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By December 24, 2013 3 Comments Read More →

Collectible minivans: Dream or nightmare?

1984 Ply Voyager frnt rt color 2

“Next across the block, ladies and gentlemen, is a pristine 1984 Plymouth Voyager, a rare SE model packed with all the options — full gauges, third-row seat, power-opening rear vent windows, wood-look exterior paneling, heavy-duty suspension, wire wheel covers and — taa daa — even a five-speed manual transmission.

“The five-speed was standard equipment, though very few customers did not opt for the three-speed automatic.

“Yes, this is the rarest of the rare first-year minivans, so let’s open the bidding at $50,000, shall we?”

Cough! Gasp! Even in the wildest moments of my imagination, I cannot bring myself to believe that the minivan ever will be considered a collectible classic car.

Well, I can see a couple of possible exceptions:

One would be the minivan, a Renault Espace, that the French automaker equipped in the mid-1990s with one of its 800-horsepower, V10 Formula One racing engines.

The other exception would be if the collector were the Smithsonian or some other museum committed to the display of the artifacts of American culture. (Or, in the case of the Renault Espace F1, in an auto museum in France, which is where that minivan is parked.)

Classic car collectors often start their collections with the car they wanted but didn’t get to drive back in high school. But who among those who grew up as part of the minivan generation even liked riding in one, let alone ever dreamed of driving one to the prom?

635779d1984_004Oh, the minivan was practical enough, especially if you had more than two children, but it also was pretty much a stage-of-life vehicle that you fled as soon as you didn’t need all that room for your children’s booster seats or for car-pooling to soccer practices.

Collectible or not, the minivan turns 30 this model year, and in some states that qualifies it to wear classic car license plates.

“… Sold! And for a world-record price! Don’t fret if you missed on that one, because here comes aPontiac Trans Sports, the famed dust-buster minivan…”

larry-sig

Posted in: Commentary

About the Author:

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the Web and becoming the author of more than 15 books. In addition to writing for ClassicCars.com, Larry oversees automotive enthusiast website iZoom.com, writes a weekly feature for The Detroit News, writes occasional articles for the The New York Times, and teaches as an adjunct member of the faculty at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

3 Comments on "Collectible minivans: Dream or nightmare?"

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  1. Gullwing Guy says:

    “Rarest of the rare” = collectible. Maybe not just yet, but someday. Other un-sexy vehicles are collected by enthusiasts, like Divco delivery trucks and Checker cabs.

  2. Sam Fiorani says:

    The problem with making a vehicle “collectible” and “valuable” is a matter of supply and demand. Rare (low supply) and desirable (high demand) makes a car collectible and valuable. Unfortunately, even the rarest of minivans (the aforementioned 5-speed and otherwise loaded Voyager or the “all-American” 1989-1990 Chrysler Town & Country) will have a tough time finding even two bidders at an auction…in my lifetime.

  3. Stealth Man says:

    Hello?? The first minivan was the VW bus, and even horribly rusted examples are commanding high prices…that said, the Chryslers were and are garbage.

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