Buy/Drive/Burn: Full-size Van Time in 1990
The year is 1990, and you live in Utah or someplace similar and find yourself with plentiful offspring. The only solution here is a full-size van that seats 15. Which extra-long BOF box goes home with the Buy?
Dodge Ram Wagon
The Ram Van remained in its second-generation format between 1979 and 1993. Upper-trim family Wagons wore quad headlamps, while poverty-spec cargo Vans had single round ones. Though new for ’79, the Van was a reskin of the first-generation version that debuted in 1971. The dash from 1978 carried all the way through to 1993. At that point, a third generation soldiered on until 2003 with the same body shell and most of the same equipment. In 1990, our selection is the largest displacement 5.9-liter (360) V8. A total of 155 horsepower travels to the rear via a four-speed automatic. Overall length: 222.9 inches.
Ford Club Wagon
More commonly known as Econoline, Ford’s American people hauler entered its third generation in 1975 and continued with small changes through 1991. For the first time, Econoline was body-on-frame instead of unibody. This lead to popularity as a cutaway chassis, and the Econoline was transformed into various buses, trucks, and ambulances across the country. In 1992 the fourth generation Econoline bowed, and is still being produced as a cutaway chassis today. In luxurious Club Wagon XLT trim, the 226.8-inch Super Van has the largest Ford gasoline V8: It’s the 5.8-liter (351) Windsor. Some 250 horsepower was sent through the van’s four-speed automatic, and no manuals were available.
The Chevrolet Van (now G) entered a third generation in 1971, and remained largely unchanged through model year 1995. GM chased Ford’s Econoline and moved away from the cab forward design of the second generation Van. 1996 saw the introduction of new Express vans that remain in production to this day. General Motors was late to the 15-passenger game, as 1990 was the introductory year for the extended wheelbase 223.2-inch G van. In top-trim, extended-length Beauville guise, the 5.7-liter (350) V8 made 195 horsepower and carried a standard four-speed automatic.
You need many rows of seats for many children, so which van goes home to the compound?
Images: Dodge, seller, Wikipedia]
Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.
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