By on February 3, 2016

00 - 1970 Ford Econoline van in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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.
06 - 1970 Ford Econoline van in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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

24 - 1970 Ford Econoline van in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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.

22 - 1970 Ford Econoline van in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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

23 - 1970 Ford Econoline van in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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.

21 - 1970 Ford Econoline van in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

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

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28 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1970 Ford Econoline Van...”

  • avatar

    Bruce Berry was a working man, he used to load that Econoline van…

  • avatar

    The “if you value your life” stickers had those on my bmx bike. The splatter sticker design was later stolen by Nickelodeon for their corporate logo.

  • avatar

    That inline six would have been a lot easier to work on than the Windsor V-8 in our ’71 Ford Club Wagon. The spark plugs on the V-8 ended up at floor level with very little space to change them; and I remember cranking the steering wheel around with no power steering to get the tie rods out of the way of the oil filter when Dad was changing the oil.

    Dad in general hated working on it; though we keep it for over a decade. That picture of the cover just sitting there reminds of a time or two when Dad drove it with the cover off; it was not every day you get to sit next to a running engine. He was trying to troubleshoot something, I am sure.

    It had A/C; but even with the insulated engine cover on it got hot up front; especially in the summer. Noisy too. (Like the doors banging around in their door openings was not noisy enough, along with the wind and road noise.) I would imagine the third generation on were a little easier to work on, were quieter, and not quite as hot up front.

  • avatar

    That’s quite a dome light.

  • avatar

    All Hail to the alter of the 300 Big Six!

  • avatar

    Is that a racing stripe down the center of the valve cover?

  • avatar

    I look at the pics here and my mind just goes BWAH!? There’s so much going on, and all of it is gross.

  • avatar

    Krieger van! (his brand new ones always get smashed)

    Do an LS swap.

    Cheryl: “You can’t control a person’s heart.”
    Krieger: “You can with a little something I like to call a deep cycle marine battery… or LSD.”

  • avatar

    Where’s the obligatory odometer picture? That’s my favorite part of Junkyard Finds!

  • avatar

    What yard is this in?! I gotta have it! A 6 and a carburetor! And no smog checks!
    Ever notice how almost all Ford vans go down the road with the rear wheels stepped out to the right of the front by about 4 inches?

  • avatar

    Those custom made utility drawers on the side are kind of cool. They were way ahead of FCA and the toolboxes in the side of the RAM pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Nissan offers an optional side utility door on the Titan pickup. Ford offered one on the F-Series back in the 70’s and 80’s.

      • 0 avatar

        The “contractor’s toolbox” you’re thinking of was offered on Fords from 1964 through 1979.




        Also for the dentside trucks, the F-350 Super Camper Special with a 140″ WB had a spare tire carrier under the passenger side of the bed.

  • avatar

    Sigh .

    Another old whipped dog , I bet it was still running when the final owner said ‘ why bother ? ‘ and scrapped it .

    These were amazingly studry and reliable rigs , riding in one was like being inside a snare drum .

    It’s not terribly difficult to make them *much* quieter inside .

    Those storage cabinets look handy for storing the whips , bondage equipments and of course , _candy- ~ lots and lots of candy .


  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      >wanted fuel economy
      >got the 351W instead of the 300 or the 240


      • 0 avatar

        True, back in the day a heavy vehicle with a 6 could get the same or even worse gas milage than a V8. In this case, probably neither one would top 12 mpg.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s true, in reality it didn’t matter if you got the 300,351 or 460 they all got 12 mpg. It was just a matter of how much torque and at what rpm you wanted it at. Or how fast you wanted to be able to merge onto the freeway. Drove a one ton shorty 350 conversion van with a 460 big block once. Truly an ass hauling ass cash or grass machine

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “It’s true, in reality it didn’t matter if you got the 300,351 or 460 they all got 12 mpg.”

            We took a trip out to Colorado from MN when it was 2 weeks old and he averaged 17.1 miles to the gallon. I remember him calculating that at the kitchen table when we got home and he was happy as ship about that because his ’68 Ford XL with that pooch 390 he still owned wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near that. Yep he was Ford man as his dad owned a Ford dealership when he was a kid. Mind you that was when the speed limit was 55 and he drove 57-58 MPH on the interstate all the way out and back. I think it also had fairly tall rear end gears in it.

          • 0 avatar

            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.

  • avatar

    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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