Stained Glass Boogie Van: 1978 Dodge Tradesman

I first fell in love with custom vans after watching Edward Scissorhands. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, and you like vans, you need to go watch the movie! This 1978 Dodge Tradesman is subtle, but still funky with vanning necessities such as fender flares, Cragars, and exhaust pipes that dump before the rear axle. Naturally, it has a 360 V8 engine and be sure to take note of the stained glass porthole windows! Find it here on craigslist in Hollywood with a price tag of $6,000. Thanks to Cole for sending this one in! 

The interior of this van is one of the more subtle I’ve seen and it’s strangely tasteful if you keep the home decor of the time in mind. The lack of rear furniture (or a mattress!) is odd, but that just leaves room for you to add your own touch. The centrally located captain’s chair is nice, but seems out of place without any other surrounding furniture. You’ll notice a light fixture on the ceiling, and while it isn’t a chandelier, it is still pretty cool! The stained glass portholes are easy to appreciate in this photo.

The front appears to be largely original, but what really catches my eye is the striped pattern on the seats! Well, that and the shaggy headliner. It would appear that whoever built or had this van built was going for a more subtle approach to the custom van fad. The colors aren’t super funky, nor do they slap you in the face, but nonetheless the interior feels very 1970s as it should!

The fender flares give this van a whole new look and I’m loving the combination of the stripes, paint color, and stained glass. The louvers are also a nice period touch. Plus, this Dodge is sitting right! With the 360 under the hood, this van should have no problem getting out of its own way and sounding great while doing it. Anyone up for some vanning?


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  1. Madmatt

    This seems to be a better deal than the Chevy
    van featured just earlier.It may not be as 70’s funky,
    but it could be done the way you want it.
    I always liked the look of the Dodge vans
    more than the others,and the flares and sunvisor
    really look cool on this one.I’ve always loved custom vans
    from my youth. I hope “Vannin” makes a
    come back—-after my twin teen daughters have
    grown up, and moved out….Lol….

    • Neal

      I grew up liking these too. Too young for the other implications of “vannin'” to take hold. Well, kinda too young and kinda not.
      Anyway, my idea of vannin’ now is owning two minivans. With three kids and a dog, hockey and music equipment, etc. it just makes sense.

  2. Fred w.

    The portholes and the louvers were mandatory items at the time, along with fender flares and 60 or 70 series bias ply tires.

  3. Will
  4. mds47588

    ahhh….good ‘ole dealer installed A/C.

  5. JW

    I like this one better than the GMC one. Much cleaner looking.

  6. sluggo

    Never a good start to show up at a teenage girls house in one of these… “Martha,, get the shotgun!”

  7. Mark S. Member

    My brother had one of these only short wheel base, 1977 streetvan as it was called his was black with gold metallic in the paint. The interior was done in typical 70’s fashion with shag carpet and crushed velvet, the front seats were identical to these ones and were factory equipt. It had factory chromed wheels and he too had the flared fenders. My brother passed way in 1980 of cancer and my dad sold the van. We lived in Calgary and the buyer was from Edmonton so I never saw it again.

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