Family Freighter: 1969 Ford Econoline Club Wagon Chateau – $7,900

by | Sep 2021 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

We consider vans to be the chameleon of the automotive industry. Most vans produced with no side windows end up being run to the ground either as work trucks or campers.  However, add a bunch of windows and a few rows of seats and suddenly you have a high roof station wagon capable of hauling people and all of their stuff. Ford’s Econoline is a great example.  While most Econolines produced were panel sides, Ford also offered the windowed Club Wagon version epitomized by this 1969 Chateau 123 example currently listed here on Craigslist in Alpha, Pennsylvania (Phillipsburg).

Offered for sale by the grandson of the original owner, he is currently asking $8,000. Comparing that price against the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $7,000 and its #1 “Excellent appraisal of $11,800 before factoring in a premium for the Chateau trim.  That’s a bit optimistic for a van that’s been sitting for six years that, while it runs and drives, is in need of a total restoration.

As the result of a lengthy United Auto Workers strike in 1967, Ford was forced to delay the launch of the second-generation Econoline van until January 1968. Instead of calling it a 1968 or 1968-1/2 model, Ford decided to call it the 1969 model. Shedding its Falcon roots, the second-generation Econoline became a heavier-duty vehicle, sharing many of its underpinnings with the F-series full-sized pickups.

While second-generation Econoline continued to rely on unibody construction, a major change was made in the overall layout in the body and chassis of the Econoline. To build a heavier-duty chassis, the midengined, forward-control layout was abandoned in favor of a front-engined layout with the axle placed forward; this also allowed the use of the “Twin I-Beam” front suspension used in the F-series trucks. The redesign in the configuration resulted in major growth: the wheelbase increased fifteen inches while the 18 inch longer long-wheelbase model became the largest full-sized van offered in North America at the time. For the first time, V8 engines became optional.

With the change of chassis and axle configurations, the Econoline gained a conventional hood for engine access for basic fluid filling. To aid in engine compartment ventilation, the model was given a conventional grille, styled similar to the F series.

Inside the Econoline, the shift of the engine location moved the engine housing from between the seats to in front of the driver and front passenger, under the windshield. While the Econoline cargo van remained, it was joined by an Econoline passenger van. To attract more buyers to passenger vans, Ford introduced two new trims of the passenger van, the Ford Club Wagon and Ford Club Wagon Chateau.

The Cars & Stripes YouTube Channel provides this 1969 Ford commercial comparing their then-new Econoline to competitors of the period:

Most of these early second-generation Econolines have long since been run to the ground, so it’s a rare site to come across a Chateau version in any condition.  Based on the pictures provided, this van appear to be a restorable example and if you decide to take it on, we hope you have someone weld in a steel replacement for the vintage aftermarket sunroof.  If you are serious about buying this classic Econoline Club Wagon, you can start the conversation by emailing the private seller.  When you connect, please remember to mention you saw their Chateau featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1969 Ford E230 Club Wagon Chateau 123, excellent running 302 converted to 4100 series 4bbl carb (needs some tweaking), C4 automatic and 3.55 9 inch rear. Been in the family since new, purchased by my grandfather. Has 54k original miles on it, not rolled over. Clean title, and full documentation. Runs and will drive, however been sitting for 6 years and should have a thorough going over before taking an out of town trip. Body is in good shape save the rocker skins (inners are fine). Underside has no rust to speak of. Windshield should be replaced at some point do to fogging in the lower corners (correct chrome trim option windshield seal included). Driver seat needs to be redone, passenger seat could be saved, and rear bench is in decent condition. Needs carpet and headliner. Repainted once, needs it again. Manual brakes and manual steering, however do have the factory power steering setup out of a ’72 that will go with it (power steering was not available yet in ’69 but will bolt in).

I’m not going to bore anyone with a long detailed write-up. If your interested, feel free to contact me and I will answer all questions.

This is a classic van, I will consider non-lowball offers. I will also not respond to rude comments or anyone offering half the asking price. Be reasonable and I will also.

I will consider partial trades plus cash for 1980-86 Ford Broncos in rust free condition (running or not), 1980-86 Ford F150 SuperCab short bed, and possibly 1978-79 Broncos as well.

Show or go: what would you do with this Ford Econoline Club Wagon?  Comment below and let us know!

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