By on April 20, 2015
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Photo courtesy of Explorer Vans.

Hillary Clinton has gotten at least a little bit of publicity for her presidential campaign-launching trip across America in a conversion van she’s nicknamed “Scooby”, apparently after the Scooby Doo cartoon show’s Mystery Machine. While the van has had high visibility as Clinton’s made seemingly impromptu stops – like at a Chipotle restaurant and more staged campaign events while pundits have discussed the strategy and symbolism of Mrs. Clinton’s road trip – little attention in the general media has been paid to the van itself.

As a matter of fact, even though there are scores of photos and videos of the van, it took me a while to identify the company that converted the Chevy in press photos and videos, Explorer Vans. As she says she hasn’t driven a car herself in almost two decades, it’s probably a stretch to say that Hillary is a car enthusiast, but she does seem to like her Explorer Vans. This is her third.

2890648944

Hillary Clinton’s first Explorer Van, from her campaign for the U.S. Senate. Note the black Secret Service SUV in her motorcade and what is likely a bus filled with journalists in the background.

Well, technically speaking, it’s her second. The first was a GMC based van used in her campaign for the U.S. Senate seat from New York state. The third was purchased not by Mrs. Clinton but rather by U.S. taxpayers: a bulletproof version that Explorer Vans built in-house, working with military vendor BAE, for Clinton’s use while serving as U.S. Secretary of State. So far, that’s the only armored version the van in the company’s history, though some customers have had their vans armored by other firms. It’s not clear what, if any, security and protective devices have been installed in “Scooby”, which looks to be always trailed by a black Chevy SUV filled with the Secret Service detail that is assigned to the former First Lady.

IMG_0226

While some of Mrs. Clinton’s critics have described the van as luxurious, and Explorer Van’s sales manager described it to me as a “loaded Limited SE model”, he also said that most of its products are used as family vehicles, not executive limousines.

A fully equipped Chevrolet-based Explorer Van runs about $66,000. You can configure your own Explorer Van and check out the standard features and options here. Considering how many of America’s moms are carpooling kids to school in $40-50K Lexus RXes and Audi Q5s, Hillary’s van hardly seems extravagant. She’s traveling comfortably I’m sure, but I’ve reviewed Audis and Jaguars that were more luxurious and exclusive.

IMG_0231

Explorer Van’s sales rep in Michigan directed me to Les Stanford Chevrolet in Dearborn, their nearest dealer to me. The Chevy store had a couple of Explorer Limited SEs in stock and salesman William Blakely graciously gave me access for some photographs. Yes, it does have a decent sized flatscreen television, but it’s not anything close to sybaritic luxury. The seats are leather upholstered, but the second row has standard captain’s chairs and not the airliner first class style seats with footrests like you’d see in the back of long wheelbase luxury cars in China, the new Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach, or in a Japanese domestic market executive van like the Toyota Alphard.

IMG_0218

One thing that isn’t very luxurious is the high step-up into the van. Like Mrs. Clinton, I’m a grandparent and my creaky knees complained as I climbed into the passenger compartment. Some of her political opponents have already made it clear that they’ll make her age an issue in both the primary and general elections, should she be nominated. So far she hasn’t seemed to have any problem getting in or out of the van, so perhaps she’s more spry than her critics would have us believe.

IMG_0236

In any case, the fact that she’s a return customer for Explorer Vans humanizes her in my eyes, even if I may have some skepticism about political road trips. Speaking of campaign road trips, the tour buses that Mrs. Clinton and other presidential hopefuls will likely use later on in their campaigns will be far more luxurious than even a high-end conversion van like an Explorer. Those rock star conveyances cost ten times what the Explorer conversion van costs (or more) and they’re more luxurious than most Americans’ homes, let alone their cars.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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144 Comments on “Hillary Clinton’s Explorer Van “Scooby”...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    While humility isn’t generally a strong point of political candidates, a front-runner like Ms. Clinton using such an non-ostentatious vehicle, even at this point early in the campaign, I think qualifies as a show of restraint.

    (That said, I would have painted it some other color than jet-black… you half-expect an “extraction team” to spring out of the doors of that thing to pluck some citizen off the streets like in the movies. At least colorful decal with a campaign logo on it might be nice.)

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Bad juju… looks like a van for handicapped.

  • avatar

    The critics should concentrate on Hillary’s endorsement of alcohol fuel in Iowa, and her endorsement, during the ’08 election, of a summer-long gas tax holiday after the price of the magic fuel breached $4, rather than this van, which looks no more luxurious than a decent intercity bus, or her age. She does have a bad tendency to pander (and I say that as someone who will probably end up voting for her, unenthusiastically, in ’16).

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/the-candidates-choice

    I would not be surprised, however, if she has no trouble climbing into the van. My father played tennis until a stroke stopped him, at 81, and my paternal uncle played squash until atrial fibrillation stopped him at 84.

    And Brian Boru, king of Ireland, and the progenitor of all the world’s O’briens, was at least in his 70s, and possibly in his 80s when he was killed in battle on April 23, 1014.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Boru

  • avatar
    RHD

    This is sure to be criticized by Limbaugh and others of his ilk, but no mention will be made of the Lear jets used by the Republican candidates.
    Personally, the year and a half of presidential campaigns gets very old very soon. Wouldn’t it be nice if it only lasted, say, 90 days?
    That said, the Explorer van almost certainly has some security upgrades, and they can watch Spongebob when they get bored of looking at the Midwest corn fields.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Yeah, let’s get an actual accounting of the jet A bills before we go making partisan attacks shall we, Mr. Gore?

      Also, while we are attacking the livelihood of honest, hardworking Americans who build, fly, and service airplanes, how about you tell us all what YOU do for a living so we can demonize it next? If you think you are safe, you are not. Your industry can easily become collateral damage in the next witch hunt.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Did anyone notice that the article said we bought this Sandusky wagon for Hillary? It was a keepsake from her time as the worst secretary of state until Kerry.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          See, this guy gets it.

        • 0 avatar
          Mr. K

          Quote without comment

          CJinSD Said:

          “Did anyone notice that the article said we bought this Sandusky wagon for Hillary? It was a keepsake from her time as the worst secretary of state until Kerry.”

          From the Story about the van by the good Mr. Schreiber:

          “…Well, technically speaking, it’s her second. The first was a GMC based van used in her campaign for the U.S. Senate seat from New York state. The third was purchased not by Mrs. Clinton but rather by U.S. taxpayers: a bulletproof version that Explorer Vans built in-house, working with military vendor BAE, for Clinton’s use while serving as U.S. Secretary of State. …”

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Does it really matter what she uses in her campaign?

            One she gets elected President she’ll get an armoured Suburban and AirForce One.

            Everything will be Scotch-Guarded for when Bill gets to take Interns on tour ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          If a former First Lady is supposed to get a special van, then I won’t begrudge her for it. Lousy job, let them have the perks.

          I think PCH already made the point that a bus is likely what a candidate needs, and I am wondering why that’s not what they have.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            She just announced her campaign, and the first primaries are in January.

            The buses will be needed for the staffers and the press corps. For now, she can travel light, but that won’t last.

            All of the candidates can be expected to use buses and private aircraft. Their schedules are too tight and their security needs too high to fly commercial, and the US is too large to not include air travel in a campaign. I can’t fault the candidates in either party for that.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I bet there turns out to be more to it, but you may be correct.

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          +10, CJinSD!

          The buses will be needed when the bodies start being thrown under. The front-end alignment on vans has proven to be problematic in this respect.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      You mean the same Limbaugh who owns a Gulfstream G550? I don’t think he can cast many stones at this from that standpoint. Besides, a $70,000 van is a drop in the bucket in our broken political system.

      As a former corporate/charter pilot, I’ve got no problem with private jets. Those airplanes are used at least 90% of the time for business use, they’re too darn expensive to have as toys.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Did the taxpayers buy Rush his jet?

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        gearhead77 Daid:

        “…As a former corporate/charter pilot, I’ve got no problem with private jets. Those airplanes are used at least 90% of the time for business use, they’re too darn expensive to have as toys.”

        In addition biz planes (I’m including the TBM’s, the PC12’s, and the King Air (in production in one form or another since 1964), and other prop jets most of which can perform as well if not better then light and even medium pure jets in real world conditions where the altitude that jets need for efficient and speedy operation is not immediately available) are more efficient in moving a group of say six people from one secondary airport, say Teterboro (just west of NYC) or North East Philadelphia(10 miles North of Center City) to say Dupage (less then an hour west of Chicago) or, say, Nashville.

        The party can leave when it suits them rather then when it suits the airlines hub and spoke system, the party can work on the ground just as they could if they were members of airline clubs at the FBO.

        The party can meet and work en route with no worry about who might be listening and will have minimal problems with both voice and data communication.

        The total cost for the charter will be reasonably competitive with the total cost for business class scheduled air and in all likelihood trips that will require an overnight on a scheduled carrier due to scheduling can have the group back to their origin airport the same day enabling the enterprise to gain an additional days efficient output from critical personal.

        Goodwin warning:
        Hitler used business aviation in his campaign for chancellor; are we to be surprised Clinton, Paul, Rubido, Walker, Bush and whomever else do?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’d be wary of planes if I was a candidate and my last name wasn’t Clinton or Bush. I’d hate to have an accident on the campaign trail.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Oh, yes… on the Democrat-side, young politicians (e.g., members of Congress) will NOT run against this Clinton Machine as they know they will be destroyed on a personal and political-career basis.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Can we – and I realize the answer is “No,” but I figured I’d at least ask – reserve that first sentence for Politico?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Personally, the year and a half of presidential campaigns gets very old very soon. Wouldn’t it be nice if it only lasted, say, 90 days?”

      Easy way to accomplish that – enact real campaign finance reform. Take some of the money out and the campaigns get shorter, and might focus on – GASP – actual issues, versus who can air the most ridiculous TV ads.

      Said it before and I’ll say it again: Citizens United will go down as one of the five worst SCOTUS decisions of all time, right up there with Dred Scott. It needs to go…now.

      • 0 avatar
        Sobro

        The Solicitor General (that’s the FEC’s lawyer, essentially) said in oral argument on Citizens United that the FEC could ban books within three months of an election if it deemed that book an “illegal” campaign contribution. If you like censorship and book burning by unelected commissions and hate the First Amendment, then Citizens United was one of the five worst SCOTUS decisions of all time.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>Said it before and I’ll say it again: Citizens United will go down as one of the five worst SCOTUS decisions of all time, right up there with Dred Scott. It needs to go…now<<

        Sounds like you don't know what the case was all about. And the problem with people trying to influence government will only increase as government power increases. Such "reform" is not an answer, but a diversion from that real problem.

        The van was all Potemkin village, this is a real issue
        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/20/us/politics/new-book-clinton-cash-questions-foreign-donations-to-foundation.html

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “but no mention will be made of the Lear jets used by the Republican candidates.”

      Lear jets? Poor. You’d be lucky if they were flying those heaps.

    • 0 avatar
      jetcal1

      Geez RHD,
      No self-respecting candidate is going to fly around in a Learjet. Too small and plebian. They will at least fly in a Global, Gulfstream or Dassault. The really big bucks will go for a BBJ or ACJ. Course there was the private 747-8 that I saw that was purchased for the exclusive use of a teenage daughter a few years ago.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The build quality of these hand-upfitted interiors was an improvement over OEM until sometime in the ’80s but is far, far behind now. It really looks like something put together in a hobbyist’s garage.

    That said, it looks like a reasonably comfortable way to pass a bunch of miles if you absolutely require American build from start to finish and don’t want to spend the money for a custom motorcoach.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Agreed. I looked at these pictures and thought to myself, “meh.”

      I can get the sticker price – heck you can tickle $45K in a Kia minivan today that isn’t even AWD, so another $20K for a fullsize full on maxxed out conversion doesn’t seem out of touch with reality.

      But there is nothing in these pics that makes me go, “ooooooooooo….ahhhhhhhhhhh,” looks like something a high end stereo shop could pull off.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        The Sprinter makes a much better starting point, at least from a refinement point of view. I’m sure that will change with the Transit replacing the fossilized E-series and maybe the Promaster will renew the Dodge aspect.

        There’s usually big money off on these, so a high-end minivan and a more mild conversion might be not be as far off in price.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’ve spent extensive time in a Gladiator Chevrolet conversion, and it’s very much a wood panel and silicone type conversion. Not very good at all.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      It’s the intercity-bus-like headroom and overhead compartments that set this van apart from a bone-stock full-size van and make it a nice workplace.

      Also, while you can upgrade to a nice set of leather captains chairs in a all of the mainstream minivans, you can’t get them at all in any of the full-size vans.
      In fact, you can spend over $60,000 fully optioning a passenger Express or Transit, and you’ll still have cloth bench seats in the back.

      So while yes, the appointments aren’t anything more special than in a $35,000 Sienna XLE… the conversion van’s freedom of movement, headroom, and accessible storage space can’t be had in a minivan for any price.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “the appointments aren’t anything more special than in a $35,000 Sienna XLE”

        The appointments are a good deal worse in terms of build and material quality and refinement. The feature boxes are all checked, but the final result looks like someone’s hobby project. Surely they could design panels that don’t expose metal, armrests that don’t flop, proper speaker grilles, and a nicer solution for finishing the side/top joint than puffy vinyl.

  • avatar

    I think the luxury in this is less the vehicle itself and more the fact that someone else is being paid to drive it. Many Americans may be able to afford – or at least get a loan for – a similarly priced vehicle, but few could afford a driver – let alone a driver and a security detail.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Excuse me, but why would an average American need a driver and a security detail? Unlike political candidates for high office and former first ladies, we’re not targets of extremists.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Tell that to all the people this regime has terrorized with the IRS and the EPA.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Really? Terrorised means fearing your head will be cut off, or you blown up. Not having a weak IRS audit some citizens (which they have done through all administrations).

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Instructing the “weak IRS” to prosecute political enemies is not a hallmark of previous administrations.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Sad to see how many people have no clue nor an interest in learning enough to have one as to what went on in the IRS targeting of specific organizations. This sort of thing was one of the reasons articles of impeachment were going to be applied to Richard Nixon before he resigned.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think we still sort of had a country back then (and a free press, accountability, borders, somewhat educated citizens etc). Now not so much.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Politics always makes this place go off the rails.

            Here’s the process of forming a non-profit corporation in the US.

            -First, you form a for-profit corporation in the state of your choosing.

            -Then, you apply to the IRS to receive non-profit status. (This can take awhile and may not be easy, as there more than a few people who try to form dubious not-for-profits. Some segments are more prone to abuse than others.)

            The IRS isn’t “targeting” organizations by reviewing them for appropriate non-profit status — it is specifically their job to review them before the fact. Every single non-profit applicant in the United States gets reviewed.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I’m thinking terrorized applies to losing your property without due process especially when the rules are so inscrutable.

        • 0 avatar
          GMat

          And the Folks who just wanted to run a marathon in Boston

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          I denounce myself, CJinSD, for berating you in the past for your constant aspersions cast at all things Fiat. Rock on, dude!

      • 0 avatar
        John

        Umm – yes we are – Boston Marathon, 9/11/, Oklahoma City, World Trade Center truck bomb – all ordinary folks targeted by extremists. Last US politician target was R. Reagan, and his attacker was more mentally ill than extremist.

        Of course, Hillary was shot at by snipers in Afghanistan…

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          No those were Bosnian snipers, but a definate plus to be called out on her lie by Sinbad (points for faded celebrity reference?)

          “Politics always makes this place go off the rails.

          Here’s the process of forming a non-profit corporation in the US.

          -First, you form a for-profit corporation in the state of your choosing.

          -Then, you apply to the IRS to receive non-profit status. (This can take awhile and may not be easy, as there more than a few people who try to form dubious not-for-profits. Some segments are more prone to abuse than others.)

          The IRS isn’t “targeting” organizations by reviewing them for appropriate non-profit status — it is specifically their job to review them before the fact. Every single non-profit applicant in the United States gets reviewed.”

          The IRS specifically targeted any “conservative” or “tea party-related” groups… they’ve admitted as much, that is not even up for discussion. Reviews don’t normally take 2 to 3 years and laws were broken when emails were “lost” and servers destroyed.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It would seem that the malaise in your handle extends to your research skills.

            501(c)(4)’s are allowed to engage in political activity, but the majority of what they do is supposed to be apolitical.

            So when an organization’s mission appears to be primarily political, then it should be denied non-profit status.

            The irony, of course, is that you yourself labeled them as “conservative,” which makes it clear that they are shams. If you’re going to whine about welfare, then you should unhappy that such groups want to operate with tax breaks. Non-profit status is a relief from income taxes; if you love them so much, then have them avoid the non-profit request and have them pay taxes.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            here’s a clue, PCH… it’s free, one time only

            “In a letter sent late Wednesday and released Thursday, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said that just 30 percent of groups with the word “progressive” in their name were put through special scrutiny for tax-exempt applications, but 100 percent of groups with “tea party,” “patriot” or “9/12” in their name were subjected to invasive questioning.

            “TIGTA concluded that inappropriate criteria were used to identify potential political cases for extra scrutiny — specifically, the criteria listed in our audit report. From our audit work, we did not find evidence that the criteria you identified, labeled “Progressives,” were used by the IRS to select potential political cases during the 2010 to 2012 time frame we audited,” Mr. George said.”

            http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/27/irs-auditor-reaffirms-conservatives-not-liberals-w/?page=all

            and no one was whining “about welfare” but nice attempt at a straw man…

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            This has nothing to do with the rules or the process, as you know PCH.

            The issue was abuse of power. It’s over, there was abuse. Expect Ms.Lerner to get her pardon after the next election and before the next president.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The abuse here is your demand for tax breaks that are inappropriate. Go form a for-profit and suck it up.

            And quoting the Washington Times as a source only makes you look like a dupe.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I am a lawyer who works with tax-exempt organizations for a living.

            There are two things that are completely baffling about the trumped-up IRS “scandal.” The first is that 501(c)(4)s don’t even need to get an IRS determination. It’s purely optional. The second is that these groups wouldn’t have any net income even if they operated as taxable corporations, so they wouldn’t pay tax. They spend everything they bring in on their activities. So tax-exempt status really doesn’t matter.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            “And quoting the Washington Times as a source only makes you look like a dupe.”

            Your inability to accept the results of Inspector General George’s investigation into the matter shows an unflattering bias that – if not racial in nature – at the very least, borders on the moronic.

            http://thehill.com/policy/finance/308131-ig-liberal-groups-not-targeted-like-tea-party

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The inability to know the difference between the Washington Times and a reliable news outlet speaks poorly out of you.

            Just because it has a domain name and takes up bytes on a webpage does not mean that it is worth a damn.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            The times is no more partisan than the post. Besides that, attacking the source rather than the facts is weak sauce.

            The point still stands. It was abuse of power no matter how you slice it. Even if the organizations should not have qualified, the choice to look specifically for groups that the party in power doesn’t like for partisan, ideological, or career reasons ought to land all concerned in jail.

            However, it’s worse. Most of them actually qualified and I would bet most have now been approved.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you can’t figure out that some sources are better than others, then that explains a lot.

            The ability to know a good source from a bad one is something that you should have learned in high school in the process of writing research papers. I would no sooner rely upon the Washington Times as an authority as I would Pravda.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Somewhat sad to see weak-minded individuals feel the need to fall back on ad hominem attacks and straw man arguments. Sad but amusing, to a certain extent.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Yes, you’re just a poor victim. Unfortunately, your research skills are the casualty.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Free clue offer is hereby rescinded. You just can’t help yourself, lol.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            There’s more…

            http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/2/irs-ordered-to-release-list-of-targeted-tea-party-/

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you were a stock, I would short you.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            By coincidence I was just speculating that your girlfriend has undoubtedly grown weary of you “shorting” her, pch.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Classic PCH. Pedantry, condescension, rudeness, and logical fallacy all wrapped into a single post!

          The Times and Post are both partisan. As you likely know, this means you can’t just take everything they say at face value. It doesn’t mean they are always incorrect.

          Not only are our posts judged by academic standards, they aren’t judged by you. That’s all good because both standards are lacking.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            When offered another source (“The Hill”) of the same info, he falls back on insults… and not even amusing ones. But his back was against the wall, what else could he do?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I just can’t take you seriously. Go type “Moonies” into your favorite search engine, and note the direct linkage to the Washington Times.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            So what’s your point, PCH?

            Can you actually string together an argument here, or do you just want to state factoids and act like you can?

            I could make your argument. Anyone who can’t should not have a degree, but many do. The thing is, you just can’t connect the dots. So sad.

            Btw, the New York Times takes them seriously, so you are now in contradiction with the voice of your gods.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Ouch! Shorty’ll be licking that wound for a while…

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I can’t help it if you miss the obvious.

            If you can’t figure out how to assess the credibility or lack thereof of a source, then you will continue to believe the sort of nonsense and conspiracy theories that you do. You’re so far behind that you can’t even figure out that it matters.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Lol, and there it is.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Funny…I keep hearing of arrests in which the person arrested plans to target a Military Installation. As I currently call one home that would sort of make me a target. I’m quite comfortable driving myself around, just wish I could do so carrying my pistol.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Oh I’m popping up a big old bowl of popcorn for this thread.

    This should be good!

    crunch, crunch, crunch…

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Now that she’s a candidate, this will probably be replaced by a bus.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    “So far she hasn’t seemed to have any problem getting in or out of the van, so perhaps she’s more spry than her critics would have us believe.”

    “Is Granny Spry?” – Billy Bob Thornton in “Bad Santa”

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    My Dad did not want a minivan when they appeared or a station wagon. But with my brother and sister and I, a sedan was not cutting it.

    So they bought a 1984 Econoline E-150 with a mild Elkhart conversion. Regular roof, no TV, but Flexsteel swivel captains chairs in the second row and a manual fold down sofa in the back. 351 powered with a 3 spd auto. Beige as beige can be, with brown interior.

    That van served us well for a few family trips and any time the 5 of us needed to so somewhere. It served limited use as a daily driver, it was just too big and only about 11mpg city or highway (confirmed with the EPA website)

    I have a soft spot for these things because of that. There’s very little these vans don’t do better than any SUV at the price, as long as you take off-roading out of the picture (but they make those too). A well done conversion, is infinitely more comfortable and usable than any large SUV in my opinion, especially for highway use.

    The problem is image, more so than the minivan. No one wants these because of the 60’s and 70’s van customization fad. Anyone with a Sawzall and a JC Whitney catalog could turn a van into a rolling bedroom/drug pad. If that was your thing, fine, to each his own. But I imagine anytime you bring large van conversion into the picture, that’s what most people think of.

    Combine that with the lack of refinement in the base vehicle (and it’s interior bits), the hugeness of the van and it’s no wonder they aren’t popular. The Sprinter (and now Transit, possibly Promaster) might change some of that, but these are still large vehicles and they won’t fit in many garages, parking or otherwise.

    It won’t fit in my garage and that (and the size) is a dealbreaker for the wife. There’s usually big money off on these things too, not uncommon to see $10,000 off.

    The “executive” versions done to the Sprinter chassis are really impressive.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Morehead Design Lab near Asheville NC does some pretty cool Sprinter conversions for passenger, toy hauler, and camping use. I’d be happy to own one if it fit my needs.

      http://www.moreheaddesignlab.com/id2.html

  • avatar
    RS

    Explorer Vans should think about capitalizing on a new line-up of ‘Pandering’ vans. Perfect for those candidates who try to make themselves look like something they aren’t while making promises the won’t keep.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I like ’em. The depreciation is epic too – that new $60,000 van will be under $20,000 by the time that it hits 50,000 miles judging by what I can dig up online.

    I thought about one just for road tripping. I wouldn’t want to even turn the key unless I was going to drive the sucker 300 miles or more.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Tell this to my grandparents. They paid so much for theirs new, that they think it -must- still be worth a lot.

      Me: “Sorry grandpa, nobody wants big old conversion vans.”

      Grandma (interjecting): “But it will do about 23 miles to the gallon on the highway!”

      *facepalm*

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        That’s why the best place to find one of these is either CL or auto dealers who frequent estate sales.

        Dealers in Florida away seem to be well stocked.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Nobody has ever sat on the seats in theirs, as my grandma made custom covers for it immediately which have never come off.

          “Don’t wanna ruin the fabric!”

  • avatar
    CB1000R

    I was in an LDR a few years back, and my girlfriend suggested buying a conversion van for I-95 rendezvous. While I loved the suggestion, I thought hotels/motels might be a bit more practical, but she considered that cheap or unseemly. Go figure.

    Never got the van, but the CL ads and epic depreciation that P.Dan mentioned still makes it tempting to get one for family camping or long haul trips. Oh, and lowering my neighbor’s property values.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m reminded of Gov Brown’s previous stint as a California governor and using a generic Plymouth. They criticized him for not being dignified. There is always something we can find to vilify our elected officials. Which of course is what America great, that we can say these things without fear of being shot.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Tell it to the conservatives in Wisconsin, Fred. SWAT-like raids due to their support for Gov. Walker. If those brownshirt tactics had been employed against people who hold liberal views, Hollywood would already have a film on screen and film critics, MSM and lefty political pundits (but I repeat myself) would be defecating all over themselves in the rush to praise it and start the Oscar buzz…

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        I’m not sure I understand your comment, my point is your political enemies are always going to find something to point fingers out, no matter your inclinations.

        • 0 avatar

          Fred, you can search on the topic of John Doe warrants in Wisconsin, what appear to be politically motivated fishing expeditions using police raids on private homes.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Yep, Ronnie, and the folks who are responsible may soon be paying a price for their heinous acts. Liberal fascism at its worst… at least to this point.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            Ronnie, OK I took a brief look, but frankly I have enough problems with my own legislature to worry about Wisconsin politics. Just wish they would all work as hard on the real issues as they do the petty.

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          Here’s some assistance, Fred http://www.nationalreview.com/article/417155/wisconsins-shame-i-thought-it-was-home-invasion-david-french

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          “For the family of “Rachel” (not her real name), the ordeal began before dawn – with the same loud, insistent knocking. Still in her pajamas, Rachel answered the door and saw uniformed police, poised to enter her home.
          When Rachel asked to wake her children herself, the officer insisted on walking into their rooms. The kids woke to an armed officer, standing near their beds.

          The entire family was herded into one room, and there they watched as the police carried off their personal possessions, including items that had nothing to do with the subject of the search warrant – even her daughter’s computer.

          And, yes, there were the warnings. Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t talk to anyone about this. Don’t tell your friends. The kids watched – alarmed – as the school bus drove by, with the students inside watching the spectacle of uniformed police surrounding the house, carrying out the family’s belongings. Yet they were told they couldn’t tell anyone at school.

          They, too, had to remain silent. The mom watched as her entire life was laid open before the police. Her professional files, her personal files, everything. She knew this was all politics. She knew a rogue prosecutor was targeting her for her political beliefs.

          And she realized, “Every aspect of my life is in their hands. And they hate me.” “

  • avatar
    jkross22

    She’s a politician and is focused on perceptions. At least as far as choice of vehicles goes. The rest of her baggage indicates she has no clue on how people perceive her.

    That being said, with so much to criticize about Clinton, this van doesn’t make the list.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “She’s traveling comfortably I’m sure, but I’ve reviewed Audis and Jaguars that were more luxurious and exclusive.”

    Them furr’n makes won’t do, mister.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I wonder if the CRV driver knew he was in the middle of such a convoy.

  • avatar
    jrmason

    I would be seriously surprised if this van wasn’t transported or driven to H’s campaign cities/towns while she flies in in her private jet and gets picked up from the nearest airport. I just can’t see her (or any presidential candidate) traveling across country in a semi cramped conversion van. Even a full blown bus would be pushing the envelope for time constraint reasons alone, but at least she would have her own restroom/shower,fridge, and bed to lounge around while her team of drivers ran non stop between cities. This just doesn’t seem believable to me.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You’re thinking about the sort of budget campaigns have in the general election cycle or *maybe* right before the key primaries. They don’t have that kind of money a year and a half out. She’s riding around the Midwest in that van, eating a lot of bad food, and staying in the nicer sort of motels. All the Republicans are doing the same thing.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    I’m only surprised that she didn’t opt for one in Benghazi Burgundy…

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I will vote for her if she affixes either a “Gas, Grass, or Ass…Nobody rides for Free” or “If This Vans a rockin’, don’t bother knockin” bumper sticker. I’ll vote straight Democrat down the ticket if she adds a circle window and a Martian Aztec Mural. Brown Paint, Shag, and a set of General Lee rims gets my voe for life. Every vote counts Hillary!

    Interesting she calls it her Scooby Van…I thought it was Bill that was known to partake of the “Scooby Snacks”.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    really really dated if you know what scooby really meant…..back then.If you can remember ….man.
    perhaps ‘ol Hill sparks up a few reefers on the road between gigs?
    I wonder if it will soon sport a “free candy” sign too ?

  • avatar
    wmba

    Scooby means Subaru to me.

    scoobynet.com
    scoobyworld.co.uk
    scoobyparts.com

    etc.

    Some old van seems not to merit the appellation, but I suppose it’s a foreigner thing.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    She should’ve gone for shag carpet, too. Of course at this point, what difference would it make?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also FWIW, I have always felt the GM vans took much better to conversion than either the Ford E’s or the RAM ones.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      This is a little off topic but:

      The Ford is a product of being a zillion years old and, to me, it got ugly when they slapped that Super Duty front end on them. I’ve ridden in numerous hotel shuttles (and driven) the GM vans, the Ford and the Sprinter. The Ford still drives and rides like the old van it is ( last major underpinnings in 1992?) and the ride in the heavy 250 and 350 versions can be punishing.

      The GM vans drive and ride better, but then you’ve got your typical GM issues of overwhelming cheapness in the inside. But I think they ride on the truck platform from two generations ago, so they are much better on road than the Fords.

      The Sprinter drives like you’d expect something with a three pointed star to drive. It’s smooth, it’s tight and pretty quiet (at least with a diesel). It rides very well. Problems are those typical of Mercedes products and rust. They just can’t keep corrosion under control with that van, something the Germans usually get right.

      I know many of these points are lost on your typical “white van man” buyers, who just need a big box on wheels to ply their trade. But it might be a reason the conversion vans haven’t found much love compared to 50k+ SUV’s. Maybe the new Transit and Promaster can help, especially with the Promaster being front drive.

      You may now resume your FOX vs MSNBC quarrel…

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Honestly, it’s extremely early in the campaign season so sticking to smaller subdued vehicles is probably a better strategy than anything rather than blaring around the midwest in a bus wrapped with your face on it. I skipped over much of the B&B remarks but they seem remarkably restrained and actually on point, good job guys. :D

    Anyways, it is an interesting choice but if you think about the Clinton’s have long been about keeping it subdued, never flashing great wealth and really until Clinton’s post-presidential speaking tours they were actually rather poor (and on par with Pres. Obama and his leaving office wealth). But I imagine we’ll see the van disappear sometime in late November or December in favor of the big tour coach when the heavy hitting starts. It really comes down to if Hillary gets a formidable challenger in the Democratic primary that makes her step up her campaign until the general. The Republican clown car is already filling up and whether you like them or hate them having that many candidates running actually hurts their chances as they try to eviscerate each other and run farther to the right to win the nomination, so expect big spending vehicles from them sooner rather than later.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I don’t know. From my recollection of the 90s Bill was fond of “flashing”. Ken Starr had this whole book about it. God its great to have them back in the news. I miss the 90s.

      Does this have the 4g LTE hotspot? Gotta stay up on that email Hill.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      The Republicans have several young, vital, fresh-faced folks to pick from. The Democrats have Hillary! and… well, Hillary! Desperation time for them, their bench is not deep. How low they’ve fallen… and now, they can’t get up.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        Bush vs. Clinton, the rematch. But seriously Francis, do you think America is ready for a Hispanic president? http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/jeb-bush-apologizes-marking-hispanic-voter-identification-mistake/story?id=30120196

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Yes, they’ve come a long way from Slick Willie’s El Camino Astro Turf-lined bed. He’s gone from trolling pick-up bars while vacationing in Florida to vacationing on his registered sex-offender friend Jeffrey Epstein’s sex slave island.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Poor? By the standard of? Compared to?

      Let’s be honest, they may have had a cash crunch, but even a balance sheet that didn’t cover the value of their brand and connections has to include pension which meant never worrying about soup lines.

      I think the real reason for Scooby will ultimately be revealed to be something mildly negative. Likely wanting to control the number of eyes, ears, and mouths down to the most trusted and bearable.

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        Bingo! She doesn’t even dare risk an unscreened question being asked by an “average American” who hasn’t been hand-picked.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Yep. No room for press in the van. Not that they’ve ever asked her a tough question.

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          this seems to explain a lot…

          “A Hillary Clinton campaign official explained on Monday why her presidential advisers have brought pre-screened partisans to some events promoted as an opportunity for the former secretary of state to meet with ‘everyday Americans.’
          Just steps away in a Keene, New Hampshire bakery, a few run-of-the-mill people decided they didn’t want to be seen with her.

          ‘There was a bit of a thing back here when she came in,’ explained Marcia DuBois, a cashier at Kristin’s Bistro and Bakery on Washington Street, where Clinton spent a half-hour talking with customers and shaking hands.

          ‘A few of the staff didn’t want to come out to meet Hillary,’ DuBois said. ‘They just don’t like her.’”

    • 0 avatar

      “Rather poor”

      You actually wrote that? Before the former president and First Lady’s six figure speaking fees and the Clinton Foundation slush fund slash sinecure for Chelsea, when the Clintons left the White House they were facing the dire poverty of an eight figure book deal for Bill.

      • 0 avatar
        GeneralMalaise

        Heh… liberals don’t embarrass easy.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        I leave for the day and I come back to this…So I’ll summarize quickly:

        The Clintons left the white house technically broke. I also pointed out that compared to the other presidents in their period, namely Reagan and Bush I & II they were rather poor as the Bush oil money is vast. Just because they make more than you and I doesn’t make them rich on a presidential scale. Plus, I remember they entered the white house more or less broke. But that’s really the benefit of leveraging being the president for 8 years, isn’t it?

        As for the Democrats ‘only having Hillary’ is just pathetic. We have Warren, Sherrod, Sanders, Julian Castro, and a number of other players but the Dems have essentially let Hillary run free and will probably offer token resistance. The Republicans however I feel about them have a slim chance given their current choices:

        Walker – Can’t hope to win in Wisconsin let alone the states needed to get to 270. Koch backing will keep him in longer than he deserves and being anti-union really doesn’t sell well with the young voters you need.

        Paul – Done before he started, his enigma style of being a social conservative that maybe likes pot and doesn’t hate gays so much won’t get him a primary victory.

        Rubio – Cubans from Florida don’t win Mexican-American votes, weakest orator of the lot.

        Cruz – My money to win the nomination if Bush doesn’t get in there to steal it from him. Actually a fairly savvy operator but his policies are so terrible he’ll never survive a general with even a slightly moderate player. Cruz vs. Sanders would actually make Sanders look like a moderate which is why I think he’ll win the TP votes necessary to stay in it but still lose to Jeb as he has the Mittens aura of respectability.

        Jeb – Lets face it, he’s your only real candidate. He has some name recognition and he’ll make it look good losing.

        Basically the blue wall is what makes a Democrat a near lock to win the Presidency. Demographics going forward make any center-right president near impossible and while I know the rabid conservatives don’t want to believe basic facts like this it is what it is. 2014 put a fairly liberal senator in Virginia in office, that signals even worse news as Virginia moved from a swing state to leaning-Dem state making 270 damn near impossible as Republican need to run the table and get Virginia to win now pretty much. None of their candidates come even close to that level and I’ll eat my hat if it comes out differently but 2016 is shaping up to be the real flip of the Federal system. Scalia and Kennedy won’t live through 2020 and that will end the SC as the place where corporatists go get rulings that favor the rich.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          You almost lost me at “technically broke.” Technically being what you want it to be, sure, but a regular pension check higher than the median income means you must have a strained relationship with the word technically.

          Then, you act like oil money should shame someone. Is Al Gore ashamed.of his inheritance? Better money from value creation than influence peddling in my book, but maybe I am just old fashioned.

          I about quit when you claimed Walker can’t win Wisconsin. When gas he failed to win Wisconsin? I skimmed the rest. Seems you then try to pivot from being right to being inevitable. That’s the sort of spin the evil guy always tries before the good guy wins in almost every movie. Wow.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Basically the blue wall is what makes a Democrat a near lock to win the Presidency.”

          Basically DIEBOLD is what makes a Democrat a near lock to win the Presidency.

          Fixed it for you.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            I love your conspiracy theories, 28. Atleast they keep me entertained at night. By the way, last time I checked the major donors involved with diebold were all Republicans with Bush in 2004 being told by then CEO I believe of Diebold they would help him win. So, while I doubt there has been any major voter fraud except perhaps in 2004/12 for Ohio towards Republicans it is demographics that will trump.

            I genuinely won’t be holding my breathe when Hillary wins and you all eat crow but I will have a smile on my face when she or anybody who wins the Dem nomination easily cruises to victory.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Fact: Why is long retired Secy of State Kissinger still giving orders to the National Security Council as recently as 2009?

            “As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through Generaal Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today.”

            http://www.cfr.org/world/remarks-national-security-adviser-jones-45th-munich-conference-security-policy/p18515

            Fact: Why did the President really meet with Mikhail Gorbachev shortly after his inauguration in 2009?

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/03/23/us-russia-usa-gorbachev-idUSTRE52M2RG20090323

            Finally some conjecture: why has every President since Kennedy been either a fool, criminal, or both?

            Things are never as clear as they seem, reality is very murky.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            ” will have a smile on my face when she or anybody who wins the Dem nomination easily cruises to victory.”

            I have a question that I think I already know the answer to. Do you vote Democrat because that is your preferred party or because you feel they are the lesser of two evils?

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            I actually believe in the Democrats as a party. The lesser of two evils meme is the inevitable reality of realizing that nobody is going to be ideal and that too much capitalism has made both beholden to money but atleast one is only partially locked in while the other is built explicitly on it.

            As for 28 – You do understand that was metaphorical, right? Like Dr. Kissinger isn’t literally there it’s a reference to his political ideology’s staying power.

            Otherwise why wouldn’t Obama meet with a former leader of the USSR who has some clout with the old soviet hardliners? Seems like a political move made my a politician.

        • 0 avatar
          GeneralMalaise

          Koch Bros… Halliburton… Cheney… Bush lied…

          Just how delusional are these folks on the left? The unmitigated disaster of the last 6 years of unparalleled incompetence be damned… Again, liberals don’t embarrass easy.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            GM, they build a delusion tent, sew it up, and reside in it. Power is derived from snarling self-righteousness.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            It’s ALL identity politics with Democrats. When you hear the shallow sloganeering of the Democrats, look for the moral choices and paths that lay behind them. They don’t wish to talk about that and are never asked to by their media colluders, aka Democrats with bylines.

            Warren… a person who while in college, claimed a 1/64th Cherokee heritage to obtain favored status and a leg-up on honest contemporaries. Bernie Sanders, who has as much chance of being elected President as Xeranar does. Sherrod Brown… same status.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    The Clintons also at one time had his&hers specially outfitted Ford Escape Hybrids.

  • avatar
    TrenchFoot

    Anyone interested in discussing the van?

    I’m surprised to see she’s rolling in a half-ton. I’d expect the upfitter industry to start with the 2500 considering the weight they’re likely to add. This is proof to me that her current van probably didn’t get any serious armoring and is a plain Jane conversion van: more cupholders, speakers and better seats.

    The 6-lug wheels are a giveaway that this van could be years old, it’s the talltale sign that it’s a 1500. GM ended production of these a year ago, so this could still have been a new purchase: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/cafe-strikes-again-as-gm-kills-off-1500-series-vans/

    I’ve driven plenty of 1500 and 2500 Express vans and without a doubt, you want to be driving a 2500 with the 6.0 liter if you have any extra weight to schlep around. And that’s assuming you don’t need to make any evasive maneuvers.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Two things:

    – I have learned that only two words can turn otherwise-reasonable men into mouth-foaming, angry, gun-toting,freedom-screaming, conspiracy-spouting members of the He-Man Woman Haters Club: Hillary Clinton

    – No offense, but some of you guys (and it does seem to be all guys) might benefit from spending less time on the inter webs.

    Of course the same is true of me.


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