Survivor Shorty: 1972 Ford Econoline

I love old vans! I have yet to own one, but I will some day. There has always been something about custom vans that fascinated me. The funky styling and ’70s flavor certainly have something to do with it, but truthfully I can’t come up with a better reason for liking custom vans other than they are cool. What is cool about this van isn’t that its custom though, it’s actually that it is NOT custom. Unmodified “shorty” vans from the ’70s are somewhat hard to come by these days. I probably wouldn’t be able to keep myself from customizing this 1972 Ford, so it is just as well it isn’t anywhere near me! Find it here on eBay in Arizona with bidding at $6,299. 

Look at all that empty space! It’s just begging for shag carpet and a couch. Vans are the essence of the 1970s for their versatility and cool factor. If you needed to haul stuff, a van was ideal. If you needed to tow stuff, a van was pretty ideal. If you needed a place to “study” in private, well, you get the gist. One of my favorite features of this particular van is the pop-out rear and side windows. If one was camping or otherwise spending a lot of time in the back of their van, these would be a necessity!

One thing that really stands out (where it isn’t faded) on this van is the original dealer-added lace center that wraps around the van. Though it is disappearing with age, if that part could be restored this thing would absolutely scream “1970s van.” This van is equipped with a Ford 302 V8 and a three on the tree column shifter. However, the seller states that included with the sale is everything necessary to convert this van to an automatic transmission including a C4 transmission, automatic column, shift linkage, crossmember, and driveshaft. I personally prefer the column shifter for the cool/weird factor in today’s world, but I can see why someone might prefer an automatic in a cruiser like this.

Another super cool feature is the factory roof rack that sits atop this Ford. Coupled with the slotted wheels, this van is ready to hit the streets! Many new parts have been installed including new tires, shocks, and springs. Someone is really going to enjoy this van, and since it is wearing its original paint I really hope someone keeps it this way! The only thing I would do is customize the interior in a period correct fashion simply because it would be way cooler. What would you do with it?


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  1. tasker

    LOVE IT!!! then again, I am a little partial to them!

    • half cab

      They is a big foot hid in the van..

  2. Vegaman Dan

    This would be good to remove the roof rack, put steel wheels on it and paint grey or some other industrial color. A good base for film/TV studios to use as a generic work van in movie/TV shots. Add vinyl graphics for laundromat or delivery and it is a period perfect movie vehicle.

    • D

      “ACME Movers” is a simple company name for the sides and back of it.

      • boxdin

        Put’ Beaver Valley Liquors
        Phone’ OU812

        I was there, it was a blast.

        I think this yellow ford was converted when new and someone did all a favor and tore the old ratty interior out.

      • angliagt

        I think that I’d go with “ACE TOMATO COMPANY”

    • Rod_Munch

      The first thing I thought of was the vans used by the telephone company. They had a ton of them.

  3. JW

    I would rather have that yellow Bronco for a fun factor.

  4. Ron Bajorek

    Shaggy Too Dope

  5. Terry J

    Didn’t know that dealers painted lace. I ordered a NEW Chevy 1/2 ton van I think in 1984. In those days you could order full sized paper patterns to use so you could easily panel the inside. Fun. Only had it a year or so, until one day I came home and said “You won’t believe this, I just filled up the gas tank and it cost almost $20. This thing has to go. :-) Terry J

  6. bleteaches6

    These always remind lately of Kelso on the 70’s Show

  7. Mike Layton

    Dad had a 74 E , shaggin wagon . Growing up in SoCal in the 60’&70’s we saw lots of these .
    Keep on Truckin !

  8. Peter K

    I had a 69 E300 1 ton. It took me to races all over the country for 12 years. Indestructible!

  9. Kevin Molbeck

    Love it. Definitely would have to shag up the inside.

  10. Alex

    I had a 70 Van of this era which I converted from a 240 to a 289 out of a 67 Cougar. What a nightmare that was, the biggest issue was finding an oil pan that cleared the crossmember. Ordered one from Ford but it never came in. I was riding around in a buddies car and drove by Culligan Salt where they were pulling a motor out of a van to put into an LTD. I pulled and and told them the had the wrong oil pan, he said your right, I said I have the pan you need in the car and we traded pans. Another day a different hour it never would have happened. What are the odds?

  11. craig blake

    Been there, done that. Mine was a ’74 E 200 302 automatic, decked out with flares, spoiler, firestone “Parnelli Jones” 60’s on ET slots, thrush pipes and headers painted pearl black with gold striping, wrap-around sofa with bar, lights, crushed velvet upholstery, dark paneling and shag carpet with 8 track jam system. cruised in the local van club (about 30 members) never forget the good times!

    (pictured here before the Black pearl paint job)

  12. Marvelous

    Very cool

  13. W9BAG

    I really like this van. With the 302 and a “3 on the tree”, Perfect combination. I would add a Vintage A/C system, then do something of a totally different dynamic for the interior, something that one might see that would come from Ikea: comfortable, shic, and very European modern. A drastic contrast to the exterior. Everyone with one of these great full size American classics wants to go to the “way back machine”, and put in mushroom windows on the side, avocado green shag carpeting, ect. I see a modern Euro interior, and a great 10.2 entertainment system.

  14. Lounge

    “Let’s get outta’ here, Scoob!”

  15. Jim

    Shag carpet, bed, automatic trans. Remove roof rack, paint “LOVE MACHINE” on the side. Gonna love me in my Ford van and thats alright with me!

  16. Chris

    Me likey this van very kool indeed. I still own a 66 Econoline supervan panel myself.

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