If that extremely rare Toyota 2000GT from earlier today isn’t really your jam, then I may have the thing for you. This 1989 Dodge Caravan LE with its manual transmission, rad badging and turbo is the ‘holy grail’ of Chrysler minivans. What’s not perfect is its $25,000 price.
In March I wrote about a seemingly beat up 1994 Dodge Caravan from Cars & Bids. That second-generation van had a turbocharger and a manual transmission, too, but it was far from original. The engine and its turbo came from a first-generation van like the one you see before your eyes right now. Amazingly, none of that deterred someone from spending $8,000 on it. This Caravan LE on Facebook Marketplace is the real deal, having a turbo and a manual straight from the factory.
But is it worth the huge $25,000 ask?
Under the hood of this small minivan is the fabled 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four. It makes 150 horsepower and 180 lb-ft torque, which propels a vehicle that barely weighs over 3,000 pounds with a driver inside.
That driver gets to choose their own shifting adventure with a five-speed manual transmission.
These vans are responsible for sparking the minivan craze that swept the nation until SUVs took over. And this van is unquestionably cool, with its red exterior and burgundy interior to match.
It is the perfect vehicle for the Radwood Era that’s making old cars from the 1980s and 1990s so hot right now. I mean, it even has a rad set of turbo badging on it.
Exact production numbers are not known, but estimates say that there are about 400 of these in existence. And some of them are in junkyards, so who knows how many are really left.
This one has all of 93,000 miles on its odometer, and indeed, it looks like a time capsule that has not been driven a whole lot on the road. The seats look showroom fresh, and check out that glorious fake wood:
The seller has a simple explanation for why it has survived so well. It sat in a warehouse for 17 years before getting pulled out and detailed. And if you look closely, you’ll see that it’s not perfectly preserved. The underbody has some surface rust, and there are definitely the beginnings of fresh rust on the rocker just behind the sliding door.
It’s so perfect that even I want this van. However, our David Tracy has found tons of these vans over the years, and they have always been dirt cheap.
The seller seems to be basing their price on a wild NADA retail value for the van. I don’t want to believe that the used car market has gotten that bad. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a butt for this $25,000 seat on Facebook Marketplace in Valley City, Ohio. Still, even with the imperfections and the price, I can’t help but gaze at it.
Hat tip to Andrew!