Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Econoline Van

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1970 ford econoline van

The Ford Econoline went from having a forward-control/mid-engine layout to sporting a stubby hood with the engine moved a bit forward for the 1968 through 1974 model years. Every time I see one of these vans in a wrecking yard, it has been so thoroughly used up that I feel compelled to break out my camera; so far in this series we have seen this ’70 cargo van, this ’70 passenger van, this STD-laden ’71 custom, and this extraordinarily biohazardous-looking ’72 camper (plus there’s this grainy black-and-white Econoline photo I shot in 1991, this full-on Southern California custom found in northern Sweden, and this time-capsule Denver customized ’74).

Today, we have this beat-to-hell-and-beyond California passenger-van-turned-work-truck.

You could get versions of this sticker for your car, motorcycle, bicycle, or surfboard back in the 1970s and 1980s.

At some point, someone with sheet metal, a riveting tool, body filler, and spray paint covered up the left-side glass, creating the very rare Half-and-Half Molester Van option package.

Shelves and toolboxes were installed on that side, or perhaps we are seeing a very un-luxurious camper conversion here.

Rather than go to the hassle of covering up the rear windows, the owner who did the side-glass-covering job just found junkyard cargo-van doors to replace the window-equipped passenger-van doors that were on this Econoline when it rolled off the showroom floor.

These “splatter” stickers were popular J.C. Whitney items, circa 1982.

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7 of 28 comments
  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Feb 03, 2016

    My dad purchased a brand new '75 Ford van. That was the first year for the little nose and it had the "Chateau" package with some really nice captains chairs up front. Behind the seats was completely unfinished. He wanted fuel economy so he ordered it with a 351 Windsor, 3 on the tree and no PS or AC. It was so much nicer on the inside and outside than this generation. The assembly quality was crap and he took it back the day after he picked it up with a list of 12-15 things he wanted fixed. It ended up being a really good truck as far as reliability/durability.

    • See 4 previous
    • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Feb 04, 2016

      @mikeg216 My folks had an 84 Econoline conversion with a 351 and the three spd auto. My Dad said it got 11mpg no matter city or highway. I used to think it was due to his heavy right foot, but then I looked it up when the EPA website went back that far: 11 city/12 highway. I remember as a kid going from Pittsburgh to Myrtle Beach and by the time we reached the NC/VA border, both tanks needed filled ( 18 and 22 gallon?). With 2 adults, 3 kids and the roof box ( which we called the Big Mac box), I'm sure 8 mpg was probably close.

  • MrMag MrMag on Feb 04, 2016

    I love vans from the 60's, they have a great style. One of the first cars I found was a 60's Corvair Van (click my name). But I haven't seen one with the panels on the side

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  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
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