Rarely This Nice: 1991 Ford Aerostar 4WD

Workhorses are vital to any gearhead’s personal fleet, a vehicle that can be relied upon when the other more finicky projects are under the knife. The Ford Aerostar is an excellent example of such a vehicle, but they rarely appear for sale in anything other than beater-ific condition. Thankfully, this example here on eBay is well preserved and sports the van’s rarely seen electronic four-wheel drive system. The seller has listed it for $6,900 with the option to submit a best offer. 

Aerodynamic and sexy these were not, and it’s hard to imagine the designers thought this could compete with the gorgeous-by-comparison Dodge Caravan. The Aerostar was sort of the uncool dad’s choice among family haulers, but that didn’t stop them from being put through all sorts of glorious abuse as a truckster. This one sports clean bodywork, tinted glass, original steel wheels and blacked-out bumpers that retain a healthy sheen.

Inside, plenty of space could be found with two rows of seats. The vinyl on these benches is in impressive condition no matter the mileage, as they’re usually beaten to death by reckless feet and copious cargo. Space between the benches appears generous, and the seller notes it’s a true seven passenger vehicle with the added bonus of being easy to park. A new ABS control module has been installed and the Aerostar is said to run and stop well, with power supplied by the 4.0L V6.

Fun fact: these could be optioned with a manual transmission, that if memory serves, has one of the tallest gear shift levers not found in a commercial vehicle. The dash shows no cracks and the steering wheel is in very nice shape. These have effectively disappeared from the roads to the point they can be considered obscure, and finding one with a V6 / 4WD combo in such nice shape is likely unrepeatable in the near term.

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Comments

  1. Miguel

    I always hated the stationary passenger seat.

  2. Veloce33

    These were horrible to replace spark plugs on, especially the 4.0 liter.

    Like 1
    • RichS

      Try changing an intake manifold on one. I still have the scars (physical and mental)

      • Dan

        Try replacing a freeze plugs on one of these without taking the engine out or jacking the car up…..

  3. Todd Zuercher

    The ‘dust buster’ van! Once so ubiquitous on America’s roads and now it’s rare to see one, even here in AZ where they haven’t rusted to bits.

  4. Paul Hudson

    Had one as a company vehicle in the late 80’s Early 90’s was a very nice driving truck. Very handy size. It had the rear barn doors. I remember the hood and rear doors were fiberglass or some kind of plastic rosin. I drove into Washington DC and Baltimore and up and down the east coast. Ours has the 3 Liter Vulcan engine.It had good power. It was pretty reliable.

    • whippeteer

      I had the hatch, but my hood was steel..

  5. Oingo

    Fred Flintstone crude even when new, 14/19/16 mpg rating and being the short wagon? as indicated by overhang, low rent interior and option makes a short tripper for cargo I would not put my family in a vehicle of this vintage due to the lack of safety features, nhtsa doesn’t even have a rating for it.

  6. Panda

    My dad had one of the manual ones in the mid 90s. Was otherwise loaded. I clicked into this and read it even though I should be asleep because I wondered if it was a manual one.

  7. Red'sResto

    My middle school basketball coach had one of these in white. He loved to close the sliding door by accelerating and then braking hard. Those of us in the back (especially the kid on the right in the middle seat) had to make sure our hands and feet weren’t in the way. I cringe rembering that loud bang as the door slammed close next to me once!

  8. Howard A Member

    Now hold on a sec, Jeff, I had an Aerostar, and I liked the styling, better than the Chrysler, and it was a great vehicle. Took my ex-wife’s abuse with stride. It was a 2 wheel drive, and quite frankly, with a sandbag or 2, and Firestone “Town and Country’s”, it went through the snow fine. I never really liked any front-wheel drive vehicle, and my Aerostar had the conventional rear wheel drive layout. Not sure the 4wd is really necessary. My old man had one too, took it to Florida couple times, I’d have to say, aside from the pickups, it was one of the nicest Ford’s I had. Great heater, miserable to work on, but I don’t really remember having to do much to it, unlike the Chrysler mini-van, where I replaced almost everything. Rust eventually claimed it, but it was a great van.

    • King Al

      Agree. Had a friend that had one and it got a lot of use and abuse. Until I saw this ad, I had completely forgotten about these. They have vanished from the road.

      • Miguel

        Unfortunately they all ended up in Mexico. I don’t have the luxury of not seeing these.

      • boxdin

        Here in abq we had mexican buyers looking for astros in our CL for a long time.

  9. Wolfgang Gullich

    There are tons of these still surviving up here in Alaska… Seriously, not a day goes by where I don’t see at least 2 or 3 and they’re usually the AWD version. Course, they’re not this nice

  10. Leon

    The plastic bumpers would disentigrate all the time

  11. Reid Hall

    Great Van for a snagging wagon,or better yet how about racecar conversation with a Corvette Engine .

  12. Todd Rouch

    My Step-Dad, was a car salesman or Manager and even the finance guy, somewhere most of my life. Lol, he worked at a dealership in Fredericksburg Tx, when these first came out. I remember a real pretty, highly optioned 5-speed manual transmission one of these as his “demo” for a couple of weeks. He said, “It’s a fun mini-van to drive, but only the standard tranny version.” Lol hahahaha

  13. Sukey

    I once spent hours changing the plugs on my 95 Aerostar 4.0 xlt
    Then a few months later while rotating the tires I looked into the wheel well and saw all of the plugs on one side and then the other 😎

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Sukey, mine was an older model, 3.0(?) but that’s how I got the plugs out, from underneath.

  14. Ensign Pulver

    I bought a 1993 XLT Extended new in Caymen green when we were having our first child (it was the thing to do….selling my VW Vanagon synchro). It lasted 8 years and 5 kids and sold it for my 2001 VW Eurovan in Teckno blue…that I still have this time!!

  15. whippeteer

    It wasn’t the competition for the minivan, it was a mid sized van. The competition was the Astro/Safari. They actually had decent road manners and dealt well with the snow in upstate NY. Mine had the 3.0 with a 3.73 rear.

  16. Jay E.

    I had a clean one ( not as nice as this though), it needed ahead gasket. Had it on craigs list for $500.00 and didn’t get even one offer. Finally gave up and sent it to the crusher and was amazed how heavy it was. I think it was over 2 tons. I guess they aren’t worth much if they are not running.

  17. Mike H.

    You just ‘Jumped The Shark’ with this mini van post.

    • Dan

      This van did seem to be stretching the “dirty old cars” vibe of this site.

  18. Serguey

    Hi guys, I have a 1990 Ford Aerostar XLT extended, but I need to know where I can buy the rear bumper?

  19. Rodney

    Really? 26 comments on 1990’s minivan? (now 27) Feels like “slow day” in car world.

  20. Bill hendricks

    I bought an used 87 and drove it five years went everywhere fl Virginia D.C. Min wi Ohio than in 95 bought a94 ext version had it fourteen years no trouble had 252000 miles on it never did anything to Motor or trans reg maintenance best van ford ever made now have f
    95 Ford taurs 2000 ford ranger and a 95 ford handicap van won’t by any thing else but a ford by the way all three have over 160000 miles

  21. Tim

    Up here in canada there was a recall on them for the rear axle rusting through and the end would break while driving. My wife works at a dealership and they were condeming them when you came in for service. Go for an oil change and get told you vehicle was unsafe, here is a loaner or turned into a rental at Ford’ s dime. Then they all went to crusher. Said there was no replacement because company that made them went out of business.

    • boxdin

      The Aerostar used the mustang rear end down to the coil spgs and 5 locating arms. Mustang rear ends are bad?

    • Greg

      That was Ford Windstar, not the aerostar!!! Currently own a Rust Free, ’97 aerostar, have owned 5 others!! Great van for a traveling, have a 2wd, with snow tires, will go almost anywhere. Had one And, amazing up here in northern Michigan.

      Like 1
  22. Gay Car Nut

    I remember the Ford Aerostar. No-one in my family owned one. Around the time of its introduction, I found it more attractive than the Chevy Astro. The Astro, while versatile, was more utilitarian in appearance than the Aerostar. Today, now that both have been off the market for some time, I find them both attractive, more attractive than today’s SUVs and “crossover” vehicles. I’d buy either van any day.

    • Miguel

      The 4.3L engine the Astro had was 1000 times better than either the 3.0 or the 4.0 from Ford. Plus the Astro drove much better as it was on an actual truck chassis.

      There were too many negatives about this design to warrant money being spent on a used one, which is what this one is, just a used van.

      • Paul Hudson

        The Aerostar was based on the Ranger chassis which was a body on frame truck Chassis. My experience was very positive. The 3.0 and 4.0 Ford engines are great engines and have powered many different Fords including millions of Rangers and Tauruses.

  23. chad

    no good reports for the motor: not good on gas, not durable…

    • Miguel

      I bought a new Ford Ranger with the 4.0. It burned oil from day one. It burned about a quart every 1000 miles.

      The dealer actually told me that is normal for that engine, so they would not fix it.

      I traded that truck for a 1993 GMC extra cab 2WD and loved it. No oil burning.

  24. 71MKIV

    Just gave ours away. 231000 miles, 3.0 L engine. Still going. Bought it with 91000. If you could keep the sills from rusting, didn’t tow with it, and religiousLy changed the transmission fluid with synthetic, it would go forever. Nice highway vehicle. No storage room unless you had the extended version. Plugs are a PITA, but not impossible if you remembered to use antisieze on the egr piping. The 4.0 got horrible gas mileage. The 3.0 was only marginally better.

  25. angliagt

    We had a ’93 2WD,extended van,with the 4.0 engine.
    We loved it! I even towed our ’74 TR6 with it.
    There’s an extended 4WD one for sale here,looks to
    be in great shape,for $3600.
    I always thought that the 4WD only came on the extended
    ones.

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