3/24/09 - Car History...1986 Dodge Caravan

The next entry in my series of Car History is a 1986 Dodge Caravan. I got this van after my first car got totaled. It was actually my mom's and she gave it to me so she could get a new (used) car. We'll get to that vehicle in the next entry because it eventually became mine. My parents purchased the car new and I got it in 1998, my senior year in high school. It had just under 100k miles on it, and after a few months, I rolled it over to 100k as I pulled in to my future wife's driveway. Oddly enough, she still dated me even though I was driving a pimp wagon.

Here is a picture of the stylin' van I was driving and an ad from back in the day. Unequaled indeed.



Since I was style driving when I graduated, my graduation present request was for a sound system. Not just a new radio or new speakers. I wanted the real deal. I wanted boom...I wanted bass...I wanted speakers so big I had to take out the middle seat and move the back seat forward to make room for the speakers. I got a new radio with a 6 disc changer, new speakers throughout the whole van and two 12" speakers with a 400 watt amp. (pretty weak for today's standards, but for me, back then, in the van...this thing rocked).

It sounded great inside the van and I used the snot out of it. I loved it. It wasn't until later on that I realized that it sounded so bad from outside. The whole thing rattled like crazy, but it still didn't matter to me. It was everything I wanted.

If I ever have some extra money (several hundred thousand extra dollars with nothing else to spend it on) laying around, I would so by another 1986 van and just pimp it out. I'm talking more than just big speakers. I'd put a bigger engine, tiger print interior, custom paint job, massive speakers...so on and so forth, and of course fuzzy dice.

The van lasted me a good long while. I don't remember exactly how long I drove it, but few people can say they drove their vehicle until the wheels came off. Well, not exactly, but it did catch on fire before we decided it was time to send it to the salvage yard. I don't remember what the beginning of the end was, but I can remember one time specifically being at the bottom of the hill with three friends in the van doing about 40 miles an hour, flooring it, and creeping over the top of the hill at just below 5 miles an hour. I truly believe we were going to go all cartoon on it and get to the top only to stop and slide right back down to the bottom.

I think it was not longer after this, it would just die. It usually wasn't all that big of a deal, I'd just put the thing in park and start it back up. Of course, this also was typically happening at stop signs and red lights. The worst situation was when it happened in rush hour on a busy interstate. I had to get over one more loan that was at a complete stop and as I was switching lanes, the van died, the semi truck behind me did not and clipped the end of the van. Luckily, only shattering one of my brake lights. I told him not to worry about it because...well....the think was a piece of junk already.

My parents did want to take it in and see what it would take to get it fixed, so they took it to the local dealership to get an estimate on the damage. What they came back with was pretty funny. Basically, the van had a 4 cylinder engine when it was purchased. When we took it in, it was hitting on only 2 and a half of them (meaning that one of the cylinders was intermittent). On top of that, to get the brake lens replaced was going to be something like $250. We just left the thing broke and decided to start looking for a new car. Not much time passed before my dad went to start it one day and sure enough smoke starting coming up from under the hood, he checked it straight away only to find a small electrical fire. He was able to put it out and I believe he immediately called a two truck to have it taken away. The van was sold for roughly $200 to a salvage heap not long after.

After a short spell of sharing a vehicle with my mom, I became the primary driver of a 1991 Pontiac Bonneville.

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3 Comments - Leave one yourself

This is some quality blogging.

My only disappointment is that you either don't have or are not posting pictures of the actual vehicles you owned.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 24, 2009 at 10:38 AM  

I'd have to do some serious research to find those pictures. I know I have a few of my different vehicles, including the moment I rolled the van over to 100k. If I have time...I'll look.

By Blogger DJ Walker, at March 24, 2009 at 10:42 AM  

I love these stories!

By Blogger babibootiful, at March 24, 2009 at 10:42 PM  

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