Junkyard Find: 1977 Plymouth Voyager Conversion Van

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Plymouth sold trucks through 1942, gave up on the idea, then returned to the truck business with the Trail Duster (rebadged Dodge Ramcharger) and Voyager (rebadged Dodge Sportsman) for 1974. Sales of the big Voyager van continued through the 1983 model year, after which the name went onto the new K-platform-derived Plymouth minivan. Here's one of those all-but-forgotten first-generation Voyagers, found in a Denver self-service yard recently.

I'd found one discarded Sportsman-sibling Voyager ( a propane-fueled '74 with two-tone paint in California) before, but today's Junkyard Find is a more interesting discovery.

It's a beefy one-ton Chrysler B-Series van with the long wheelbase and extended body, with the complete late-1970s conversion-van treatment.

Someone had pried off the badges for the company that did the conversion, but we can assume it was one of the many outfits that did such work in Indiana or Utah.

It appears to have been sold new at a now-defunct Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in McPherson, Kansas, just outside Wichita and 470 miles east of its final parking spot.

The paint has been mostly burned off by 45 years of High Plains sun, but it was once a mix of Wedgewood Blue and Regatta Blue.

Inside, it's still quite nice. Unlike most conversion vans and RVs I find in car graveyards, it's not a terrifying bodily-fluids-spattered murder scene and/or Superfund site. Note the shag-carpeted ceiling.

The driver could control the lighting, entertainment system, and major appliances from this panel.

The four front seats are these luxurious swivel chairs with armrests.

They appear to be Chrysler-made.

What more do you need?

You need music on 8-track, of course!

The real conversion-van players in 1977 had TV on the road, and so there's this slick little Sony behind the driver's head. Was it color or black-and-white?

It wasn't a full-fledged camper, but long road trips would have been pleasant in here.

The engine lived under a doghouse behind the front axle, so you could call this a mid-engined van.

The engine is some member of the LA small-block V8 family. A 318 (5.2-liter) with 150 horsepower was standard equipment, but that poor engine would have been stressed to death in a hurry trying to haul this van's 5,000 or more pounds. I think this is the 170-horse optional 360 (5.9-liter), which had a pretty good 280 lb-ft of torque in 1977. It could also be the seventh engine swapped into this van during its life.

How many miles? With the five-digit odometer, it could be 53,863 or 953,863. The unworn interior suggests that this really could be the true mileage.

Yes, I bought the Voice Warning box (with its tiny phonograph player) out of the 280ZX next to this van.

Rare, not so valuable.

Why buy the Voyager instead of a Sportsman? Because it's a Plymouth.

This dealer-promo film for the Sportsman explains some of the features you'd find in the near-identical Voyager.

[Images by the author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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2 of 29 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Oct 06, 2022

    I love that this never got upgraded...still has the CRT and 8 track. Someone needs to save it and do one of those #vanlife channels with it

  • Pco65752756 Pco65752756 on Dec 18, 2023

    Did you pull the old Sony or 8-Track player out of it? I love old electronics. This is about as retro as you can get!

  • Bd2 Probably too late to do anything about it for the launch, but Kia should plan on doing an extensive refresh of the front fascia (the earlier, the better) as the design looks really ungainly.
  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.