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Friday, May 25, 2012

I Bought a One Owner Conversion Van

 Our New 1994 One Owner Dodge Van

Sometimes things on Craigslist are just too good to pass up. This van was advertised as "one owner - and not available until June 20th". It looked good and I knew there was a good story on why they wanted to keep it until June 20th.

I emailed owners Ralph and Shirley's son and asked him where was the van parked. When he told me he lived in my neighborhood and the van belonged to his parents - I just had to see it. I drove over to see the van and it looked great. I dialed the phone number on the sign in the van's window and I heard the phone ring in an open apartment window nearby. I announced that I was outside and Ralph bounded out the front door.

Ralph is 87 years old. He bought the van new in 1994. He had all the papers to prove it. He and Shirley paid $36,000 for the van and put 109,000 miles on it. They took really good care of it.

Ralph said he doesn't go over 60 MPH in it. All he uses it for now is going to Publix which is less than a mile from his front door and about two miles to babysit the grandkids.
 Note the Florida State Tire Cover and the ladder to the storage area.

The van is a 1994 Dodge Zephyr Conversion Van. It has a 239 V-6 engine with 3 speed automatic transmission. The original window sticker - which I have - says it got 15 to 18 MPG in the EPA tests. It has four plush captains chairs and a television inside - never used. Ralph has all the service records which included new tires - batteries - new brakes - and regular service visits. 

 It has a one piece fiberglass turtle top. You can stand inside.

But why did Ralph and Shirley want to keep it until June 20th? Their daughter in law got a professor's job at Oregon State University. They are all moving to Oregon. But the daughter in law would not take the job unless they agreed to come along. Of course Ralph wanted to pack everything in the van and head northwest - but his son would have none of that. No way were they separating the grandparents and grandkids.
 In the back is a big storage area. The doors open nice and wide for tailgating.

Ralph and Shirley did a good job on raising their kids. There are window stickers on the van from Brandeis University - Princeton - and Yale. Imagine how proud they were driving this van to those campuses.

 Seats - console and dashboard are perfect.

The interior  is excellent - very clean - no stains - no tears. The exterior has no dents -  very little wear - and certainly no rust. 

I like to show up unannounced when I buy a car - that way the seller cannot "warm it up". So when Ralph threw me the keys he had complete trust in the van. And rightly so - it started smoothly because it has fuel injection and electronic ignition. It was easy to back up with big mirrors. It shifted smoothly - and the power steering and power brakes were excellent. The AC blasted cold right away. The digital radio worked fine. 

The Van Conversion has lots of oak and the entire inside of the cabin is cloth lined. There are tons of reading lights that all work. The blinds and curtains were all in good shape. All door and windows work\ fine - there is one knick in the wind shield. 
I doubt if this TV was used much because it does not have a VCR.

Lulu always wanted a beach buggy. She loves to visit the beach about 40 minutes away - but she wants a place to change afterward so we can go out to dinner on the coast. Also as we get older - it is nice having a toilet. I will probably add a water tank and an outside shower. But everything is fine as it sits.

This is Ralph and Shirley's only car - they bought it new and want to use it up until their last day. So we wrote up a bill of sale - they gave me the title and an extra key. I figured since Ralph took such good care of it for 18 years - he is good for a couple more weeks. 109,000 miles divided by 18 years is about 6000 miles a year.

All the gauges and controls work fine - especially the AC.

I plan to put on a fresh coat of paint. The tires are good for another 10,000 miles - but I may replace them. I will shampoo the interior although it does not need it. Then who knows where we will take it first. While we are in London for 5 weeks if will sit in our metal barn with the 10 foot doors.

The steering wheel looks like new with the cruise control buttons

Notice the LED lights in the "wooden beams" overhead. The blinds work too.

The fabric on the seats looks hardly worn.

It looks like the seats were kept covered. Tilt steering wheel.