On the outside, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe E150 is the epitome of the creeper van. The van’s custom camper interior, however, is as inviting as can be. Let’s see if the price means that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Years ago—decades really—an executive at Porsche was asked why the company didn’t offer an entry-level model. The exec replied that the sports car maker did, in fact, offer cheaper, more obtainable models, they were simply called “used Porsches.”
It’s true that buying pre-owned opens the door to previously unobtainable options, but depending on the difference from new, it still may not mean a real deal. As a case in point, consider yesterday’s 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. That car came with the awesome opportunity to jab its special red keyfob, unleashing the full 707 horsepower its 6.2-litre Hemi keeps in its reserve.
That came with a $46,995 asking which was a good bit off its $60K-plus original price tag. For many, however, that price wasn’t cheap enough to overcome the stigma of it being pre-owned. That’s a reasonable critique when you consider those new ones are still being pooped out of the factory today.
Most of those newer cars have warranties. Many also still have their plastic shipping trim that you’re not supposed to remove owing to…um, fashion or something. For the 58 percent of you who voted the Hellcat down in a Crack Pipe loss, those were seemingly important attributes.
When I was growing up, the mini-pickup ruled the suburbs. That was a tool of the trade for many a landscaper or gardener—folks who liked the trucks for their small, economical size and low lift-over which made for easy access to mowers and blowers, rakes and edgers. Thieves also loved the trucks’ open beds and over the years, thefts drove many a gardener to add a shell or eventually to the security of a lockable van.
These days, I see more vans in the hood than little trucks, and that’s sort of the first thought that sprang to mind when I saw this 2008 Ford E150. Of course, I’d think differently if it had “Free Candy” awkwardly rattle-canned across one expansive flank. Then I’d call the cops.
The thing of it is, this institutional and very tidy-looking windowless van hides an interesting secret inside. No, it’s not the terrified victims of some heinous serial killer. Instead, it’s a modest living space, one that offers room for food storage and prep as well as a convertible pad for sitting or sleeping.
The seller describes the van as offering “minimalist luxury” which I think is right up there with “jumbo shrimp” and “act naturally” as a textbook example of an oxymoronic description. Regardless, there is a lot to like here, especially if you’re someone who lives simply and simply wants to do that living in a different place each night.
With its plain wrapper white paint—the seller has dubbed the van “Blanca”—you could also easily pretend you’re on a stakeout wherever you go. That’s fun for the times when you don’t have wifi.
The exterior of the 140,000-mile van looks to be in excellent shape and features LED headlamps in its institutional grille. It comes with a 4.6-litre V8 engine behind those lights and that’s paired with a four-speed automatic and RWD. The front brakes are claimed to be new and it carries a current smog certificate—an important aspect if you want to transfer title in California.
It’s the interior of this panel van where things get homey. Inside there’s a custom bench on one sidewall. That expands into a sleeping space for two. Opposite that is a custom countertop that sits over some enclosed storage. That counter hosts a sink and two-burner cooktop, the latter fueled by a propane tank in the cabinet below. A slide-out fridge is nestled behind the driver’s seat and the whole thing is enclosed in finished walls and a wood-panel ceiling.
There’s a pair of low-profile solar panels up top. Those steal the sun to the tune of 100 watts each and charge a set of batteries that provide power to accessories and the electronic detritus that clutters our lives and always seem to need feeding.
The seller says the van has been used in support of their avocation as an “adventure photographer” and it does seem to offer the function that such an occupation would demand. The thing is, this would also be a fairly solid pleasure vehicle and seeing as weekend warrior vans are all the rage these days, could hold a broader appeal.
With that in mind, it’s now time to give some thought to the van’s $20,000 asking. The work here seems reasonably professionally done, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to describe it as “minimalist luxury” there is a lot of appeal to its presentation. Other, perhaps more extensively modified vans of this ilk do go for far more than is being asked here. That, of course, doesn’t necessarily make this one a good value.
What do you think, is this sleeper a deal at $20,000? Or, is it too much of a creeper van to creep up in such an asking?
H/T to RevUnlimiter for the hookup!
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