Ready to Camp: 1961 Ford E-Series

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So, let’s talk about vans: they are not the best handlers in stock form, nor are they always the most stylish things on four wheels. But they do offer a good deal of function, and some of the older ones even possess a unique sense of style. This ’61 Ford E-Series window van here on eBay is just a few built-ins away from becoming a wicked camping rig, and the Buy-It-Now is a mere $2,600. 

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This van is a recent barn find and not currently running, but it looks like a great foundation for a camper conversion. The fold-out table is the closest thing you’ll find to a touch of home on the inside, but fortunately, it looks clean enough to become makeshift living quarters. It looks to be missing a passenger front seat and the seller notes that some trim items are incorrect, like the steering wheel and shifter.

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Despite being stored in Michigan, rust is scarce and the van is largely corrosion-free. The paint even looks original, with matching turquoise hues in the door jambs and inside the doors themselves. The glass is also complete, which is a helpful time and money saver on a well-glassed example like this one. If the mileage claim of just over 60K is accurate, it could help explain why this E-Series remains in such solid shape.

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I may be coming into ownership of a van project of my own, which appeals to me on two levels: as a parts hauler and as a beach cruiser / kayak carrier in the warmer months. I hope to update you all soon on my purchase, but in the meantime, how would you restore this one? Would you trick it out with a bed and kitchenette, or keep it clutter-free and just use it for stylish hauling duties?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Birdman

    “I’m going up the country, babe, don’t you wanna go?………”

  2. Mike

    My Parents belong to a Camping Club back in the 70’s and of course Dad was always an Airstream person, there was a couple by the name Tim & Alice Kiger they had one of these that was a camping van, Tim built everything in it and when ever the group would head to Tablerock or Bull Shoals, or even Clearwater there Tim and Alice would be in the van with the 3 girls. As a kid the oldest Daughter Susan always told people she hated me, probably because I was 3 years older than her and always picked on her, but my Senior year, her freshman, in High School she stopped hating me and dating me, and we got married in 1985. I always said if it had not been for the Camping Van we would have never gotten together.
    These old vans were fun to tune up, they were hot during the summer but you stayed warm during the winter because your best heat source was right next to you.
    Dad owned a couple of the GM vans that he would use as shop trucks, I always liked driving them, but you never slammed on the brakes on them because sometimes they would lift the rear tires off the ground on you, even though we would do it on purpose to show off!!!!.

  3. Don

    Cooler than any VW bus / dont care howmany windows it has .give me a red check

  4. JW

    I had one of these in dark green, burned more oil than gas but was a great party wagon at the drive-in for me and my teenager buddies.

    • Chebby

      Actually the more I look at this one, the more I like it. Pinstripes!

  5. daCabbie

    So much potential….

  6. Loco Mikado

    I wish they would have shown a picture of the transmission. It would be a real find if it had an English Dagenham 4 speed that some 65-66 6 cyl. Mustangs were equipped with. A friend of mine had one in his early 60’s Econoline with the factory column shift.. We rebuilt the engine and four of us lifted it out from inside and out the side door. Easy vehicle to work on.

  7. guggie

    dad got rid of a 23 window Vw van for one of these , used it for years never regretted the switch !!

  8. Rick

    Back in ’72 a buddy of mine had one of these (except w/o windows, think it was a ’62) anyhow it had a 6 cyl w/ column shifted 4 speed, came that way stock with the Dagenham transmission, similar setup was used in early Falcon passenger cars, except with a floor shifter of course.

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