Junkyard Find: 1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

We've had a run of European machinery in this series lately, with six of the last ten Junkyard Finds coming from across the Atlantic ( one from Sweden, one from Italy, two from West Germany and two from France), so today it's the turn of that most Michigandic of machinery: A Chrysler minivan.

Chrysler scored a huge sales hit with its K-platform-derived Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager front-wheel-drive small vans, which debuted as 1984 models and immediately joined forces with the new XJ Jeep Cherokee—also new for 1984—to begin the process of annihilating the station wagon once and for all.

That first generation of squared-off Chrysler minivans lasted through the 1990 model year (the Chrysler-badged Town & Country showed up that year), and it included hot-rod turbocharged vans as well as some with manual transmissions.

The second-generation Caravan/Voyager/Town & Country stayed on the same wheelbases but got got smoother lines and packed on an additional 500 pounds or so of added bulk. Today's Junkyard Find is one of those first-year second-generation Caravans, and it's loaded.

The interior in this van is so nice that I thought it might be a church-on-Sundays-only 50,000-mile vehicle, but in fact it had 165,920 miles on the clock at the end.

Just look at the well-preserved glory of those Nearly Velour™ seats!

This is a high-zoot LE Grand Caravan with front-wheel-drive, just one notch down from the LE AWD Grand Caravan on the Dodge minivan prestige ziggurat for '91.

List price started at $19,255, which comes to about $44,013 in 2023 dollars.

Lesser Caravans got a Chrysler 2.5-liter straight-four engine or Mitsubishi 3.0-liter V6 that year, but the LE received this Chrysler 3.3-liter V6 rated at 150 horsepower and 185 pound-feet.

A five-speed manual transmission was available on the Caravan and Voyager all the way through 1995 (the final year of the second generation), but only with the 2.5 four-cylinder engine. As a Grand Caravan LE, this one has the four-speed automatic rather than the three-speed automatic that went in the more proletariat-grade vans for '91.

Chrysler was going all-out with standard driver's-side airbags in its vehicles by this time, but a bag was still an option for the 1991 Caravan. This one doesn't have one.

This Infinity AM/FM/cassette radio was a $461 option if purchased separately ($1,054 today), but it appears that this van has the Luxury Value Discount Package that included the Infinity audio rig, at a price of just $232 ($530 after inflation) on the Grand Caravan LE.

Were these seats ever used?

All-wheel-drive was new for Chrysler minivans in 1991, and Voyager advertising pushed it relentlessly.

It's the Magic Wagon.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

1991 Dodge Grand Caravan LE in Colorado wrecking yard.

[Images: 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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3 of 41 comments
  • Tassos Tassos on Nov 27, 2023

    These first crude minivans made a lot of sense, and were hugely successful. The station wagons they replaced were inefficiently designed, very long and wide but with a low roofline. This is an IDIOTIC Design for a car that needs to maximize its volume.

    Having said that, I remember a bunch of us visiting an oil company at Houston for a consortium meeting (we had research proposals for rather modest grants) around that year, 1990 or 1991, a some idiot decided to rent one of these so they would save a few bucks. On the trip back to the airport I sat in the god damned middle row, and it was sheer torture, very cramped, zero legroom.

    Minivans since then became far superior megavans, really. The Odyssey above all and the Sienna also are great family haulers, heavy, big, long wheelbase, and perfect for long trips of a large family. But morons buy Fake SUVs ("Crossovers") instead. Or, even worse, "Broncos".

    • The Oracle The Oracle on Nov 27, 2023

      My goodness you are showing your advanced age today, boomer.

  • Mr Imperial Mr Imperial on Dec 09, 2023

    Seeing the adjusted-for-inflation amount always makes me sick, I can't believe how much it has gone up in my 40-some-odd trips around the sun. Still fondly remember seeing these and Ford Explorers everywhere.

  • SCE to AUX I've always said that consumer/business pressures will reign in government decrees, as they have in the past in places like California. That state has moved the goalposts many times for "ZEV" mandates.But the problem is the depth of politicization of the EPA. Mfrs need continuity and long-term commitment to requirements, not living on a 4-year political cycle of who's in the White House and Congress. Your President - whomever that is - isn't going to be around forever.
  • Dukeisduke The administration is slowly dribbling out details of the change - it's like they don't want to piss off environmentalists, the auto manufacturers, or the UAW. John McElroy covered this very well in today's installment of Autoline Daily: AD #3751 - 2024 U.S. EV Sales Could Grow 43%; China Price War Spreads To ICE; U.S Vehicles Biggest Ever, Also Lowest CO2 - AutolineAlso, even though vehicles in the US have gotten larger, heavier, and more powerful (thanks to the shift away from sedans to trucks and SUVs), according to a year-end report by the EPA, in 2023, average fuel economy was at its highest ever, and CO2 emissions of new vehicles were at their lowest ever ( The 2023 EPA Automotive Trends Report: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Fuel Economy, and Technology since 1975, Executive Summary (EPA-420-S-23-002, December 2023 ).
  • Golden2husky How about real names instead of alphabet/numeric soup?
  • Alan I think its the far left that want to ban fossil fuel powered vehicles. The left can mean many things. So don't place all into the "Left" if they don't believe in your right wing agenda.If one looks at a breakdown of political beliefs you'll find approximately 20% are dedicated wackos on the right, sort of Trumpian types. The same occurs on the left 20% are wackos, I call them Green types.This leaves the middle 60% shaking their heads at the nonsense, BS, misinformation, lies, etc that is spruiked by the extremes of both sides of politics.Australia is lucky in some respects as we have multiple political parties. The Labour Party (Dem equiv) don't have the extreme left as they migrate to the Greens. The Liberal Party (GOP equiv) don't have such luxury and has been infiltrated by right wing knobs.So, you'll find many Dems might have more conservative views than those that are GOP and vice versa.Stop with this nonsense.I don't envisage a ban on fossil fuel powered vehicles in Connecticut as this will not fit in with the economic development of the State. There will be changes of course.This is nothing but a piece of red meat.