By on August 18, 2014

13 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAre you a member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society? A fan of the Malaise Era and maybe bad music of the late 1970s? If so, then today’s Junkyard Find is for you! I spotted this brown-on-brown-on-brown van conversion at my local self-serve wrecking yard a full year ago, and I’ve been waiting for just the right time to share it with you!
16 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis is a second-generation Tradesman, turned into a luxury crypto-RV by the (apparently) defunct Landmark Vans company, which must have been based somewhere in the Midwest.
10 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s pretty well beat-up by now, but you can still catch the sense of luxury that must have prevailed in this interior, when Ace Frehley’s greatest hit was coming from the 8-track.
07 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCan you get browner than this? Nope.
01 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s some rust, sure, but nothing serious (at first glance).
03 - 1979 Dodge Landmark Van Conversion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese conversion vans weren’t aimed at the demographic that built matching bongs for their chopped-and-pinstriped Econolines and A100s; most of these vehicles were purchased by big families for road trips.

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42 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1979 Dodge B200 Landmark Van Conversion...”

  • avatar

    Looks so comfy, and so much room, although I must say the window on the second row would be quite annoying in a time before cell phones and what not keeping passengers busy.

  • avatar

    Was the quilted ceiling a standard type option for these conversions?
    And was the sunroof fitted at the factory or by the conversion company as well?

    I can only imagine how awesomely hot it was in the summer at the way back of one of these, with no rear air vents. The early 80s motel bathroom light fixtures in the rear are hilarious.

  • avatar

    I wish I had this headliner in my old 740 wagon. Or any headliner.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I love how the extended length vans back then made no bones about how that was achieved. Nice prominent seam right down the side.
    My cousin’s family had a beige/tan Chevy conversion with red yellow and orange tape graphics. It had really plush captains chairs and even had the top bump out. What really made it special was the functional boomerang antenna and real live tv inside – attached to the ceiling.
    In the early 90s my family looked at a mild conversion GMC but the sales guy (remember this is the place my mother has bought all her cars from since 1987) talked them out of it saying those vans have insane markups and only suckers bought them. We leased a loaded GMC Safari instead.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Dang, I had a ’79 Dodge van (short box), silver with a blue interior. Got the captain’s seats and sun roof as a factory option. The rest of the conversion we did ourselves. Quite honestly not as good as this one’s.

    In ’79 vans like that were an aspirational vehicle for the under 25 set.

    Unlike Jerry Seinfeld, I liked being a “van guy”.

  • avatar

    Here is a mint condition 1981 Plymouth Voyager van

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Barcode stickers? Welcome to the 21st century.

  • avatar

    Looking back with the benefit of knowing what came next, the minivan explosion seems inevitably obvious.

    Also, that wood panelling. Good lord, did people in the 1970s have no sense of restraint?

  • avatar

    The fact that Player’s BABY COME BACK came over the radio in my sales office just as I was browsing these photos means something. I don’t know what, but something.

  • avatar

    If that thing was rockin’ you simply didn’t come knockin’. What a sorry end to a once so elegant vehicle.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    My family had a Dodge van quite similar to that which we converted ourselves to have a minifridge, hot/cold water, table, and convertible full-size sofa in the back. It had an 8-track player in an aftermarket overhead console unit with 2 speakers. IIRC it was a 6cyl with 3+overdrive on the floor, with air conditioning. Went from NY to Alaska and back, along with multiple trips to FL, CO, and all sorts of places in between. My folks traded it for $200 after it was rusting thru the sides rather than sell it to me. Kinda pissed about that, but then again, at the end it was likely a deathtrap and gifting it to a teen would have been considered reckless endangerment of a minor these days. More’s the pity.

  • avatar

    I remember in the 90’s when some of my friends’ parents had conversion vans. With the unique graphics you could usually pick out their vehicle in a parking lot.

  • avatar

    I simply refer to these and their Ford and GM cousins as: Stupid, Ugly Vans.” Why? Because most of what I see are rusted-out, faded-paint hunks of junk that burn oil and generally drive slower than I do!

    I suppose for some they could be useful for traveling, but not in my driveway.

    • 0 avatar

      @Zackman: Guilty as charged! We own a burgundy Dodge conversion van with captain chairs in the front and the sofa-into-a-bed in the back. My daughter calls it “creeper van” and threatens to paint “Free Candy” on the side.

      The 318 cu. in. engine may take some time getting up to speed, but once it does the miles fly by. Also, I brag that I was able to parallel park that van – with four bikes hitched up to the back — in downtown Boston.

  • avatar

    It seems like just yesterday these vans were everywhere.

    • 0 avatar

      I was only a kid back in the 70s but I remember these vans from my teenage years in the 80s. My dad had one and it was dead ringer for this 70’s edition. Same basic colors, with the roof rack, captain chairs and fold down sofa. This one seems to be missing the huge running boards with integrated lights, that flowed into the wheel arches. Talk about stylish!

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    Apparantly someone somewhere still does full-size conversion vans. There is an older couple down the street with a late model Chevy or GMC hi-top conversion van. It even has custom graphic stripes, though the stripes are a single color (white van with gray/green stripes).

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Jay Cutler, the starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears, having just signed his 7-year contract with $54 million guaranteed, arrived at training camp this summer, not in a Mercedes AMG, or Cadillac Escalade, or an exotic super car.

    “Hey, Jay! What’s with the minivan?”

    “That’s not a minivan,” Jay answered. “That’s a conversion van!”

    A giant, white extended Econoline. Who knows, maybe the conversion van is on the verge of making a comeback?

    • 0 avatar

      It already has. The hot setup if you are a Wall Street mover and shaker is a chauffeur-driven Mercedes van that is a mobile office. Blacked-out windows, acres of walnut and leather and serious connectivity have replaced the 8-track and shag carpeting. It spends the workday sitting in no-parking zones on Water or Broad street with the Chauffeur marking time (and moving it when shooed along by the traffic cops).

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Had a friend do that in the early 80’s he sold insulation, windows and aluminium siding door to door.

        Would hire students, etc to knock doors on either side of a street. He was based in the van done as a mobile office with a table, seats, portable TV with VCR.

        If they got a live one they would get him (no cell phones back then) and he would drive to the house, either go in or get the home owner to come into his office.

        He made a lot of money doing that and looked far more professional than the other companies trying the same thing with nothing more than a clipboard and some brochures.

  • avatar

    Long live the Seventies conversion van with shag carpeting, 8 track tape player cranking Boston or Steve Miller, CB radio and all. Long live the pre-downsizing, mid-Seventies Lincoln Town Car the size of a Mississippi river barge. Today’s automakers have totally dropped the ball by not producing anything as cool as this.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of Uncle Rico’s van from Napoleon Dynamite!

    I drove a dodge extended van for work for a brief time. The spare tire was sitting loose on the floor just inside the rear doors. I went over a big bump once and the extended portion of the van acted like a catapult to launch the spare tire & rim into the air. It landed back down with a tremendous crash. I thought I’d been rear- ended by the car behind me, but it was just the spare tire.

  • avatar

    In the early ’90s I was renting a room in a lady’s house in Seattle; these kind of houseshares were very popular with the Gen-Xers like me that were flocking to the city at the time. I met a lot of interesting people that way. One of my housemates was a middle-aged man recently retired from the Coast Guard and had nothing to do so he bought one of these-a pretty nice one for only $1000, and decided to see America.

    I gave him my copy of William Least Heat Moon’s “Blue Highways”, a book written by someone who did just that, and wished him a happy journey.

    Right now I’m rereading “Blue Highways” and wishing that I could chuck it all and see America again-I did it twice; when I had no ties.

  • avatar

    Landmark shoulda sprung for the quad-square headlight grille, which I’m pretty sure was available in ’79.

  • avatar
    formula m

    My friend was buying a new Cadillac CTS from me and was trying to put together a good amount for a down payment. So I mentioned the cash for clunkers rebate of $1500 on the CTS. Well he shows up with a 83 Dodge Ram Converstion van his uncle gave him and some buddies for a roadtrip the year before. It had a ninja turtle shell painted on the roof and the DODGE RAM letters were flipped and rearranged to say RAW DOG… Bad ass!

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Hey! That’s my old van! The one I lived in…

    …down by the river!

    What the world needs now is a conversion Dajiban!

  • avatar

    Growing up I saw a lot of conversion vans, my best friend’s family had one as did all of his extended family. I thought I’d seen it all until I helped load groceries into a conversion Suburban.

    Seeing all that tucked velvet and a dozen oak cupholders in a Suburban changed my world.

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