This is a 1971 Ford Econoline Sportsmobile 4×4 camper, it’s been significantly modified from its original factory specification and now has lifted suspension, four-wheel drive, a 306 cubic inch Ford V8 crate engine, and a pop-top camper conversion.
Four-wheel drive vans like this offer the best of both worlds for overlanders, weekend off-roaders, and vanlife adherents thanks to its ability to go almost anywhere while also being a fully equipped house on wheels.
Fast Facts – A Ford Econoline Sportsmobile 4×4 Camper
- 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/Kombi Van.
- The second generation Econoline was released in 1968, it was a completely redesigned van that 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 the Econoline and E-Series vans going forwards.
- The Econoline you see here has been converted into a pop-top camper and given both a four-wheel drive conversion and a 306 cubic inch Ford V8 engine transplant.
- This van keeps its classic retro styling which is now combined with some genuine off-road ability – opening up far more potential camping locations than a standard 2×4 Econoline.
The Second Generation Ford Econoline
The second generation version of the Ford Econoline van series was a complete blank slate redesign, it was released in 1968 and sold until 1974, after which it was replaced with the third generation model.
Whereas the first generation Econoline was based on the Ford Falcon and sized to compete with the Volkswagen Transporter and Chevrolet Corvair van, the second generation version was based on the Ford F-Series truck chassis and was notably larger.
When the secon gen Econoline was released in 1968 it was available with a V8 engine for the first time, and its increased cargo capacity made it appealing to a wider audience, it even made it a pick-up truck replacement for many tradespeople.
Ford offered three engine options including the 240 cubic inch (3.9 liter) inline-six, the 300 cubic inch (4.9 liter) inline-six, and the 302 cubic inch (4.9 liter) Windsor V8. Customers could choose between the 3-speed manual for the 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission, sending power to the live axle rear end.
This extra size of the second gen Econoline also made it ideal for use as a camper, companies were founded to offer camper conversions specifically for the model, some of which had pop-top roofs in order to maximize headroom.
The Econoline Sportsmobile 4×4 Camper 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 prolonged journeys both on and off-road.
The 1970s-era camper conversion remains in largely original condition, the pop-top provides more headroom when the van is parked, it also contains a lofted double bed.
In the main camper section you’ll find a couch that converts into a double bed in the back, as well as a sink, fridge, and plenty of cabinetry.
The original engine has been replaced with a considerably more powerful 306 cubic inch Ford V8 crate engine mated to an AOD four-speed automatic transmission, and a Dana 20 twin-stick transfer case.
Power is sent either to the rear wheels or to all four wheels, the suspension has been lifted for better ground clearance when off-road, and it has Warn locking front hubs, four-wheel disc brakes, a front-mounted 12,000 lb winch, a rear-mounted spare tire and a Hi-Lift jack.
In order to keep electrical equipment working the van has been fitted with a solar panel and additional batteries, it also has an outdoor shower, and it’s now riding on 17″ steel wheels fitted with 255/75 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires.
This unusual Econoline is now being auctioned live online on Bring A Trailer. At the time of writing there are still a few days left to bid and you can click here to view the listing.
Images courtesy of Bring A Trailer
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