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Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 1994 Dodge Ram 250 StarQuest

Car Culture / Comments

Full-size vans like this one are a thing of the past.

Vans like this are gone and won't come back. Sorry to start of this week's Craigslist find on a sour note, but it's a fact. It can even be argued minivans are having a hard time competing against more stylish three-row crossovers these days, so how could a theoretically reborn full-size van manage? It can't, plain and simple. Of course that's a real shame because full-size vans, such as the Ram van, could be modified for multiple uses. They're weren't just delivery vans or work vans for plumbers and electricians, but also regular family vehicles.

Think of them as a mini house on wheels, dwarfed only by larger motorhomes. Fortunately, full-size vans cost thousands less, thus making them an attractive alternative for not just road trips but also daily driving. But there was another use people found for these conversion vans: van life.

Before the tiny house movement became a thing, there was van life, a way of living on the road enabling complete freedom. It's still very popular among the self-described "dirtbags," those who abandon typical employment and other present day norms, such as home ownership and renting, for a life on the road and camping. Rock climbing, in particular, is their passion in life. For not a lot of money, one can buy a used full-size van in relatively good condition and modify it to suit their needs.

Why have a couple of second and third-row bench seats when it's only you and maybe one other passenger? Just rip 'em out and throw a mattress down instead. The sheer amount of interior space also allows for lots of customization, such as shelves, cabinets, and lots of other lever storage techniques. One can fit their entire life inside, assuming minimalism is there thing. But how much are we talking about here? What's the investment?

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We found this 1994 Dodge Ram 250 StarQuest on Craigslist San Francisco for only $3,000. Yes, really. In fact, the seller has already made a number of interior conversions making it ideal for life on the road. Around $1,000 was invested by its current owner who added a queen size bed and wooden drawers that slide underneath the bed. The easily removable back seat is still there as well if you have at least three travelers. Mechanical issues? Only one, the fuel gauge. You'll have to measure with the mile counter but it does 150 miles per tank. The air conditioning, radio and CD player all work without issue and the tires are in great condition as well.

Power comes from a 3.9-liter V6 with around 175 hp, which really isn't much for a vehicle this size, but it's adequate. Remember, speed and acceleration are not the focus of the engine, but rather durability. There's a total of 180,000 miles on its clock. Other features that we can see from the provided photos are a cooler (because of course there has to be one), a small table and a rug. Ask nicely and hopefully, the seller, who decided to part with it only because parking in San Francisco is impossible, will include all three.