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Autotrader Find: Pristine 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan With 53,000 Miles

Here’s one of my favorite Autotrader Find vehicles in recent memory: a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan that’s been beautifully preserved like some sort of high-end exotic car. It’s offered for sale by Brooks Biddle Automotive, which is in the Seattle area, and it’s finished in a hilarious 1990s Dodge van color combination: gold with a beige interior.

I think the thing that I like so much about this van is that nobody has really bothered to preserve these things, even though they were so important to American automobile life in the 1990s. Who didn’t spend a little time in the back of one of these as a kid growing up in that decade, or in the front as a parent driving? And yet, this era has largely been forgotten, as these vans have been used hard with no thought given to saving them for future generations.

In spite of that, here’s this one. It’s a 1998 Grand Caravan SE, which is a low-end model with cloth seats and hubcaps. The interior is precisely as I remember it from many family trips where this was the rental vehicle, with large panel gaps and big buttons. I also remember just how innovative this van seemed when this particular body style debuted in 1996, as it was the first minivan with dual sliding doors.

According to the Carfax report, this van has only had one owner: the government. It was purchased new in May 1998 and registered for government use, perhaps explaining the low number of miles and overall nice condition. The government impressively used it for 20 years, and now it’s available to you — for the surprisingly affordable price of $5,632. Not bad for a pristine minivan.

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  1. Picked up a 96 with 152k on the clock from single loving orig owner that kept it up properly… for 50 bucks because he hit a curb median with it, blew the bags and set right wheel 1.5″ back. 

    3 years, 71k miles, and $800 of repairs later (not fixing bags or wheel setback)… best money I’ve ever spent. 223k on the clock now and she runs and shifts tip top. 

    My only grip with it is that there’s too much wind noise around A and B pillars which is something they deliberately fixed in the 4th Gens. 

    Nice thing about these 3rd gens over the 4th is that they are lighter and more connected to the road.

  2. These days you barely see any of the 90s minivans on the road. You do see plenty of 90s Hondas and Toyotas, but none of the Chryslers or Fords. My assumption was that most of them got trashed in the “Cash for Clunkers” program. Or maybe I’m just living in the wrong area.

    • A quick Wikipedia scan reveals that the Grand Caravan was indeed the #5 model trashed in the Cash for Clunkers program. I’m not sure how many cars that can actually account for, but I assume it made a difference.

  3. My parents had a ’98 make it to 150k problem free miles at trade in, a ’00 make it to 325k miles only replacing an alternator and fanbelt, and an ’03 with over 150k miles only replacing an AC condenser. They STILL talk about these vans being the best vehicles they’ve ever owned lol.

    • I am convinced that American minivans are the toughest vehicles ever made.  They all live the most horrendous lives with little to no upkeep or maintenance.  Thoroughly trashed from the day they rolled off the dealer lot and coated in a thick, sticky layer of dried soda, candy and snot.  Once they move on from being a family’s rolling dumpster, they get bought by crazy hoarders that literally pack them with garbage, leaving only a tiny cutout around the driver.  The rear suspension sags all the way to the bump stops because of the weight.  Yet, they just keep going.  It’s kind of honorable.

    • Not quite, there’s a reason why you still see a ton of these around with high mileage. My 96 has 223k on orig 3.3 and trans and I know so many other examples. The very early A604s were the problematic ones…or if people ran Dexron in them. 

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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