1985 Ford E250 Super Club XLT Diesel

When's the last time you saw one of these? Vans are missing widespread collector appreciation because so many were used for utilitarian purposes and run into the ground. But when a clean one comes up on the market it sure reminds you how bold and fun and (sometimes) colorful they were, like this one.

Some post-war work vans were rear-engined like the Volkswagen Vanagon and even America's own Corvair Van. But after the rear-engine fling of the 60s and 70s, manufacturers switched over to front-engine, impractically squeezing in large workhorse engines into the snub-nosed front of these new vans designs.

In the long run perhaps it was for the better. The front-engine configuration made most sense on vans, so that the entire rest of the body could be devoted to space. In this case, it's for passengers and their luggage.

The orange and creme two-tone color is bright and retro and it's amazing to see the brushed aluminum hubcaps still intact. Roof gear adds to the rugged, outdoorsy look.

The interior screams of "in the empire" America: long, flat planes, rectangular shapes and fake wood trim. But man, those seats sure do look cozy.

In back are two more rows of seats. Bring the whole family!

It's also got an 8 cylinder diesel engine powering the rear-wheels. Does it drift? All kidding aside, this will be expensive to operate energy-wise whichever way you splice it (unless you go bio), but I'd still rather have the oil-burner than a petrol guzzler.

Here's the thing. What is the entry price to seating 8 adults in a new vehicle today. At least $30k-$40k, right? And those aren't even diesels. This beast can be had for just under $4k.

Available here on ebay


  1. Based on interior wear-and-tear, the mileage is probably closer to 164K, maybe more. Still, it's in remarkable shape for it's age - something you wouldn't typically see outside of places like California - and the price seems reasonable. It might not score high on desirability or economy, it would be a great transporter for people and stuff. Probably a perfect college car - you'd be a very popular person for road trips, school breaks, move-in/move-out days, and of course, whenever a group was going out for the night (provided you don't mind consistently being nominated "designated driver").

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  3. I own this particular vehicle, it is verified at 64K based upon insurance mileage statements from the one owner. This was a true "barn find" as even the rubber weatherstripping was in great shape (for 30 years!) The actual price was much less as stated because the 3 speed automatic transmission was ruined. Subsequently I replaced this transmission with an electronically controlled 4 speed overdrive gearbox and 4wd transfer case. To better suit my needs I converted the front suspension to four-wheel-drive. This has been a fun project!