A couple of weeks ago, I bought a 1998 Chevy Astro Van from a guy up in Clear Creek County. I've been wanting a vehicle which gets better mileage than the Big Damn Dodge, but which would still be useful for hauling things around. I couldn't find a 1966 Dodge van with A/C, so I started looking at Astro/Safari vans from the late 90's.
Anyway, I found this one, cheap, and bought it. Then, I took it to my mechanic and spent almost as much as I paid for the van in order to get it safe and reliable (and to make it pass emissions testing). Today, I put a new battery in it, so I think it's good to go for the most part. There are some small things (broken outer door handle on the passenger door, stereo/speakers) that I will take care of as time goes by, but the van is on the road.
The Chick Magnet
I call it the Chick Magnet, ironically, but I actually do kind of dig the looks of it.
It's not perfect, but it sure is useful. The two rear bench seats come out, allowing a 4x8 sheet of plywood to lie flat. So, it is at least as utilitarian as the Dodge, for hauling. I can't get the motorbike in it, but I can't get the motorbike in the Dodge, either, as it sits too high for my ramp (plus it has a hard cover on the bed, which is a real pain to remove).
Here it is with one bench out, the other still in place. We have a show, tonight, and I am hoping that we can load everything up, in this configuration. If so, that means that all three of us could load up and head down to the Springs, or up into the hills for a show, if need be.
Worst case scenario is that both seats will have to come out, in order to haul all of the gear. If that is the case, I will devise some sort of jump seat arrangement in order to get us all on the road.
I like the "half hatchback/half barn door" arrangement on the back.
The only real worry I have with the van is that it is 2-wheel drive. It has studded snow tires on it, right now, and I did test-drive it in the snow, where it did fine. Getting to work is not a worry, since I typically ride the bicycle to work when it snows. I just want to make sure we can get to and from gigs with the band.
If I get through a couple of snowstorms with no problem, I plan to sell the Dodge. I really don't want to own two trucks at once.
I also plan on building or buying a camp cot/storage unit to slide into the back, so that I can use the van as a mini-camper. Maybe I'll throw a Thule cargo box on top, too, if I can find one cheap.
All in all, I am pretty fond of The Chick Magnet, even though I realize it may well be the least-cool vehicle I have owned since my beloved 4-door Chevette (which I still miss)