The custom van craze of the 1970s was huge, but relatively few have survived. They were unlikely to be squirreled away by collectors, nor were their original owners the type who only drove them to church on Sundays. All of which makes this 1974 Ford Econoline, with just 873 miles from new, a most unusual time capsule. And it’s for sale right now on eBay Motors, offered by Classic Auto Mall.
Bought new from Miller McVeigh Ford of State College, Pennsylvania, in November 1974, this Econoline sold new for $6,791.02. The bill of sale shows the original owner as Larry A. Brown, and his Econoline Custom 100 was equipped with a 302-cubic-inch V8, three-on-the-tree, and a high-output heater.
Moreover, it was decked out in full-’70s regalia, with an 8-track stereo, Cragar slotted mags, side pipes, and bubble porthole windows. A flame-design stripe encircles the exterior, and there’s the must-have mural. In this case, a trippy mountain scene with a dead tree in the foreground. The interior is predictably shag-tastic, and given the ultra-low miles, it’s possible that carpet has never had bong water spilled on it.
Astoundingly, this custom treatment isn’t the result of some peyote-fueled artist’s vision. Instead, it came courtesy of aftermarket van up-fitter Turtle Top, which marketed it as the Terrapin, “The Swinging Turtle,” which was “Designed for young persons on the GO!” (And, yes, the brochure is among the documentation included, along with the original bill of sale.) Turtle Top is still in business today — sadly, no longer turning out shag-lined sin bins. Instead, it makes mini-busses from van chassis. That’s sad.
At this writing, bidding stands at $20,100, still shy of the reserve. But there’s still six days to go. Surely cooler than any #vanlife Sprinter, this Econoline’s time to swing is now.