If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

$500 Van Presents: 1988 Dodge Caravan, The First Van!

Friends, Van Aficionados, People of the Internet……

As promised, another story from the dude’s behind the $500 Van. The $500 Nissan Axxess was not our first $500 Van. That honor goes to our dearly departed 1988 Dodge Caravan. The below story tells the tale of the first time we laid our eyes upon the beloved 1988 Dodge Caravan.

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Throughout our childhood, every summer we tried to come up with a project to out-do the project of the previous summer. In 2008 we built a bunker in our basement — complete with industrial strength sandbags.

But it was the project that we took on in 2010 that proved to be much more meaningful than all the others…

We grew up fetishizing cars that were serious pieces of shit. We were attracted to the idea that we could abuse a car that, when new, was something that the owner took great care NOT to abuse. A dilapidated old car would essentially be a mobile clubhouse where we could do whatever the hell we wanted (and we did do whatever the hell we wanted). Also it was amazing that if each of us put down less than $200 we could own a fucking car…

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It must have been a boring night in July, 2011 because the three of us were sitting on the sidewalk mooching free wifi off a public library. Having already prank-called a dozen people — and probably committed some petty crimes or at least annoyed upstanding members of society — we started discussing this idea that had been floating around for a few months:

“Yo, let’s go on craigslist and see if we can find a $500 car to buy.” The suggestion was met with a chorus of praise and we went right to the “For Sale-Cars” section.

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1985 Chevy Van — “Nah, unreliable”

1992 Cadillac Deville — “Interesting…”

1997 Geo Tracker — “hmm, maybe. Bookmark that page.”

1988 Dodge Caravan — “Call that dude stat!”

A few hours later we pulled up to a stranger’s house in rural southern Connecticut.

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We walked up the driveway and there it was, sitting magnificently with one shock tower slightly collapsed. The 1988 Dodge Caravan brown on brown with a wood paneled stripe around the middle. As we got closer it felt like the intro to Maybach Music Pt. 2 was playing in the background. We knew we had to have it.

Its owner, a large man in the NASCAR hat had no idea what he was in for.

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As the large man in the NASCAR hat (and Bob Marley T-Shirt) walked over to greet us. “Well this is it.” He said. He was acting pretty nonchalantly. I mean, he was trying to sell a van from the 80’s for $600. For most people this would be a pretty straightforward transaction, right? Nope. Not for us.

We carefully combed the car for the tiniest of imperfections.

“Hmmm, the paint looks different on this side than the other. Was this in an accident?”

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“Look at all of these dents. I don’t know guys…”

The large man in the NASCAR hat didn’t know what to say. “er, guys, this is a shitty old van from the 80’s. What did you expect?”

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We huddled in the corner and whispered about what we should do. We had to have this van, but there was no way we were going to drop $600 on it. One of us walked over to the large man in the NASCAR hat and said, “Sir, we’ve talked this over and we are willing to offer you $450.”

By this point, the large man in the NASCAR hat’s equally large wife had joined us. She stared at us with a look that said: PLEASE GET THIS PIECE OF SHIT OUT OF MY DRIVEWAY. But the large man in the NASCAR hat was too proud to give in. “I am pretty firm on the $600.”

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We left. Maybach Music Pt. 2 was litterally playing in the background at this point too — let’s be honest, Maybach Music Pt. 2 plays in the background pretty much wherever we go. We had seen the look on the face of “Mrs- large man in the NASCAR hat” and we knew it was only a matter of time before we got a counter-offer.

Not twenty minutes later we were driving back home in our not-van when my phone began to ring. We looked at the caller ID. It was the large man in the NASCAR hat. We all looked at each other and smiled.

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(by Smile, we mean a facial expression like this)

The next day we were rolling down the street. We were $500 poorer, but now there were infinite adventures ahead of us. This was the beginning of our journeys in the vané (pronounce like the painter Monet).

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We called it the Vané (or Vanet) to class that shit up!

See the Dodge in action in our video below:

As always, in the name of self promotion, hit us up on Facebook /500dollarvan and on the other social medias at @500dollarvan

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YouTube $500Van

Let us know what you want to hear about the Van! Hate mail is also welcome, that shit is fun.

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