It’s sometimes reassuring to know that substances like peyote can solve any problem you may have. Ford needed some sort of van-based show car in 1970, so they just (this is speculation, of course) applied liberal amounts of peyote to their Econoline design team and whammo, out screamed the Econoline Kilimanjaro. All hail the Kilimanjaro!

The Econoline Kilimanjaro was as you can see, Ford’s take on an off-road, 4-wheel drive ‘safari van,’ whatever the hell that is, exactly. Really, it barely matters, because the result is positively glorious: leopard-print graphics in a wide, swinger’s bed-inspired swath all around the van, strange ground effects body work that would no doubt be torn all to hell on any real off-road excursion, foot-holes in the sides to act as a ladder to the roof, amazing gullwing rear side windows that opened up to allow full open-air safari-izing for the passengers.

Oh, and there’s more — that front bumper, laden with lights and fuel canisters, those amazing custom Firestone tires, which had radial ribs running down into the sidewall of the tires, and it even was equipped inside with a bunch of rifles, to better shoot the massive swarms of illusory bats that you no doubt would be seeing as a result of the drug regimen required to be in such a vehicle.

Man, I’m not kidding, I love this thing. This is a prime example of a time when a show car was more about some bonkers concept than even about the car itself, or any new styling or technology direction — these were literally concept cars, like a poem about some idea, but in show-car form.

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Anyway, I thought you should be aware of this grand achievement.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.