Camper vans have always had a niche. They offer most of the features of a larger RV in a practical size you can park anywhere. The type of camper conversions varies widely, from homebuilt vehicles to custom-builds like this Dodge Ram Van.
Listed for sale on the auction site Cars & Bids, the 1996 Dodge Ram Van B3500 is an extended-length van converted into a pop-top camper. Sportsmobile, a company specializing in van conversions for over 60 years, completed the work. Unlike many third-generation Ram vans produced from 1993 to 2003, this one is rust-free. It spent most of its life in Texas and only accumulated 47,000 miles.
With the pop-top, it’s similar to a Volkswagen California Camper, only larger. It includes a sofa that converts into a bed, a loft, and a kitchenette with a sink, stove, and refrigerator. There are plenty of cabinets for storage, a water heater, and a toilet.
Like the Chevrolet Blazer Chalet Camper we saw earlier, it’s very much of its time period. The hue of the interior occupies the middle ground, somewhere between hunter and mint green. It’s offset by the white cabinets and countertops and grey carpet. Like the van’s exterior, it’s remarkably clean, showing hardly any signs of use. Some people may get all judgy on the color scheme, but others will find it wicked cool.
Power comes from a trusty 5.9-liter V8 producing 230 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque connected to a four-speed automatic transmission. First built in the early 1970s, the 5.9-liter motor was used in various guises for over 30 years. It was based on Chrysler’s LA motor, which started life in the early 1960s. Even though the engine’s power rating is low by modern standards, it’s adequate for the B3500.
As for the Ram van itself, it was produced from 1970 to 2003 in a wide range of body configurations. The third-generation B3500 is 231 inches long with a wheelbase that stretches almost 128 inches. Before it was discontinued, the body-on-frame configuration was a popular platform for the conversion van and motorhome industries. Recently, it has seen a resurgence, becoming sought-after by people who want to build a camper using a full-size, extended-length platform as a starting point.