This Seemingly Beat Up Dodge Caravan Hides A Fun Secret

This Seemingly Beat Up Dodge Caravan Hides A Fun Secret
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I probably spend way too much time on online car auction sites looking at cars I can’t afford. Most recently I was looking at a sweet Kei fire engine and boat combo when I spotted a rough Dodge Caravan with a high bid for its condition. Why were people willing to pay so much for this thing? Turns out, it’s hiding some horsepower under the hood.

Upon first glance, this 1994 Dodge Caravan on Cars & Bids looks like a beater, albeit a beautiful beater. Its paint is dull and peeling, it has rust, and the odometer doesn’t even work. Yet, bidding is up to $US8,000 ($10,260).

Photo: Cars & Bids, Other
Photo: Cars & Bids, Other
Photo: Cars & Bids, Other

The thing is, this van doesn’t just have a manual transmission, it sports a turbocharged 2.5-litre four cylinder engine putting down at least 150 horsepower to the ground. Purists look away because this Caravan is far from numbers-matching.

Photo: Cars & Bids, Other

The engine was lifted out of a first-generation Caravan and implanted into this second-gen. Judging from the seller’s responses to bidder questions in the auction, he didn’t build it himself, but the build sheet is impressive, regardless. Here’s a snippet from the auction:

Extensive modifications have been made to this Caravan, and the full list is detailed below. Highlights include a swapped 2.5-litre engine with a .20-inch overbore, all new pistons and bearings, a ported head, PT Cruiser valve lifters, a Turbos Unleashed 3-inch swing valve, a rebuilt transmission, polyurethane driveline mounts, upgraded water and oil pumps, a flashable SMEC module, and custom coilovers.

I say it makes “at least 150 horsepower” because the seller doesn’t actually know. He estimates that the long laundry list of go-fast parts and tuning makes it produce 250-300 horsepower. The van also wears a surprising number of Chrysler PT Cruiser parts, too. I should also mention that it sounds way better than any Caravan has any right to:

This is one seriously souped-up Dodge Caravan. Unfortunately, it’s far from perfect.

The seller notes that along with the peeling paint, the van has dents, dings and rust. A vehicle check also reveals that the van was wrecked two times. The stereo and parts of the dashboard are missing. The horn, odometer, speedometer and cruise control are all in-operational. The odometer shows 308,395 km, presumably from the last time that it worked.

Photo: Cars & Bids, Other

The new engine wasn’t connected to the existing dashboard, but thankfully you’re not completely in the blind. In place of those retro dials the van has a digital screen displaying the car’s vitals and speed.

Photo: Cars & Bids, Other

Unfortunately, it’s not known if the speed displayed on the screen is accurate.

On the plus side, the roof was repainted last month.

Photo: Cars & Bids, Other

That burgundy interior looks really comfy, too.

Photo: Cars & Bids, Other

This is quite possibly the most absurd vehicle that Cars & Bids has ever featured. Wrecked multiple times and barely working?

Honestly, I really like the van in its current state. Imagine pulling up to this van at a light and watching as it absolutely lays waste to you. I can see the appeal in buying something like this.

The Caravan is currently at $US8,000 ($10,260) with 13 bids and two days to go. Props to the person that built this and I hope the new owner has a lot of fun hooning their new toy. Would you buy a project like this?