You know how pretty much every modern vehicle you’re likely to buy today is going to work tirelessly to extract every bit of personal data from you, and then use that data to manipulate you into buying shit? Of course you do. Aren’t you sick of that? Of course you are. There is one thing you can do, though, to flip the script on all those data-hungry bastards: buy this old cop surveillance van and mine some data of your own!

Yes, for a mere four grand this 1978 Dodge Tradesman 200 undercover police van can be yours, and you can gather all the clandestine data you want, the way real data-lovers like to do it: analog-stalker style!


Look at all the fantastic and vantastic equipment this thing has:

“I have a 1978 Tradesman 200 (3/4) ton van. 73k original miles. It was a former undercover police/surveillance van from the central valley. Original California car (not rusted out). It’s a basic cargo van that has been converted. V-8, 318 cid, with 4bbl carb, 727 automatic. The van runs and drives but could benefit from a tune-up and likely some fresh fluids. It has been carpeted with a bench and workbench inside. It is chock full of surprises and cool modifications including; a CB radio setup (don’t think it currently works), police band radio/scanner, black out windows/shades, custom AC unit designed to run off a few deep cycle-cell marine batteries (daisy-chained together), a door to separate the cab from the rear of the vehicle, and best of all.....a periscope that comes out of the vent.”

A bench and workbench? Radios of all kinds, from CB to police band/scanner, blackout shades, custom A/C unit that you don’t need to have the engine idling to run, and, yes, that periscope.


There also seems to be some kind of trapdoor in the bottom, possibly for dropping out your trained spy-cat to sneak in and get some microfilm or microfiche or whatever for you.


Let’s check out that periscope! It’s hidden in the roof by a normal-looking vent cap, and as you can see it’s a Lanor Scope, which I’m pretty my grandmother once told me is the Rolls-Royce of van-based surveillance scopes.


I own a similar van to this, as my RV is based on a ‘77 Dodge Tradesman, and it’s definitely a workhorse of a van, if nothing else.

The van is for sale around San Mateo, which means if you get it, it’s not that far a haul to take it up to the headquarters of Google or Facebook and just park it in front, maybe with ORDINARY VAN stenciled on the side, and see how those fuckers like being spied on all the freaking time.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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