The first car ride I ever took was in a 1990 Plymouth Voyager just like the blue one you see in the picture above. And now, 25 years later, I find myself drooling over the things, which is just not normal for a guy my age. Is it my subconscious yearning to relive its first automotive experience, or are these things just badass?
Today’s minivan scene is very different from the one back when the segment began in the 1980s. It takes only one quick glance at the boxy Plymouths and Chryslers of yore to see they’re a long way from today’s slippery, rounded aerodynamic shapes. But maybe that’s the problem with Minivans today; what happened to the style? The flair? Southeast Asia has tons and tons of new and ultra-cool minivans, but we’ve lost it in the U.S.
Even if those early Chrysler minivans were tacky in their day, they’re cool now. At least, I think so. I mean, look at the wood side paneling, wire-spoke wheels, and prominent Pentastar emblem on the front of the Plymouth Voyager below. It’s just pure class:
And then there’s the interior, which was available in this awesome bright red— something all but extinct in anything but high-dollar sports cars these days. And it’s not just the seats, it’s the whole shebang: the door trim, carpets, seatbelt buckles—everything:
And you could get these with a turbocharged inline-four and a five-speed manual transmission! (My dad’s was manual.) I’ve been on Craigslist non-stop lately trying to find myself one.
The problem is, I’ve been having a hell of a time finding nice ones, and I’ve found exactly zero with manual transmissions, which sucks because the automatics in these things were not known for their reliability.
Anyway, maybe it’s a good thing I haven’t found a pre-1990 manual Chrysler minivan, because I’d definitely have to buy it, and people would start to wonder about my sanity.
But I don’t care what they say, these things are cool.