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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Dodge Caravan
Catalog #: 2003.0287.01, Accession #: 2003.0287
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
This minivan was owned by a Michigan family. They bought the minivan because their family car was too small for family vacations. They used the minivan to travel, run errands, transport their children to and from sporting events, and move their children back and forth to college.
Physical Description

Artifact. A first generation mini-van. Approximate dimension: 190.5"L x 69.6"W x 65"H. Approximate weight: 3304 lbs. Occupancy: 7 passengers. Engine: 4 cylinder, 2.6 Liter (156 cubic inches) 2BBL carburator. Horsepower: 104. Transmission: 3-speed automatic. Color: gunmetal-pearl coat (dark blue gray) with imitation wood side panels. It also has a luggage roof rack and sunscreened coated back windows.

Date Made:
Dates Used:
1986 - about 2001
Gift of Daimler Chrysler Corporation
The minivan is the product of a long, evolutionary process that turned trucks into automobiles for the suburban market. By the 1950s, the station wagon had changed from a truck to a car, and even pickup trucks were designed with some automotive features. In the 1960s, some vans were fitted with sedan-type amenities. In the late 1970s, the Chrysler Corporation designed a small affordable van that looked and handled more like a car. Strong sales helped Chrysler Corporation recover from its financial difficulties and were a striking countertrend to the inroads made by Japanese imports in the American automotive market.
Related People, Places, and Events
Dodge Division, Chrysler Corporation

Place of Use
Warren, Michigan (1986 - about 2001)

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