At $19.995, Is This ’88 Dodge Ram Surveillance Van A Good Deal?

Nice Prize or No Dice 1988 Dodge D250 Ram Van

The whole idea of ​​a radio surveillance vehicle is that it should be unobtrusive, which is a thing these days Nice price or no dice Don’t dodge. Let’s see if we can solve the case about this strange Ram bus and its selling price.

Mercedes-Benz recently announced that it plans to switch its cars and consumer trucks to electric power in certain markets by the end of the decade. That edict was tempered more recently when a representative revealed that the company has no plans to retire its V8s this decade, and if there is demand, AMG will continue to build them even after 2030.

That’s a relief for us petrolheads, but if cars like yesterday’s 2006 Mercedes E55 AMG are still around and in just as nice shape, will it really matter? Our Benz was presented as in mint condition, although it had far from like new miles. That, and an asking price of $26,000, didn’t sit well with many of you, resulting in a 61 percent loss without dice.

In yesterday’s vote, the results looked like a toss-up. Of course, if the ability to wiretap your phone lines or intercept your internet feed was available, we might have been able to determine well in advance what the final outcome would be. If only there was such a thing as an ex-FBI security van around to aid in such hypothetical endeavours.

Image for article titled For $19.995, Is This 1988 Dodge Ram Surveillance Van A Mysteriously Good Deal?

This one 1988 Dodge Ram B250 is advertised as an ex-FBI surveillance car.

For whatever reason, it’s also dressed up to look like the Mystery Machine from the much-loved Saturday morning cartoon show, Scooby Doo, where are you! That show was a formative icon for many a tween man, as debates raged over high school lunch dishes and gym classes over whether Velma or Daphne was the more appealing tone. For example, I was always with Team Velma. Tween girls didn’t have to have such discussions because there really is no doubt about whether Fred or Shaggy is the better boyfriend material. I think Fred’s ascot says it all.

Image for article titled For $19.995, Is This 1988 Dodge Ram Surveillance Van A Mysteriously Good Deal?

Unfortunately, I digress. The real question is why does this Dodge van even exist in its current form at all? If it really was an FBI surveillance van as claimed by the salesman and evidenced by the whole array of listening devices and recorders in the back, shouldn’t it be a lot more inconspicuous? Or at least disguised as something passersby don’t want to take a selfie with while “doing it for the Gram?”

Image for article titled For $19.995, Is This 1988 Dodge Ram Surveillance Van A Mysteriously Good Deal?

The weird mix of TV show tropes really is a mind destroyer and the seller doesn’t help explain as they only provide a single sentence of description in the ad:

1988 Dodge Ram Van w 8k mi. FBI Surveillance Mystery Machine.

It’s sold by what appears to be a small dealership and the ad gives us at least the mileage – 8K – and the fact that it comes with a clean title. But exactly why it is, however, remains unanswered. There is also no explanation as to why there is some BMW braid in the back of the van.

Image for article titled For $19.995, Is This 1988 Dodge Ram Surveillance Van A Mysteriously Good Deal?

We can get some useful information from the photos. Included is a photocopy of an older title, showing that the owner was the Hudson, Massachusetts Police Department at the time. We also get to see the van from all angles and those photos show it’s in some pretty nice shape with decent chrome and trim, and a pretty accurate look at the whole Mystery Machine aesthetic.

The cabin looks just as neat with reasonable vinyl upholstery under the Scooby Doo seat covers and a rubber carpet in the front. The rear is completely closed and carpeted. A director’s chair faces a console with lots of electronics and there’s an extra bench above the right wheel arch and – god damn it – a port-a-potty tucked behind the left side.

Image for article titled For $19.995, Is This 1988 Dodge Ram Surveillance Van A Mysteriously Good Deal?

Power comes from a 5.2 liter V8 with 170 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Large engine access is under the dog house in the cabin. A three-speed automatic accompanies the engine and drives the rear wheels. Nothing is said about the state of the mechanics, but come on, they’ve only done 8000 miles.

So this van is a bit of a mystery, wrapped in a question and painted to look like the Mystery Machine. What must that really be worth? The dealer seems to think it’s worth $19,995 and now it’s up to you to solve the mystery of whether or not that’s a right take.

Image for article titled For $19.995, Is This 1988 Dodge Ram Surveillance Van A Mysteriously Good Deal?

What do you think, could this surveillance bus be worth that $19,995? Or do you not see, hear or intercept that via a tapped telephone line?

You decide!

New London, Connecticut, Craigslistor go here when the ad disappears.

H/T to Maximusorama for the connection!

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