Shaggin’ Wagon: 1971 Dodge Tradesman B200

Custom Dodge Van

My dad utilized vans for his work vehicles and did all his own repairs, so one day he pulled a non-runner home for parts. It had obviously been used by hippies, but he didn’t mind because he was just going to strip off the stuff he needed and then send it to the scrapyard. I remember just staring at the interior, afraid to go too close. So, my memories of this type of vans really aren’t all that pleasant. This particular machine is nothing like that parts donor from my childhood though. It is still wearing most of its original paint, has plenty of period upgrades, and is claimed to run and drive great! It’s located in Wilmington, Delaware and is listed here on eBay with active bidding.

Custom Interior

Checkout the interior! Swivel seats, linoleum, wood paneling, and shag carpet. It doesn’t get any better than this! Well, at least in a customized 70’s van. More than a few people must have good memories with these things because they have been enjoying a recent resurgence. This article in the Wall Street Journal proves my point.

Van 318 V8

This was originally an inline-six equipped van, but sometime in the late seventies it was swapped out with a 318 V8! The seller claims that it runs great and cruises well at 70mph. The power steering and power brakes make things smooth and the working AC keeps things cool.

Subtle Touches

Checkout the lantern lights, side pipes, and other subtle touches… Sure, you could start with something cheaper and attempt to build your own creation, but I doubt you could make one this nice for less. It could be a respectable entrant at any vanner event in the country. Apparently, there are quite a few van enthusiasts out there so it should be interesting to see what this beauty ultimately sell for.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Hmm, no wonder the local paneling maker in my little town is going to close.( after 100 years in business) Nobody panels insides of custom vans anymore (or anything else, for that matter.) While I never had a custom van, don’t like vans, in any form,( or cabover trucks too, same thing) I had friends that did, and we had a blast. We did cruises and there was a cult, so to speak, of other van owners. A CB radio was a must have, as well. I guarantee, a father would get pretty upset, if you picked up his daughter in one of these. These got miserable gas mileage, and were a handful to drive (think, a box on wheels) in strong winds, and were a pain to work on.( although, the removable dog house helped) Still, for what it was, a party box on wheels, it couldn’t be beat.

  2. JW

    Had a 74 just like this one but Blue, bought brand new and did the interior myself. The front brakes kept locking up at highway speeds when they got hot, not something you want happening on I-90 at 70 mph between semi tractor trailers. Lasted about 9 months and returned it because Dodge couldn’t figure out the problem and took a 70 Goat from their used car lot for what they owed me. I got the better of the deal.

    Like 1
  3. Toast54

    If the van is rockin’, don’t bother knockin, but if the van is knockin, it’s probably a dodge.

  4. Rev Rory

    The bumper sticker on mine said, “Don’t laugh, your daughter may be in this car”.

    Like 1
  5. jim s

    i wonder why it did not sell at carlisle. sad that it does not still have a slant 6 in it and if the miles are correct why did it need a new motor. nice find

  6. boxdin

    I love vans and bought my first new dodge in 1973. Not to be picky or anything, but a 1971 model would have black plastic door pushbuttons and a pentastar logo on the lower right side front fender under the marker light. Drum brakes & elec ign also didin’t come until 1973. Nice van, but a later model probably.

  7. Tundra/BMW Guy

    I have zero need/use for this thing but, I LOVE IT! That thing would be awesome to load up the Wife and Dog and head out cruising around the country for however long! I am not a van guy, never have been but this does something for me. Beats me why. Hope he gets his reserve and whomever purchases it, respects it and leaves it as is or modest updating. It appears he has taken great care of it and the recent “freshen up” wasn’t cheap!

  8. Steve

    Put some Zeppelin on the 8 track in that thing and you’d probably go back in time

    Like 1
  9. Gary

    @Steve,
    I was thinking the same thing but with Santana blasting while cruisin’ down the hiway. The early 70’s, man what a time it was!

    Like 1
  10. Howard A Member

    @ Steve and Gary, No, no, no, it would have to be The Edgar Winter Group. :)

    Like 1
  11. Mike

    My parents owned a 72 dodge camper van with a 318 in it, it was a good old camper, but it was a bit*h to do a tune up on, the motor was so large in the motor bay and the way it sat in the floor it was easier to jack it up remove the front tires to change the front 2 spark plugs on both sides, and back them days Dad would always clean the spark plugs after it would sit for the winter, before taking it camping come spring. I remember one year just before they got rid of it, Mom and Dad where in South Dakota for a summer trip, and they were having carburetor trouble the local mechanic worked on it, and he was leaning down over it when it backfired, and burned the guys beard, mustache, and eye brows, so after that the folks had to wait a couple of days for the new carburetor to come in to the local parts store. They said it had been rebuilt so many times it was worn out, and needed replacing, and what were they to do, they were some 600 miles form home.
    They got rid of it in 1990 and bought a bumper pull camper which they had until Dad past away some 4 years ago.

    • skloon

      I have one with a 440 in it – you are not allowed to complain about access to the engine, however I do have the ability to roast things on my right foot

      Like 1
      • Mike

        Well I am not complaining but stating a fact, it was a bit*h to tune up with all the crap in that little hole in the floor. and I agree you could cook on the engine cover on an day you wanted.

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