As proven by today’s Nice Price or No Dice Caravan, Chrysler was once the dopest automaker on the planet. Let’s see if this old-school van’s price tag will make a new owner out as a different kind of dope.
With used car prices on the rise due to… well, reasons, we decided to take a look yesterday at a sort of middle-of-the-road car — a 2010 Volvo V50 — to check its price and see if you were all alright with all that. At $8,900, that V50 was priced at the high end of the market for the model, but it did seem to be in better than average shape and had only modest miles under its belt. Quite remarkably, most of you were, in fact, ok with that, as the V50 carted home a solid 60 percent Nice Price win to start our week.
A while back there was a TV ad for Mitsubishi — remember them? — that took the premise that minivans are bad and lame. The gist of the ad was a dude in a gym listening to a message over the PA system telling patrons that “there’s a TAN MINIVAN in the parking lot with its lights on.” That’s right, a TAN MINIVAN. “Would the owner of the TAN MINIVAN please go to the parking lot and turn off the lights?” it echoed. While hearing this, the gym dude becomes increasingly more uncomfortable and the audience quickly realizes that he’s the owner of the minivan and is for some reason embarrassed to be outed as such. The best part about that ad? I don’t even remember what car or truck Mitsubishi was trying to promote by badmouthing minivans.
Now, had the gym loudspeaker announced that there was a five-speed Dodge Caravan turbo in the parking lot with its lights on, the owner would have jumped up and shouted “that’s mine!” and then rushed out shaking the van’s keys in an outstretched hand to emphasize the moment.
Having a turbo 2.5 and a five-speed manual in a Dodge minivan is a rarity. Having those mechanicals in one in as nice of shape as this 1989 Dodge Caravan seems is remarkable. I mean, just look at it!
This is the short wheelbase edition of the first-generation K-Car-based van and so while it does offer three-row seating and room to stretch out, it’s totally garageable. It’s apparently also warehouse-able since according to the ad, that’s where it has spent the past 17 years.
That would explain why it’s not all beat to hell as well as the modest 93,000-mile odometer count. The two-tone red and black exterior looks almost brand new as does the luscious red velour-upholstered cabin. A new battery and alternator have been installed, along with what look to be fresh tires so it’s not all old-school. According to the present owner, there is no service history on the van outside of those updates. Seriously, though, how much is there to go wrong on this? As long as the clutch hasn’t welded itself to the flywheel and the mice haven’t snacked on the entire wiring loom, there’s not much to do here that your average mechanic couldn’t handle.
Per the seller, the van “runs great” and has been freshly detailed. There are a number of clever features here, including what looks to be a cassette tape storage cabinet in the dash. That’s odd since the factory stereo doesn’t seem to have a cassette player. A turbo gauge has been added just to the left of the steering column, right in front of the indicator on the dash that reminds drivers that the van is “Front Drive.” How cute is that?
With the Mitsubishi-sourced turbo, the 2.5 liter four managed 150 horsepower out the door, which was god-like back in the ’80s. Here it’s mated with a five-speed stick which makes helps make the most of those ponies. With that equipment, and taking into consideration the gaping rear portal on the van, that kind of makes it the world’s biggest and most capacious hot hatch. Oh yes, it does.
What might one pay for so interesting and unique a vehicle? The seller claims that “NADA Retail” pegs the value at around $27,500. That’s used as a reference point to imply that the seller’s $18,225 asking price is a bargain. We don’t do NADA Retail here. What we do is vote and rant in the comments about how expensive or good a bargain whatever candidate of the day we have just might be. Let’s do that for this van right now.
What do you think, is this rare and seemingly excellent turbo Caravan worth that $18,225 asking? Or, is that price too dear for even this dope a van?
H/T to Patrick Moir for the hookup!
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