Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Econoline Custom 200 Van

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1970 ford econoline custom 200 van

The second-generation Ford Econoline van abandoned the forward-control layout of its mid-engined predecessor and was a big sales success. I still see these vans in junkyards (in fact, I found one in Sweden last year), but I tend to photograph only the most hantavirus-laden campers, attractively weathered window vans, or Chlamydia-enhanced customs. I saw this workhorse cargo Econoline (the technical term, coined by angry neighbors, for a featureless Detroit van with no windows is “Molester Van” or “Free Candy Van”) in a Denver yard recently, and it seemed like a good time to shoot this worn-out piece of van history.

It appears that someone might have been living down by the river in this Econoline, based on the shag carpeting and insulation.

The driver’s door top hinge broke, was rewelded, and then broke again. This may have been the camel-back-breaking straw that sent this van to The Crusher.

I had no idea that Econolines came with the slide-out-step option, like my Dodge A100. These things are cool, but also a shin-bashing hassle.

Stickers with grenade logos are very popular these days. Anybody have an idea of what FS! stands for?

So much better than a forward-control van!

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  • 415s30 415s30 on Jun 17, 2015

    I saw one that same color going towards the golden gate the other day, so cool. I don't know if you covered it Murilee but that lot of Citroen in Denver is up for sale.

  • VolandoBajo VolandoBajo on Jun 25, 2015

    Once owned an early and even more primitive version of these things: a 55 GMC 3/4 ton panel truck, BOF, or more precisely, Body still predominantly on the Frame, bought cheap from a co-worked to have something to haul my British motorcycle and to sleep in at race weekends. Stiffest shocks in the Western Hemisphere. Rattled and banged incessantly. Finally bought a then-fashionable among hippies, etc., set of brass bells, called Bells of Sarna, and hung them on a cord across the middle of the van. Then when you hit a bump, you had both a rhythm section and some melody, not quite so nerve-wracking. And when it threw a bottom pulley on a Saturday morning, on my way to my reserve unit drill, a country mechanic priced a GMC pulley for me, for over a hundred 1960's dollars, probably worth several hundred dollars today. Ouch! Then he taught me something that has stayed with me all my life: he called a nearby Chevy dealer, and ordered the same part under a different part number. Cost, about fifteen dollars or so. When I, in my youthful naiveta, asked why the difference, he said that GMC division had much more overheard, and a lower sales volume to allocate that overhead to, hence their markup on identical parts was much higher. But whether it was one of those monster panel trucks, or one of the Econolines of slightly later, they were a motorcycle rider's best friend, especially if you rode a motorcycle that used British-made Lucas electrics. Those electrical parts were so famous for outages that British bike riders (Norton, Triumph, BSA, even one Matchless) referred to Lucas as the Prince of Darkness. But the GMC truck taught me a good bit about cost vs. value in automobiles, and the Norton taught me how to diagnose and repair electrical problems. I had about a thousand dollars total in those two used vehicles, but got my money's worth in education. After that GMC truck, my first VW Bus, a 66, seemed like a luxury car. A lot of miles and a lot of roads since then. But still, lessons learned and fun times had. But the nicest more or less barebones van of that era that I recall was a Corvair van that belonged to two brothers in a local band. Modest interior, but very roadworthy. I wish they still made more of those inexpensive box vans. Or maybe they do, and I just haven't looked for them very much. But I think one with a bit of towing capacity might work better than a pickup truck for my son's mowing and snow removal business. Seems like all the ones I see now are full of windows, rows of seats, etc. Never just a box with a couple of side doors, and a couple of seats in the front. Sort of an American, higher-powered version of a VW bus. But like VW buses, mostly gone, and when not, overpriced. Ten K they want for that thing? Good grief, Charley Brown. It probably didn't cost that when new.

  • Ajla "The upgrade is permanent" 🤔Journos really should be calling out the automakers like Mercedes that are attempting to make this sort of thing subscription only because it obviously doesn't need to be."with a one-time price tag of $1,195"This also shows the poor consumer "value" of Mercedes wanting $1200 per year for a 60hp jump on the EQE350.
  • Dukeisduke Will the next owner have to pay up, too, like with Tesla? What's the starting price of the Polestar 2? I saw a clean used one listed locally the other day, and it was under $50k. I wasn't sure if that was a deal or not.
  • Buickman what about EMFs from riding on a giant battery?is there a vax for that?
  • ScarecrowRepair $1.2M at $1K per car is only 1200 cars, and if you spread that over 5 years, 240 cars per year, roughly one per work day and one more every weekend. Sell another every weekend for the interest. That seems plausible to me.
  • FreedMike There are the guys charging $20000 over sticker for a F150 Lightning. They won’t go broke.