kinda rings a bell for me – I believe it may be a parts store / K-Mart accessory from the late-70’s van culture hay day.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Hans H

      Looks like “Commodore” was either the dealer or conversion company. Neat van.

      Like 5
  4. Avatar photo BA

    I can see taking this to the beach with lounge chairs in the bed hung over from Friday night with the pass thru door used to trade places & get umm road pops handed to thirsty passengers ! What a party wagon ! Too bad it’s gone! 440 with add on stacks like a little red wagon oh boy!

    Like 7
  5. Avatar photo Bob P

    The rear axle is to far forward to be a 5th hauler, possibly a goose neck trailer. The 5th wheel trailer’s front corners will hit the back of the cab in a tight turn. There’s to much bed behind the axle for a 5th wheel.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Greg Gustafson

      As a Hualer, it would be hard to load the bed of this truck that you wouldn’t end up with the majority of the loads weight behind the rear axle. This could make driving this loaded exciting at best. I’ve had three Dodge vans (2 of which were Maxi Vans plus a 79 Dodge van Class C 23’ motorhome. The MH had a 440 V8 that on a good day got 6MPG. I had often thought of the possibilities of converting one of my Maxi vans into a similar configuration.

      Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Nelson C

    These must have been something to sell in their day. Probably to the horse crowd. At one time we sold a 250 series van with 4-place seating and a partition called a Halfback. The rear portion was for dirt bike, etc. Cool to see one of these in one piece.

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo James Martin

    The 440 was avalable! I had one in an 80 transvan. Couldn’t get parts for the motor unless you went back to 77. Because dodge stopped putting the 440 in the pickups and campers in 77. So this could have had a 440 from the factory!

    Like 4
  8. Avatar photo Sherm

    Hopefully very rare – I’m a Dodge guy, but that is hard on the eyes (to be polite).

    Like 3
  9. Avatar photo Dan

    Not much for me to add here except that this is the first Dodge “van pickup” I’ve seen; the only other ones I’ve seen are Fords from 1983-2014. This one looks fairly solid but the lack of a real description of the engine would have been a deal breaker for me.

    Like 2
  10. Avatar photo Jeff

    Great vehicle! Best concept ever!

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo St.Michael

    Put a dualie rear under it with a G.V overdrive in use it as a 5th wheel camper tractor

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo Reid Newton

    It’s called a dreamer Dodge dreamer I had one.

    Like 0

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