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Evolution and History of Vans Explained in Photos

Darrek Olson
1973 Volkswagen Van

All week long for Van Week at Carsforsale.com, we’ve shared insights and information on things related to vans. For today, we thought it would be good to tell the history of vans and how they originated and developed into what we know today. What better way to tell that story than with over 50 photos in a timeline.

WARNING: The mid 1980’s – 1990’s can scare many with the wood panel and suede and velour interiors. Luckily for all of us Americans, things have progressed since then.

  • 1930 Stout Scarab 1930 Stout Scarab
  • 1946 Chevrolet Panel Van 1946 Chevrolet Panel Van
  • 1951 Chevrolet Delivery Van 1951 Chevrolet Delivery Van
  • 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier Sport 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier Sport
  • 1965 Ford E 100 1965 Ford E 100
  • 1967 Volkswagen Van 1967 Volkswagen Van
  • 1969 Ford Econoline PASS 1969 Ford Econoline PASS
  • 1977 Ford E150 1977 Ford E150
  • 1981 Volkswagen Vanagon 1981 Volkswagen Vanagon
  • 1988 Dodge Mini Ram 1988 Dodge Mini Ram
  • 1989 Dodge Grand Caravan LE 1989 Dodge Grand Caravan LE
  • 1989 GMC Safari SLX 1989 GMC Safari SLX
  •  1990 Mazda MPV 1990 Mazda MPV
  • 1992 Chevrolet Astro Sport 1992 Chevrolet Astro Sport
  • 1993 Dodge Grand Caravan 1993 Dodge Grand Caravan
  • 1993 Nissan Quest 1993 Nissan Quest
  • 1993 Volkswagen EuroVan 1993 Volkswagen EuroVan
  • 1994 Chrysler Town and Country 1994 Chrysler Town and Country
  • 1995 Ford Windstar 1995 Ford Windstar
  • 1995 Honda Odyssey EX 1995 Honda Odyssey EX
  •  1996 Chevrolet Express 1996 Chevrolet Express
  • 1996 GMC Savana G1500 1996 GMC Savana G1500
  • 1998 Chevrolet Astro 1998 Chevrolet Astro
  •  1998 Chevrolet Venture LS 1998 Chevrolet Venture LS
  • 1998 Ford Windstar GL 1998 Ford Windstar GL
  • 1998 Toyota Sienna LE 1998 Toyota Sienna LE
  • 2000 Mercury Villager Estate 2000 Mercury Villager Estate
  • 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette GL 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette GL
  • 2002 KIA Sedona EX 2002 KIA Sedona EX
  • 2003 Chevrolet Express 3500 Extended 2003 Chevrolet Express 3500 Extended
  • 2003 Ford E-Series 2003 Ford E-Series
  • 2003 Pontiac Montana 2003 Pontiac Montana
  • 2004 Chevrolet Venture LS 2004 Chevrolet Venture LS
  • 2004 Mercury Monterey 2004 Mercury Monterey
  • 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
  • 2006 Chrysler Town and Country 2006 Chrysler Town and Country
  • 2007 Hyundai Entourage Limited 2007 Hyundai Entourage Limited
  • 2008 Toyota Sienna 2008 Toyota Sienna
  • 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Mainstreet 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan Mainstreet
  • 2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Passenger Van 2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Passenger Van
  • 2012 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XL 2012 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van XL
  • 2013 Nissan NV200 2013 Nissan NV200
  • 2013 Nissan Quest S 2013 Nissan Quest S
  • 2014 Chrysler Town and Country Touring 2014 Chrysler Town and Country Touring
  • 2014 Ford Transit Connect 2014 Ford Transit Connect
  • 2014 Kia Sedona LX 2014 Kia Sedona LX
  • 2014 Mazda MAZDA5 Grand Touring 2014 Mazda MAZDA5 Grand Touring
  • 2014 Ram ProMaster Cargo 2500 2014 Ram ProMaster Cargo 2500
  • 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan
  • 2015 Honda Odyssey 2015 Honda Odyssey
     

Darrek Olson
Darrek Olson

Darrek is an enthusiast driver who values the journey more than the destination. A self-proclaimed Miata fanboy, his obscure knowledge of cars sometimes prevents him from remembering what he had for breakfast.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Jason February 28, 2015

    Sweet looking car. It’s a shame that Stout didn’t continue producing the Scarab. Who knows what might’ve happened?

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    XS29L March 18, 2015

    You missed the 70’s Dodge Street Van !!! The Dodge Tradesman Van was the best selling van in the 70’s and 80’s..
    The Custom vans of the 70’s…too bad so called gas mileage ,energy crisis a.k.a FAKE CRISIS ruined them in the late 70’s…My buddy got 16 average in his 400 big block 4bbl ,duel exhaust stock exhaust just added thrush mufflers had duel exhaust from factory,trailer tow 3.21 gears..76 Dodge customized van..it had some guts too,wasnt a dog..was the quickest of the 5 van guys I knew back then..They weighed less than a new so-called mini van..he had a different carb that really woke the Dodge up,as they had smog carbs,no lean burn on that model he never took it to the track but it was quickest of the vanners…We did a lot of racing back then another buddy had another 77 Dodge with a 360 4bbl,duel exhaust,3.55’s it ran low 15’s in the 1/4 mile…Awesome..Another had a 400 smallblock Chevy Van it was 15.7 in the 1/4 ,headers,carb and 4.10’s. A 1979 Ford van had a 351 it was so slow Pinto’s would blow his doors off..Another 460 Ford ,headers,no mufflers,holley carb was about the same as the 400 Chevy slower than the 400 Dodge !

    Reply

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