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Cult Classic Haulers: The Memorable Ford Econoline & Dodge A100

The 1960s were a decade that brought us some of the most unusual and iconic car designs in American history—but it wasn’t just the sports and luxury cars where you’d find this.

Working vehicles and family haulers also exuded the style and experimentation of this period and both Ford and Dodge produced a line of “cab forward” vans and pickup trucks that stood apart from their more traditional competition.

1961 Ford Econoline Truck Van Lineup

Ford's Econoline Inspired by Volkswagen Bus

Ford started things off by debuted its new Econoline van in 1961. Inspired partly by the Volkswagen Type 2 bus as well as other European vans, It rode on a modified version of the Falcon chassis, but shifted things around to put the front seats above the front axle and moved the engine back to a mid-front layout.

1965 Ford Econoline Van Green White

Power came from an inline six engine that sat directly between the two front seats and the vans were offered in both windowless cargo and passenger configurations.

Ford Falcon Econoline Van Custom

Ford also introduced a truck version of the Econoline in ’61, identical to the van up front but with an open seven-foot bed. All in a vehicle that was much more compact than the traditional F-100 pickup.

1963 Ford Econoline Pickup Truck

1964 Dodge A100

Dodge joined the party in 1964 with its A100 vans and pickups, which featured unibody construction and the same “forward control” cab over axle configuration as the Econoline.

Dodge A100 Van Green

The A100 was powered either by one of Chrysler’s legendary slant six engines or by a small block V8. In 1967 a longer wheelbase A108 van joined the lineup for those seeking more cargo and passenger capacity.

Dodge A100 Pickup Side View

Both models were short-lived. The first gen Econline was a replaced by an all new van in 1968 that used a front engine layout and shared a lot more with the F-Series pickup. The A series vans and pickups were around until 1970 when they were replaced by the new Dodge B-Series van.

Dodge A108 Camper Van

Cult Favorites and Exhibition Vehicles

Even though they were around for less than a decade, both the A100 and the Econoline have become cult favorites and popular bases for customization. Drag racers also used them to build crazy exhibition wheel-standers like the Galpin Ford Back Up Truck and the Little Red Wagon Dodge.

Galpin Ford Back Up Truck Econoline Wheelie

As another sign of their cultural significance a Dodge A-series van named Dusty is even recurring a character in the Disney Cars films.

Disney Cars Dusty Dodge A100 Van

Both have also become popular diecast cars for Hot Wheels, Matchbox and others for their distinct looks and cool vintage character, helping to cement their status as a short-lived but memorable chapter in American automotive history.

Little Red Wagon Dodge Wheelie

And, of course, you also have the even more unusual Corvair-based Greenbier pickups and vans that Chevy sold during the ‘60s—but that’s a story for another day.

  • Speaking of Dodge Vans and cult movements, here's our look into Japan's wild Dajiban scene
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