Originally Posted by ddavidv
Toying occasionally with the idea of getting a van to tow my race car instead of my pickup, I've got a few ideas that may or may not be helpful.
A couple of ways to get more van for the money is to buy an older conversion van (the ones with all the windows, lots of velour upholstery and miles of vinyl decals on the outside). People who buy them new usually take decent care of them, because they are expensive, but they are like an outdated luxury car when they are used...very limited market, so the value is depressed. Not sure about CA, but where I live they are titled as station wagons (car tags) so are much, much cheaper to license. The vast majority are half tons. Conversions are usually very poor quality and the materials wear quickly, so this adds to the poor resale value. Buy one, back up to a dumpster, remove all the useless conversion crap (seats, carpet, faux wood paneling) and have yourself a nice van that is maybe a car in the eyes of the state.
. Sadly in California they are generally priced a bit more than an ordinary 1/2 ton van. HOWEVER.........as you stated they can have lower mileage. and I see a lot of them have the raised roof option which is a huge benefit. Sadly the rear seat to bed conversion is not space efficient. Does anyone know if you get a standard length van and move the" bench seat that folds to a bed" from its rear position to just behind the front seats............................can you load a dirtbike behind it and close the doors?
Go for the van for towing the race car. I went with a E-350 I picked up for $2700 with 78K on the 460. It towed my four wheel car trailer and race car like it wasn't even there, and I could load the inside of the van with all my jacks, tools, gas, coolers, EZups etc and never worry about it when parked overnight. You'll love the van upgrade. That was a few years ago and it seems prices have skyrocketed on used vans.