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Weekend Edition Quick Hit – Here is an extremely rare 1988 Dodge Caravan with a Stick!

Jim Brennan December 14, 2014 For Sale, Weekend Edition 19 Comments

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The minivan was popularized by Chrysler starting in 1983. Yes there were compact passenger vans available before these came out in the form of the VW Microbus, and the forward control Ford Econoline, Dodge A100, the Chevrolet G Series, and the Corvair Greenbriar, but it was the Chrysler twins (The Caravan and the Plymouth Voyager) that virtually dominated the market, and helped make the affordable station-wagon disappear. We all want to hate on the Minivan because of that, but I want to show you what could be one of the more interesting early example of the breed in the form of a pretty basic Caravan, with a 5-Speed Manual…


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According to the Craigslist Listing:

This is a 1988 dodge Caravan with a manual 5 speed transmission. Everything works except for the gas gauge. The van is red on the outside and on the inside. The interior is in ok condition the front seats have covers and the rear seat is in excellent condition. The head liner in the car is a new/ old one out of a parts car. The carpet in the car is in ok condition and has no holes. The car has 164,000 miles on it, the top end appears to be new. The transmission has been serviced, oil has been changed, clutch cable and timing belt are new. All four brakes have newer pads and rear axle just got bearings repacked. Hood is replaced because a truck trailer hitch backed in to it. Runs and Drives can drive it to California tomorrow.

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This really is quite a basic version of the breed, with no A/C, no power anything, and a basic 2.2L four cylinder engine. I’ve been saying this all weekend, but this looks like another candidate for a 24-Hours-of-LeMons team on the west coast, with most of the mechanical work done… the seller is asking $1,100 for the van. , and tell me what you would do with this unusual minivan…

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  • Lucho

    I would gut the interior slap a V8 in the rear and convert it to a wheel standing drag racer keeping the original stick shift!

    • Drzhivago138

      And what V8 wouldn't fry the entire tranny after 20,000 miles?

      • Sixtyover

        You missed the part where he says hell convert to rwd in which one could assume the transaxle will no longer be a part of the equation. I imagine he meant that he would retain the manual configuration and not the exact same transmission.

        • Drzhivago138

          Does "slap a V8 in the rear" imply RWD conversion? If it does, then I was too dense to pick up on it.

          • Drzhivago138

            Alright, somebody wanna tell me what was downvote-worthy in the preceding comment?

          • Green_PEAs

            Slapping a V8 in the rear = RWD conversion with a rear-engine configuration. Pretty much a Porsche. I'd say this beaut would be positioned somewhere above the Cayenne and below the 959.

            • Drzhivago138

              Okay, so I was too dense to pick up on it. I don't see how that's worth getting downvoted, but whatever. I've already dragged this on for too long and should just drop the matter before I look any dumber.

  • stigshift

    A friend had one of those that was an exact twin down to color and interior. I wish I could find one. That thing was surprisingly quick with the stick.

    • skitter

      Fortunately for you, it's in Seattle.
      Fortunately for me, it's in Seattle.

  • Night Traveller

    Nice driver for the money,solid transportation.

  • Hopman

    My parents owned a 1990 that could be a dead ringer for this one. It even has the same wheels! The only difference was it had the "dog" motor, the 3.slow Mitsu V6.

  • lilpoindexter

    Without the a lame chrysler slushbox, or AC to break, it will last forever.

  • Drzhivago138

    Ach du lieber, the body is too straight to use as a LeMons racer.

  • Rob A.

    Could you get a the Turbo with a stick, or did the options never overlap?

    • buzzboy7

      I think it was possible but super rare. What a fun car that would be. sleepy

      • There were turbo Caravans sold with manual transmissions. Probably in the double, or more likely, single digits.

  • My main beef with minivans is the lack of available manual transmissions. We have a '10 Mazda5 which is the closest you can get in the USA.

    I would drive this.

  • eggsalad

    I had a 2nd gen Plymouth Voyager with a stick. The 2.5 (vs. the 2.2) made it a pretty decent runner, with just a driver inside. Add any sort of passengers or cargo, and it got pretty slow. It would get around 21 city/27 highway. It had a huge tank (20 gallons, iirc) because the V-6 versions got crappy mileage, which made it a true 500-miler on road trips.

  • boxdin

    A 5 sp turbo caravan was for sale in Albuquerque craigslist a few weeks ago. Lemme see….. …

    There it is, still for sale

    I overhauled a 92 Voyager 2.5 5sp w AC, a blast to drive and good milage too. I love to shift gears.

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