Vantastic! 1974 Ford Econoline E-100

The cliches that could follow this Ford van, and probably will, are endless! But in ’74, if you were a bit of a free spirit, this was the ride to have. It was often said that you can live in your car but you can’t drive your house. Well, a van like this Bakersville, California domiciled Econoline destroys that myth. Just the same, it’s not on realtor.com but is available, here on eBay, for a current bid of $6,900, 30 bids tendered so far.

Technically, this Ford is known as an Econoline E-100 Super Van, a model that the seller classifies as “very rare” though I don’t know what’s rare about it. The ’74 version was the final year of the second generation (1969-1974) Econoline and the first generation available with a V8 engine. Two wheelbase versions were available, 105.5″ and 123.5″, this example is the latter.

This van is in spectacular condition and represents the mid-’70s perfectly! A loud side graphic would ensure the vibe but it’s actually a lot cleaner without it. The seller states that the paint and body were “done” in 2009 – not sure what done means as far as the body goes unless it’s a reference to previous dents or rust. The medium red finish appears to be perfect with great depth and the exterior is capped off beautifully with the addition of Cragar S/S wheels. Note the van-style “opera” windows cut into either side of the rear section, they, and an opening skylight, were all the rage with ’70s vans.

Inside, is where the action is, as it always is with a van like this. Specifically, the seller states, “THE INTERIOR HAS A REAR QUEEN BED WITH MOOD LIGHTING IN THE FRONT AND REAR. ALSO HAS AN ICEBOX FRIDGE. CD/CASSETTE PLAYER, 400W AMP WITH 4 SPEAKERS AND 2 SUBS. A MODIFIED CB RADIO AND A 450W LINER AMPLIFIER. ALSO HAS 3 LARGE BATTERIES AND 2000W POWER INVERTER TO PRODUCE 110V. THERE ARE VERY HEAVY DUTY CIRCUIT BREAKERS UNDER THE HOOD AND SEAT. IT COMES WITH A 25W SOLAR PANEL THAT PLUGS IN UNDER THE DASH OF THE PASSENGER SIDE SEAT.” I’m not sure why you’d want a 400-watt amp inside a van unless of course, you are opening the doors and providing the tunes for a tailgate party. Whatever one’s predilection though, this van will get that job done. As for the mood lighting and the queen bed, I got nuthin’…

As for the passenger compartment, are you down with shag carpet? Good, because it’s everywhere, headliner, floors, bulkheads, door cards; you are good to go! The velour captain’s chairs are a nice touch too. The A/C unit is an installed dash unit that appears to be large and aftermarket, probably placed as such to help with rear cooling. The seller does state that it needs a recharge; seems to me if that were all that was wrong with it, why not just do it? It’s simple, inexpensive and would help with the sale.

The inside of this Econoline isn’t the only aspect of it that has something special going on. The rebuilt 302 CI V8 (originally 137 net HP) and powertrain have had its share of improvements too, including, a mild cam, headers, and Flowmaster dual exhaust. By rebuild 302, I imagine the seller means rebuilt; it could or could not be the original engine. It also has a new rear end with 2.90 gears and a new automatic transmission. The seller suggests that 3.65 or 4.10 gears would be better, but I think, this would be a bit excessive. A van, being a cruiser, would be just about right with the current 2.90 ratio. They also mention that they were going to install a 3 core radiator, as temperatures were going up “just a lil” when it was very hot outside and they were stuck in traffic. That doesn’t sound great and unfortunately, there are no engine images in the listing.

You do not see vans like this often anymore. Once the do-it-yourself trend took flight, van builders like Mark III and Sherrod got into the act and built made to order versions. Sherrod is still around but has nowhere near the visibility that they once had and Mark III is gone to the winds. This example, I believe, has been much better prepared than many of the backyard conversions that I remember. Those vans were usually members of a plumber or dry cleaner fleet, i.e. rode hard and put away wet and then converted with used paneling, worn-out living room carpet, and a jigsaw.  The market for a van like this is probably limited but I’m certain there will be a buyer for it. So tell us, did you have a hippie van back in the day? If so, how was it decked out?

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Comments

  1. Will

    As a 70s teenager who desperatly wanted a van I can say that the super van is probably rare because only shorty vans were popular as play/daily use vehicuse. The “super van” was long wheelbase and did not get saved from being work horses and instead got used up.

  2. Dave

    “Yes, it’s my van. No, I won’t help you move!”

    Like 9
    • kiteflier

      Well I did help her move.. she had one like this in 1977 and I flew from SF, Ca to Chicago to drive her and the van back to the bay area. Got stopped by a county mountie outside Evanston, Montana about midnight doing 85. He told me to follow him and we went 30 miles off the highway to some little 3 building town. Charged me $30 and I asked for a receipt. I thought they were going to take me out back for lesson but I lied and said my dad was judge. They wrote the receipt but mis-spelled Evanston as Evensten and wrote Thirty as Therty. Lucky I got out of there alive. Oh and the girl has been my wife since 1977.

      Like 35
      • John Oliveri

        We got pulled over on 95 south, on our way from NY to Fort Lauderdale Fl, spring break 79, doing 90 thru North Carolina, had us all out of the car, hands over our heads, and told us to gather up 100.00 or the driver was going to have to wait for the judge on Monday, it was Friday, I was the driver, it was my car, he was eyeballing my Spoke Wheels on my Pontiac, we gave him the hundred

        Like 5
      • Phlathead Phil

        Great story. Congrats on long term marriage, a feat of its own.

        Nowadays, 85 M.P.H. is for slow pokes.

        Like 1
      • Whitesoxjack

        I think you mean Evanston, Wyoming as that’s where interstate 80 from Chicago to SF passes thru.

        Montana had an “waste of resources” violation for speeding. You paid $5 to the officer right there on the spot and always got a receipt.

  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    This is every bit as much a representation of the 70’s as are full-size rear wheel drive sedans and large personal luxury coupes. This looks to be a good example, and as Jim points out, these generation Econolines are long gone. I felt assured this was a worthy example when I saw the wooden cupholder rack mounted on the velour engine cover…. of course none of us can be without cupholders nowadays. Plus, you get the bonus of a ‘barefoot’ floor dimmer switch cover, and a prominent tachometer in case you want to take this down the dragstrip.

    Like 6
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    I like these vans without windows in the rear doors –
    looks a lot cleaner than without.

    Like 3
  5. Keith

    Black light and drug dog before you buy…….

    Like 9
    • Jay

      😂😂😂🤣🤣😂😂🤣🤣😂👍👍🖕

      I had a 77 El Camino bought used of a dealer. Had several years and traveled into Canada often. Was a Detective in those days major city.
      The radio died and I bought a new one. When I pulled the old radio out three bags of dope dropped on my face. (Weed). Gave it to neighbor to ummm dispose of lol. Said it wasn’t bad. Ha.

      If you could get a drug dog on a used car might not be a bad idea. Getting cops to do it could be problematic for several reasons. If I would have been searched at the border it most likely would have been a 10 to 20 grand of attorney fees to hopefully clear myself.
      Just saying.
      As to the black light. 😂🤣

      Like 1
  6. Francisco

    If you live in the South, better get that A/C fixed. You can bake glaze on pottery in one of these.

    Like 3
  7. Winfield S Wilson

    I was a CB radio nut back in the mid/late 70’s (Handle: Jade Grenade). The “Linear” amplifier was used to boost the output of your CB radio above the allowed 5 watts. Not used for car stereo. Awesome Econoline!

    Like 6
    • Dave

      There are two amps; a 400 watt for the audio system, and a 450 watt amp for the CB. From the description a lot of effort was made to upgrade the electrical system. Point of reference, there were no 450 watt mobile linears back then. Automotive charging systems couldn’t create let alone distribute that many amps. Even police cars running Leece -Neville alternators didn’t run police radios over 100 watts. I’d have to install a period correct setup like a Lafayette HB 525 with a Palomar two tube amp.

      Like 2
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      Do you remember the phrase –
      “Uncle Charlie’s in town”?

  8. Marc

    If you see it a rockin’ don’t come a knockin‘!

    Like 5
  9. Jim

    Worked at a Ford dealer when these things were new. What I can remember about them was that they were quite roomy. On the minus side, they were ill-handling because of that famous Twin I- Beam suspension & an inner engine cover that threw off plenty of heat. Better have a good working A/C & I guess just learn to live with the handling. A few lucky owners purchased some of these series of vans with a 6 cyl. engine & a manual 4 speed that seemed to have a very poor choice of gear ratios.

  10. Phlathead Phil

    These are AWESOME machines. I had a ‘73 E-350 / 302 3 on the tree BITD, (Back in the Day.)

    Might be SMOG exempt as of now.

    Price is CORRECT!

  11. Big Grouch

    Am I missing something, I don’t see a CB antenna. I don’t think it’s the little one behind the drivers door. If it is he has no business with a hot rodded radio. When I was trucking I knew guys who spent a bunch of money on a radio and a linear amp, then went to the truckstop for a pair of cheapo fiberglass antennas, and not make any attempt to tune them.
    Every non-functional AC on every car for sale “just needs a recharge.” I told a seller to get it charged and if it worked I’d pay for the charge above the agreed on price of the vehicle. He got it charged, it didn’t work.

    Like 1
    • Francisco

      It’s almost always something more than “just needs a recharge.”

      Like 1
  12. Dave Mathers

    We called them ‘Shaggin Wagons’ back in the day!! LOL

    Like 3
  13. PairsNPaint

    I used to live in a van down by the river.

    Like 1
  14. Super Glide

    This van isn’t rare. Ford, Chevy and Dodge all had work vans in this configuration. Fords were the toughest, due to the powertrain and the twin I-beam front suspension on the E-200s and E-300s. I drove a 1974 Econoline E-300 1-ton as a service truck for 245,000 miles. It had a C-6 trans that because of regular maintenance, it was never replaced or rebuilt.

  15. K. R. V. Member

    Very nice shape for a tin box like they were, that’s why we don’t see many anymore, rust! But they could haul a load and take bumps very well. But handling is poor, especially the steering, mostly due to bump steer. Plus their not very comfortable and roomy for the front seat passenger, due to one of Fords “better ideas”, that mounted the entire drivetrain appropriately 4-6” towards the passenger side, in the name of drivers room! So when empty the weight bias is towards the passenger side and can be felt when launching off railroad track crossings. They drive and ride nothing like a Chevy or Dodge van!

  16. R.Scot

    The van that motivational speaker Matt Foley could live in down by the river.

  17. Ben L

    I live in a van down by the river!😂

  18. George

    Wow I love it! I had a 1973 version with the same bed configuration. I lived in it for several months and went to many van shows on the east coast. Sooo much fun.

  19. canadainmarkseh Member

    If you guys want to see a really stunning example of one of these, check out the paint work on the cold war motors boogie van it is absolutely stunning.

    Like 1
  20. Comet

    A price and availability check of R12 will quickly solve the inoperative A/C mystery.

    Like 2
  21. John Bauer

    Miss my stabbin cabin on wheels.so much fun and so many memories!

  22. Dennis Hagerdorn

    I bought a yellow Dodge van in Peoria, Il., 1973. The van had been converted by some aftermarket company, complete with custom paint job, side pipes, mag wheels, and A/C like the one pictured. Drove it everywhere, including New Orleans, and back to Peoria, once my wife (at the time) got pregnant. Drove it through the inevitable divorce and subsequent marriage to my current bride, 42 years later. It caught fire while I was refueling it. I’ve owned several vans since then, the last being a Toyota Previa.

  23. Richard Van Dyke Sr

    I had a 1977 Dodge Van that was green with gold stripes going up the sides. Loved that van. It was called the Braggin Wagon. If I was that kind of guy I could tell some great stories.

    Like 1
  24. Jeff

    Had a long wheelbase lime 74 E150 Met a really hot chick spent time in the back married her still happy 37 years later
    Orange shag carpeting throughout. folding dinette in the rear. porthole windows. Wheezy six cylinder went to many a concert and I think we got home as well!!

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