This is a 1971 Ford Econoline Sportsmobile 4×4 Motorhome, it has been significantly modified from its original factory specification and now has lifted suspension, four wheel drive, crate engine 306 cubic inch Ford V8 and a pop-top camper conversion.
Four-wheel-drive vans like this offer the best of both worlds for overland travelers, weekend off-roaders and van-life enthusiasts with their ability to go almost anywhere while being a fully equipped house on wheels.
Quick Facts – A Ford Econoline Sportsmobile 4×4 Motorhome
- The Ford Econoline was released in 1960 as a 1961 model, it was developed on the Ford Falcon platform and it was developed specifically to compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Corvair Van and Volkswagen Transporter/Combi Van.
- The second generation of Econoline came out in 1968, it was a completely redesigned minivan which now shared its base with the Ford F-Series trucks. A V8 engine option was offered for the first time and it would be this generation that would set the standard for all Econoline and E-Series vans going forward.
- The Econoline you see here was converted into a pop-top motorhome and received both a four-wheel-drive conversion and a 306-cubic-inch Ford V8 engine transplant.
- This van retains its classic retro styling which is now combined with true off-road capability – opening up many more potential camping spots than a standard Econoline 2×4.
The second generation Ford Econoline
The second generation version of the Ford Econoline series of vans was a complete redesign of the blank slate, it was launched in 1968 and sold until 1974, after which it was replaced by the third generation model.
While the first generation Econoline was based on the Ford Falcon and sized to compete with the Volkswagen Transporter and Chevrolet Corvair minivans, the second generation version was based on the Ford F-Series truck chassis and was significantly larger.
When the second generation Econoline came out in 1968, it was available for the first time with a V8 engine, and its increased cargo capacity made it appeal to a wider audience, even making it a pickup truck replacement for many traders.
Ford offered three engine options, including the 240-cubic-inch (3.9-liter) straight-six, 300-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) straight-six, and 302-cubic-inch (4.9-litre) Windsor V8. 9 liters). Customers could choose between the 3-speed manual for the 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission, sending power to the rear of the drive axle.
This extra size of the second generation Econoline also made it ideal for use as a motorhome, companies were founded to offer motorhome conversions specifically for the model, some of which had retractable roofs to maximize headroom.
The Econoline Sportsmobile 4×4 motorhome shown here
The van you see here is a 1971 Econoline that now benefits from a series of major upgrades to make it ideal for long on-road and off-road trips.
The 1970s camper van conversion remains largely in its original condition, the pop-up roof provides more headroom when the van is parked, it also contains a raised double bed.
In the main section of the motorhome you will find a sofa that converts to a double bed in the back, as well as a sink, fridge and plenty of cabinetry.
The stock engine was replaced with a significantly more powerful 306 cubic inch Ford V8 crate engine mated to an AOD four-speed automatic transmission and a Dana 20 twin-lever transfer case.
Power is sent to either the rear wheels or all four wheels, the suspension has been raised for better off-road ground clearance, and it features Warn lockable front hubs, four-wheel disc brakes, a 12,000 lb front-mounted winch, a rear-mounted spare tire and a Hi-Lift jack.
In order to keep the electrical equipment working, the van has been fitted with a solar panel and extra batteries, it also has an outdoor shower, and it now rolls on 17″ steel wheels equipped with 255/ 75 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain.
This unusual Econoline is now auctioned live on Bring A Trailer. At the time of this writing, there are still a few days left to bid and you can click here to see the list.
Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer
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