Untouched Since the ‘70s: Custom 1976 Ford Van

While survivor-quality vehicles are interesting in their own way, I think that vehicle customization is arguably just as cool, if not cooler. This 1976 Ford E-Series Van that is here on eBay is an excellent example of the subculture known as “vanning,” which involves the individualization of conversion vans.

This country-oriented custom van is available in Clarkston, Michigan, where it is available with a clean title. The seller mentions that this van emerged from the “hay day (sic) of vans,” and also notes the various custom features that are present, such as custom lights, paint, hood, running boards, and “much much more.”

Aptly named “Country Sunset,” this van’s exterior paint job certainly reflects the theme. There are unique airbrushed drawings down both sides, which nicely complement the orange paint. Additionally, I’ve got to say that I’m a big fan of the staggered wheel and tire setup, as well as the flares that wrap around them.

As awesome as the exterior is, the well-preserved and period correct cabin is nothing short of a time capsule.

Look at the shag carpets, yellow television, and so many other perfect details that only the 1970s could have dreamed up. It’s common to see these vans in sorry shape, but you could hop in this example and begin the party again.

Both the driver and the passenger get to enjoy comfort too, thanks to these captain’s chairs up front.

Even with the interior packed away, it still looks tidy.

This example uses a V8 engine, and the seller claims it was rebuilt just a few years ago. The odometer reading displays 74,700, which is likely the true figure for the chassis’ mileage.

At the time of this article being written, bidding for this E-Series is at $1,725 with the reserve not met. Could you see yourself entering the vanning world with this time capsule, or would you rather not walk into the Country Sunset?


  1. Jason

    In all seriousness, this thing belongs in a museum.

    Like 7
    • TimS Member

      Yup. A textbook example of what “vanning” was all about back then.

      Like 4
  2. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    This thing just screams the 70’s. Not only the shag carpeting and tufted door trim, but all of the exterior pieces: roof rack and ladder, air brushed features, smoked headlights, and two (!) sets of fog lights. I think it would be a great addition to the local Cars and Coffee — unlikely to see another preserved customized van.

    There were some big bucks spent on this conversion back in the day.

    I love it. I don’t want it, but I love it.

    Like 7
  3. mallthus

    It looks great, but it’s a museum piece as is. I’d assume the foam in the cushions is perished, so to use this, you’d need to refill all the cushions. Plus, I’m going to guess it just smells old.

    Still, could be an interesting find for the right buyer.

  4. MarveH

    Now that’s a proper sin bin.
    If you’re handy with a black light and want to practice evidence/crime scene photography this may be your rolling classroom.
    This van is truly wrong done right. It does belong in a museum displayed next to a pair of Starsky and Hutch bell-bottoms.

    Like 1
    • Jason

      The “Ball Room” appears to have a black light permanently installed! Not sure I’d want to be the one to turn it on, though.

      Like 1
  5. Bob McK Member

    If I were single, I would buy this today. It brings back so many memories.

    Like 1
  6. 8banger David Mika Member

    A Shaggin Wagon that sez Ball Room – HA HA!

    Like 2
  7. FrankY Member

    If this Vans a rockin… don’t bother knockin. Lol.

    Like 1
  8. Rosco

    Cool vintage van. Pretty uncommon to see a custom van that’s a 3/4 ton.

    Like 1
  9. W9BAG

    A great show piece ! Perfect to ride the nostalgia highway. But it’s just too nice and antiquated to use as a cross country cruiser. As previously mentioned, the foam in the seats are certainly shot, with no support. But for weekend coffee & cars events, it would certainly be the belle of the ball !

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