Junkyard Find: 1986 Dodge B250 Leopard Van

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1986 dodge b250 leopard van

I see two types of distinctively Coloradan sticker-covered vehicles in Denver-area self-service wrecking yards. One type is the stony-ass wastoidmobile Subaru plastered with decals from cannabis dispensaries, vape-juice shops, and microbreweries. The other is the battered outdoorsy Detroit truck, plastered with decals from mountain-bike shops, ski resorts, rafting outfitters, and environmental causes. These types tend to overlap to some extent, so it often happens that I’ll find stickers advertising shatter-hash on an Outdoorsy Truck and stickers proclaiming allegiance to rock climbing on a Stoner Subaru, but there are cultural differences between them.

Here’s an ornately leopardified 1986 Dodge B250 Ram Wagon that appears to have hauled many a sinewy adventurer to a trailhead or ski slope.

If you’re going to turn a vehicle shaped like a box into a convincing sleek jungle cat, you’ll need to add a tail. This tail was made by someone with great highway-safe tail-making chops; note the sturdy mounting and anti-unraveling ribbons.

Thanks to several yards of leopard-print velour cloth and the extensive leopard-print accessory selection offered by Manny, Moe, and Jack, the interior of this van resembles Tarzan’s tree house.

I see a lot of Obama and Trump stickers on junkyard cars these days, with the occasional Bush II sticker here and there, but this is the first Kerry/Edwards decal I’ve spotted in many years. The “Frankly, my dear, I don’t want a dam” sticker refers to the efforts to spare the Cache la Poudre River from a fishing/rafting-destroying dam.

This sign may have been “borrowed” from an outdoor music festival, or it may be that this van was operated by a business that hauled hikers, rafters, bicyclists, campers, fishermen, mountain-climbers, and/or skiers to their destinations.

Buick hubcaps look good on a Dodge.

A couple of great American regional accents can be heard in this ad for the first year of the second-generation (1979-1993) Ram Van.

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2 of 18 comments
  • Jesse53 Jesse53 on Sep 17, 2018

    I had a 1974 Tradesman 3/4 ton that I ran the wheels off of. When I sold it I had nearly 150k miles. I took it to the Truck-Ins back when the custom van craze hit. I never had any major work done to it as far as the 318 engine & 727 torqueflight was bullet proof.

  • Brett Woods Brett Woods on Sep 24, 2018

    Good times.

  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.
  • Lorenzo They may as well put a conventional key ignition in a steel box with a padlock. Anything electronic is more likely to lock out the owner than someone trying to steal the car.
  • Lorenzo Another misleading article. If they're giving away Chargers, people can drive that when they need longer range, and leave the EV for grocery runs and zipping around town. But they're not giving away Chargers, thy're giving away chargers. What a letdown. What good are chargers in California or Nashville when the power goes out?
  • Luke42 I'm only buying EVs from here on out (when I have the option), so whoever backs off on their EV plans loses a shot at my business.