Ride The Nautilus: 1976 Dodge Show Van

Some vehicles don’t need much of an introduction, and I suspect if you’ve ever been into the vanning culture in any form, you’ll know the name Nautilus. This is 1976 Dodge van that’s a celebrated member of the custom van community and has been painstakingly restored back to its original form after being found in decrepit condition years ago. It’s now listed here on eBay with a $48,000 asking price and the option to submit a best offer.

Details are scarce in the listing itself, but if you want an education, check out the details at HotRodHarrys.com. Lots of good information there about the Nautilus and its path from show van to wreck to back to being a show van. The steeply raked roof, clamshell hood, gullwing doors, and custom roof-mounted windows are just a sampling of the custom touches integrated into this Dodge, along with other details like the molded fender flares and side pipes.

Custom taillights, shaved door handles, and the obviously wicked paint job are more details that set the Nautilus apart from other show vans of the 70s. It graced magazine cover after magazine cover and was a celebrity at vanning meets. Despite this, it still ended up becoming someone’s throwaway project at some point, and the Nautilus was discovered stripped of its iconic paint job and generally looking like a sad state of affairs in Florida.

Fortunately, the individual who discovered the Nautilus had been looking for this show van for a long time and had no desire to flip it for a quick buck. Instead, they put in the work to fix the rust, re-do the paint, re-create the custom interior, and generally bring the Nautilus back to life. It’s hard to be sure whether that owner is the seller, but regardless, kudos to the entire vanning community for documenting and keeping this van alive.

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Comments

  1. Bluetec320 Member

    Ground Control to Major Tom
    Commencing countdown,, engines on
    Check ignition and may god’s love be with you

    4
  2. TCOPPS Member

    With no real honest pictures or a real description, is the seller really trying to sell it?

    3
    • James Martin

      Where is the pics of the shag? Cant sell a shaggin wagon with pics of the shag

    • theGasHole

      I’m thinking he’s not. This might be the worst Ebay listing I’ve ever seen (and that’s saying a lot). Heck some of the pics are pics of pics! And one random pic of a Kawasaki for some reason. And it didn’t sell….shockingly.

      1
      • HotRodHarry

        It did sell on eBay..look again…I actually helped him sell it because I owned it before and I am mentioned in the article here …tons of people reached out to me..lol..so being a good person….I answered a lot of question from people and sent them links to my page … HotRodHarry.com is me and I have tons of photos and videos. Its on its way to Tennessee now

  3. NotSure Member

    At what point did a highly customized van become a beater only to be found later and then restored?

    1
    • Dukecrev

      This happens all the time. And not just with 1970s vans but far more valuable and rare cars. That’s kinda why this entire site exists.

      2
    • Daved

      Just ask Wild Cherry 🍒

  4. TimS Member

    Looks like the thumbnail for one of those clickbait things. “See the most custom vans of time. #3 is incredibly.”

    1
    • steve

      I’m the owner of Nautilus and am the one who has it for sale on Ebay.. No click bait.. Real vanners and automotive junkies know this van as she speaks for herself….

      2
      • Joe

        Steve are you in Pennsylvania?

  5. michael h streuly

    I have never heard of this van ever. The only 2 famous vans that i know of where the California blues and blues 2. Both where built in sherman oaks California. I lived down the street from the builders of said vans.

    1
    • BajaCharlie

      Seriously how have you only heard of 2 no name vans have you lived under a rock! You’ve never heard of Old Glory?!? Or the Iron Butterfly or Yosemite Sam or the Kolor Me KUSTOM the House of Kolors van or My Harem??

  6. Bufcle

    Saw this van back in the early 80’s at a Euclid Square Mall car show. It blew my little kid mind. Different paint job back then but still an icon of the custom van scene.

    1
  7. Dave

    It needs small red line tires in front, and red line slicks out back for that Hot Wheels look.

    1
  8. HotRodHarry

    Whoever ends up with this van will be happy! Such a beautiful van! Thanks for the plug Barn Finds to my http://www.HotRodHarrys.com page. Here is a direct link to Nautilus http://www.hotrodharrys.com/cars/showarticle.php?articleID=100

    2
  9. LARRY

    Gorgeous van..why no interior shots?

    1
    • HotRodHarry

      Look at the link above to go to that I posted..lots of photos

      1
  10. Joe Haska

    I am not so sure this is the real deal 70’s van. All those pictures on Hot Rod Harry’s and not ONE with a swimsuit model! Are you kidding me

    2
  11. rustylink

    That “slit” that constitutes an windshield would drive me crazy. I realize its a show vehicle and not a driver and bear in mind I am old…

  12. R Reagan

    Not one interior pic.

    1
  13. Jubjub

    Love the paint and lower body mods, but that damned chopped top is for somebody else. Trimmed out right with subtle mods, this era of Dodge van looked great. Most custom jobs just look awkward compared to the factory 71-73 grille and bumper.

  14. Patrick Farmer

    Hot Rod Magazine responded to a letter as to why they didn’t feature custom vans anymore. The response was as follows, ” We extensively covered custom vans and we lost 50% of our readership.” Editor. Says it all. This van has a amazing amount of work done to it. It is a candidate for a Hot Wheels car.

    2
  15. TONY MILO

    Had a 93 Pontiac Trans Sport..Did a lot of road trips..Always took it to the all GM nationals in Carlisle Pa.Couple trips to Va etc.

    1
  16. BigDoc

    Gorgeous Van oh it takes me back to the great old days.

  17. Johnmloghry

    In a land far away (Miami, Florida) I once owned a 77 Dodge short wheelbase van. It was given to me minus the 318 engine. I sourced another engine and got that beast running and drove it for a couple years.
    Now to this one; I just don’t like the rake they put on the roof, but that’s just me. But it does make me think about customs. I was watching an old rerun of Perry Mason when I saw a custom car. When I saw a front view I knew it was a Riviera, so I looked it up, turns out it was a George Barris custom called “Villa Riviera Buick”. It also has a very interesting history.
    God bless America

    1
  18. John C.

    THAT’S the van Mr. T should of had on The A Team show! Nice!

  19. ODee

    Already sold. Saw the new owner posting on another page yesterday, he’s completely ecstatic!

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