Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Econoline Van

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Dodge stuck with the forward-control/mid-engine van design through the 1970 model year (at which point their Tradesman gained a hood), but Ford moved the Econoline’s engine forward starting with the 1968s. For 1968 through 1974, the Econoline had this extremely short snout, with the engine just barely in front of the driver. You don’t see many of this generation of Econoline these days, so I photographed this one when I spotted it in a California self-serve yard a couple of months ago.

It’s got plenty of California-style body rust, which attacks very slowly (unless the victim is an air-cooled Volkswagen) from the top down. At this rate of decay, rust-through would take place by about 2052.

Tiny four-wheel drum brakes on a half-ton passenger van in 1970? Sure, why not?

No idiot lights, but also no frills.

After 42 years, this van has been completely used up.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • -Nate -Nate on Nov 08, 2012

    I well remember these Club Wagons , they were fine at the time , I drove VW Typ II's instead . I hated working tune ups on these as they were designed for L6 engines and the spark lugs were a bear to change , cracked exhaust manifolds too . This one is hardly " used Up " ~ all it needs is a periodic overhaul to be road ready again . Yes , it has the 2-1/2" brakes . -Nate

  • Nikita Nikita on Nov 08, 2012

    After the '66 Dodge A-100, I had one of these, a '74 E-100 cargo van, decked out with blue shag carpet, walnut paneling and an airbrushed mural on the sides. It started to rust from the top down, being a coastal California car.

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