Shag Wagon: 1976 Dodge Tradesman Van

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This is the groovest ride I’ve seen in quite awhile. Owning it would show the world how serious you are about the 1970s. With this van? Very serious, indeed. It’s located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and can be found here on eBay, and the Buy-It-Now price is $16,995.

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The Chrysler Corporation called this a “Tradesman” van. The idea that was implied was that it would be great for those men and women who earned a living by plying a trade with their hands, presumably by doing “real work”. They weren’t referring to work that may have taken place on the van itself, but as you’ll see, a lot of hard work has taken place inside this one. For now, let’s leave it unsaid exactly what kind of work that was.

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As I said, it takes the ’70s very seriously, and a quick look around the outside will bear that out.

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On top of beautiful bright orange paint, we’ve got black and white pin-striping, done the old-school way, by hand, probably with a long “squirrel tail” brush, specifically made for the purpose.

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I don’t care who you are, that’s art right there. Clean and beautiful, the pin-striper must have spent many hours on this vehicle. But the back-to-the-seventies detail doesn’t stop there. Nope, we’re just getting started.

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How about this tear drop shaped side window? Can you dig it? I knew that you could. Yeah, baby.

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Chrome side pipes? Yeah, I thought so. Has anyone seen my wide collar polyester shirt? I saved the best part for last. Are you ready to take a look inside? I hope you’re sitting down. Because this is ’70s like you mean it.

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You can see where this is headed. It makes me wonder what I’ve been doing with my life. Other people have been working and creating stuff like this, and I’ve been….doing whatever it is I do.

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Step into my parlor. Not only is there calico shag inside (more on that later), there are two-tone, tall back bucket seats, on swivels! Righteous.

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This is the part where the needle scratches across the record though, because I see a couple of minor problems here. I was instantly snapped out of my reverie when I laid eyes on the CD player. Come on, man, where’s the 8-track? I guess this is one error I can overlook, because the Eagles, Rush, Boston, Creedence, all the ’70s greats are all available on CD. My 8-track tapes are all worn out anyway. The modern steering wheel also looks a little out of place. With the factory A/C, I’m feeling even more cool than normal.

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And while we’re on the subject of way-cool, this conveyance is said to have logged a mere 44,000 miles since new.

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You’ve had enough time to prepare. It’s time to dive in to the mile-deep calico shag carpeting. If this doesn’t say 1970s shag-wagon to you, I can’t help.

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Even better, this one has louvered rear windows. As the now-old saying goes; if this van’s a rockin’…

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Yeah. If that’s a red stain on the bottom, it’s probably just scented candle wax, because they should have been using incense instead. I can’t deal with this right now. So let’s take a look under the hood.

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Like many 70s vans, space is tight. The sideways mounted master cylinder and brake booster was quite the achievement for some Chrysler engineer. The condition of everything certainly appears to bear out the low original miles.

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The seller also includes these wheels, but I think I like the moon hubcaps and wheels that are already on it, a lot better than these.

“Not enough quality pictures” is a typical complaint on cars advertised for sale, but that’s not the case with this one; the seller provides plenty of good photos of this vehicle, a lot more than are shown here.

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This is a vintage window decal that many buyers would be quick to remove, but not me. Tells the story of where it’s been and all that.

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I love this retro 1970s hippy van, that’s what I think. But now it’s your turn. Do you love it as much as I do? What would you change or keep the same about it? Let us know your thoughts below.

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Comments

  1. Chebby

    This thing has been on eBay for a while. While boogie vans are cool again, I think people are trying to force their collector values a la the ridiculous VW craze. I would love this van for $6k, but not much more. Can’t we have a cool subculture of cars that’s just for fun, and not an ‘investment’?

    Funny you mention the name, Ma Mopar was onto that!

    http://vintage-original-ads.com/Pictures/albums/uploads/normal_1974-Dodge-Maxivan-Tradesman-Van-Chrysler-ad.jpg

  2. DrinkinGasoline

    Ok….I found my leisure suit in the attic along with my stack shoes (with the aquarium heels no less). Ummm yeah, the goldfish are dead in the bottom of the heels. So much for reliving an era that i hated. Huggy Bear would be right at home…maybe winning the Pimp of the Year award !

  3. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    One of the best I have seen lately. Love the wheels, rear wing, Travel Scoop and teardrop shaped side windows. Interior makes my head spin though. I chuckled at this selling dealer’s enthusiastic though inaccurate comment. “This is a well kept Original van with Original Paint and Original interior.”

    • Moose Feather

      You didn’t know they sent them out the doors with shag carpet??

  4. Howard A Member

    I had a friend with a custom van like this( not as fancy) V-8 and 3 speed. Scotty will agree, when putting the shifter from the column to the floor, for some reason, a clearance issue I think, required the shift rods turned around, so 1st and reverse were switched and 2nd and 3rd too. I actually liked it better. Great example, and there still are groups that caravan to locations, and a CB radio, at the time, was a must have. Many a father got mighty nervous when their daughter’s “new” boyfriend showed up in one of these. Who says you can’t relive the 70’s? Great find, and I was there ( originally)

    • boxdin

      I installed a floor mounted Hurst Shifter in my 1973 Dodge B100 and moved the 3 on the tree to 3 on the floor. Hurst made van only shifters well into the late 70s.

  5. JW

    I love it, had a 74 in blue similar to this one but not quite as decked out, the brakes kept locking up on the interstate and the dealership could not figure it out so I got rid of it. Most hate the 70’s but I love them. I went through a divorce, bankruptcy, met my 2nd wife of 36 years and my life turned to the better and I’ve never been happier. The price on this van is steep but someone will get nostalgic and buy it or he will have to come down to reality.

  6. Rick.

    I gave a girl……a ride in the wagon….

  7. boxdin

    That AC is not factory but a dealer add on. Factory AC had the heat/ac controls in the same square button panel.

  8. Barzini

    Marty – Great post! I laughed all the way through it. Is it too early to nominate this for post of the year?

  9. Will

    I just bought a new Ram Promaster city which is the latest name for the smallest Dodge van. I bought it with the intent of building a modern interpretation of the 70s shaggin wagon. There are a couple of ideas here I like. The teardrop windows are great and I would love the side pipes. Anyone know someone who has a set for a 4 cylinder? I like the roof scoop as well. My interior wont look this way though. I can pay homage to the 70s just so far.

    • boxdin

      I got my first swb dodge van in 1973 and built a van conversion company with it. I have been wondering if the youth of today or anyone else for that matter has the same interest in vans like we did in the 1970s. So far you are the first I have heard of with that intention. Vans now are so much more efficient that before and wanderlust is not generational, is it?

      • Steven C

        There are several really cool 70’s custom vans driving around Lawrence. The guys driving them are in their 20’s.

      • Will

        It probably is generational. I got my license in 1977. My dream was a dodge shorty. I am going to build the modern version of what I couldn’t ever afford in high school.

  10. Rock On Member

    I think that I prefer this one. Manual transmission and all.
    https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/cto/5791814191.html

  11. Fred W.

    That interior is Shag-a-Licious, Baby! The outside, though it may be original, isn’t very representative of the 70’s. Pinstriping was bigger in the 50’s, while most 70’s vans had airbrush art.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Personally I don’t believe for a second that this van was modified in the 70s.

    • CATHOUSE

      Beautiful van. When I first saw it for a second I thought I was looking at a van I once owned. Mine was a 1976 Tradesman 200 in the same tan color, I added the fender flares and side pipes too. Mine had wooden running boards, a wooden rear wing with extra lights built into it, and Cragar Mach 8 wheels though. I had the same style of murals painted on it. A guy just like the one on the back doors of this van was on the left side panel of my van. And then there were other murals on it as well, a total of 5 different murals as I recall. All the work on my van was done between 1976-1979. I often wonder where that van is today, if it even still exists.

  12. Tom Member

    GREAT JOB WITH THE PICTURES !!!! This is like a MASTER CLASS on taking photos to sell your ride! I could have used a few clicks of the undercarriage, along with close up photos of the bottom edges of the panels, just to prove they are as nice as the rest of the van. given what I did see, everything is probably solid.

    This craze was “not me” but this is very cool. Nice van. very reasonable price. the guy above saying 6K, what? Do I need to say more? Hope not. If it were a different color to my liking , I’d buy it right now. much rather have a Flat Nose Ford or GM from the 60’s but this is very cool and very nice especially for the price.

    GO BUILD ONE FOR 16K !!!!! Paint and Body will be more than 16K. Good luck replicating this for under 40K. Good luck finding a dodge van, or any van from this era, that is not beyond its own rust !! These thing were the poster child for RUST !!

  13. Bobsmyuncle
    • boxdin

      The 77 Dodge I restored went to Panama a couple of years ago.

  14. Prowler

    The classic sin bin
    With the bumper sticker…don’t laugh I have you’re daughter in here
    I had a friend in 1976 that named his stairway to heavan….right across the back
    At the time I thought it was pretty cool
    Now…not so much

  15. Andrew

    Blasting music from Red Rider – ‘HumanRace’ and many others on a Friday night cruising Mainstreet. Yeah, I remember……

  16. Ck

    Friend of mine had a van like this back in the day the front seats were made from wooden barrels that his dad helped him make. They even swiveled .Had a lot of fun in that van This van is kool, But 17g’s really? If I had that much money to spend I would buy that I’mGMC that was on this site yesterday. Do that thing rite up 70s style. With that much moey in hand and a little Imagination you could build a pretty sweet Van.

  17. Howard A Member

    Does anybody else hear The Edgar Winter Group?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DBVxUWkyHM

  18. Brad

    A friend has his 1977 custom van that hew bought brand new in 1977, It was his first brand new vehicle. Black, with mushroom windows on the rear sides. 318, AT & PB.
    It’s been sitting in his barn for over 30 years. I have MANY fond memories of weekends in that van ! I agree with another reader. The factory A/C had push button controls for A/C, Max A/C, heat, vent, ect.. The aftermarket unit still looks, mmm, not bad. The screws holding the unit secure on the top scream aftermarket. But as long as it cools the van, I could forgive such a discrepancy. Everything else looks fantastic, and makes me want to blaze my Grand Funk 8 track at high volume !

  19. Matt Member

    ive seen this van at a few car shows around the sioux falls area

  20. JamminVannin
    • boxdin

      And they have 318s, imagine what they could do w a crate 360!!

  21. boxdin

    Old time van nut here, I finally found the late model (1990) swb Ford w EFI & OD and after 3 yrs of sitting in a yard in Alamogordo NM we are putting it back on the road. It got a high end conversion when new so it was never a plumbers truck. The looks of these Fords stayed the same from 1979 to 1991. In 92 they got ugly.
    Heres ours;

  22. ags290

    That reminds me of Uncle Rico’s van with the orange color from Napoleon Dynamite.

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