Good times: Custom 1965 Ford Econoline from party-van heyday

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Ford
Ford Econoline shows the groovy custom trends of the time

The Pick of the Day is from a time when vans were cool.  Or as the seller of this 1965 Ford Econoline notes in its ClassicCars.com ad, when they were customized into traveling party machines.

“This vehicle was designed for the sole purpose of having a good time,” the Fort Wayne, Indiana, seller says in the ad. “Fun paint job that shows well. Fun interior that is functional and comfortable. Fun sound system.

“This thing is ready for the beach, concert, tailgate or whatever else requires a good time.”

Ford
If this van’s a’rockin…

From its slotted custom wheels to its porthole side windows, the Econoline was transformed retro-style from its original purpose as a handy work truck into road-trip wheels for a hippie/surfer/rock ‘n roller on the move.

The van is equipped with its original Heavy Duty package, powered by the sturdy 240cid inline-6 engine and 3-speed column-shift manual transmission.   A Ford 9-inch rear has been added, as well as dual exhausts, which appear to exit through triple side-mount tips on either side.

Ford
The cab looks ready for a cross-country cruise

This was the first generation for Econoline, which debuted in 1960 to chase after the success of the Volkswagen microbus.  Although its cab-forward configuration emulated that of the rear-engine VW, the Ford’s engine was located behind the front axle inside a compartment between the front seats, providing more space in the cargo area.

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The chassis and drivetrain were borrowed from the compact Falcon, with 6-cylinder engines that generated considerably more power than the flat-4 in the VW.   Young drivers were quick to notice the possibilities, and custom vans became emblematic of the go-go era.

Ford
The rear section has been well-finished

Along with similar small vans from Dodge and Chevy, Econoline party vans were commons sights in the ’60s and ’70s.  In cartoon form, the most famous of the them all was the Scooby Do Mystery Machine.

The interior of the van has been finished for partying, including a pair of rear-facing bucket seats and, oddly, twin electric fans.  The upholstery, paneling and carpet work look to have been professionally done.

Ford
The’ Vanimal’ in all its glory

The custom van is priced at a modest $16,000.   And as the seller notes, it comes with a few extras.

“The VANIMAL vanity plate from Hawaii and the plus-size Hula girl on the dash can stay with the van,” the seller says. “It wouldn’t be right to separate them.”

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

9 COMMENTS

  1. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME Ibought a brand new 1976 Dodge cargo van and tricked out the inside to be a party van,show van Had a cool mural airbrushed on the side, which is now a lost art due to the invention of the wrap I actually belonged to a van club back then we took are van to shows and road trip caravans sometime 30 plus vans Good times and memories wished I owned that van today I’m in my mid 60s and still think they are cool, you just don’t see them anymore as in the condition as this one is shown Good Job!!!!!

    • Interested! Is ac possible? And how many miles on the Engine and transmission ? And how does it run I need a daily driver ?

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