Ford Econoline Kilimanjaro


It's Friday, and so while I could just write about some swoopy, forgotten sports car, it's important to keep things both odd and infuriating every now and then.

For instance: how drunk did they have to get at Ford to think that creating a low-slung "safari" van was a good idea? Why did they give it leopard print crap-phics, or steps up to the roof in order to have a model stand on said steps while wearing what looks like Dick Tracy's suit?

I don't know. It was the '60s, man.

Look more closely, however, and the van seems to make more sense. Those leopard graphics follow the van's character lines, and although beige paint is beige paint, the two do seem to work nicely together. A fully-loaded van would need serious firepower to get it out of trouble, so the Kilimanjaro is fitted with two winches, a roof-mounted spare tire, rifles, and a fold-out side panel. 

Y'know, for shooting things.

In 1969, it was also quite novel because of its four-wheel-drive system. In a roundabout way, it occupies a strange place between a Sbarro Windhound and Sportsmobile. Who was responsible for this madness? Larry Shinoda, during his brief stint at Ford.

So is this a forgotten icon of what we would now expect from our large passenger vehicles? Or a uselessly tarted-up and tone deaf custom job built solely to attract people to the Ford booth at auto shows? Probably a little bit of both.