I think I might have just found what is probably one of the greatest vans ever built. This 1991 Ford Econoline 350 is a dually conversion van. That alone would be radical enough, but the seller then added functional semi truck exhaust stacks and a massive 60-gallon fuel tank. It’s almost the most perfect van you’ll ever see.
I’ve been spending a lot of time out west lately. In between skipping side-by-sides through the desert and sleeping in a camper at a giant off-road bash, I’ve been on the search to replace my spare Volkswagen Jetta with something more interesting. In the middle of this search, multiple members of my Gambler 500 team have sent me this van, and oh my do I love it.
The seller of this van says that they have owned it for the past 20 years and over that time they’ve added some things to make it look and feel like a big rig. The van started life as a 1991 Ford Econoline 250 conversion van. Now, these are pretty cool, but they aren’t all that special. To make it better, the seller says that they converted it to an Econoline 350.
This involved porting over an Econoline 350's front and rear end, brakes, suspension and engine.
These parts came from an Econoline 350-based RV and meaning this van now has dually rears. The body has 106,000 miles and the RV parts have 58,000 miles. And since those parts came from an RV, the seller had to grab flares from an F-Series. They’re painted to match the van and they look so good you’d think they were factory.
This van spent much of its life with a 5.8-liter V8 job under the stubby hood, but in the conversion it got a 7.5-liter V8. The conversion bumped power from to about 210 HP and 315 lb-ft torque to 225 HP and 390 lb-ft.
That power gets run through an automatic and the exhaust is routed through semi-truck stacks. The seller says that the van isn’t loud; instead, it has what they describe as a “mellow” tone. What that really means is that you can own this masterpiece in your HOA without seeing it towed.
And of course, that’s not where the madness ends. See that tank popping out of the left side of the van?
Not only is a bonafide 60-gallon tank, but it works with the factory fuel gauge. You can expect about 10 miles-per-gallon from that old 460, so that means a huge 600 miles of range with this bad boy.
The interior has gotten an update as well.
You get the thick, plush carpeting that 1990s conversion vans were known for. The left side passengers also get a wooden console to play with. Everyone gets to sit in leather seats that appear to have been lifted from a Chevrolet Express Southern Comfort. There’s even the characteristic conversion van mood lighting.
Other modern touches include a sound system and a reverse camera.
This doesn’t appear to be just some passion project, either. The seller says that it has run a 5,000-mile round trip to the Pacific Northwest twice. So it’s definitely road trip tested.
If there’s anything I would change, it would be the engine. To get the most out of that thick tank you want a more efficient engine. You could drop a period-correct International indirect injection diesel in there, or get a more modern Power Stroke for some real fun.
Either way, this thing is real close to being the perfect van. The seller wants $17,000 for it in Fairfield, Iowa and it might actually be worth it.