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It is a pleasure to introduce you, dear reader, to the Delta Van Cruiser, a fully functioning vintage boat that started its life as a Dodge van. Despite everything in you that says this is a one-off custom build by a special eccentric someone in a private garage, 37 of these wild boats were created in Pittsburgh, California, during the ‘70s and ‘80s. 

What is the Delta Van Cruiser?

Delta Van Cruiser was a real company that built boats in California during the ‘70s and ‘80s. It made these boats by cutting up a Dodge van like a string of paper dolls, adding a hull, filling it with boat parts, a Volvo-made Marine V8, and dropping it in the water. The best part of the design might be noticeable by the keenest observers, a Fox-body Mustang’s grille.

While the view from the exterior looks pretty boaty, the interior is a straight-up van. The interior is bizarre but very fun – as you can see just seconds into the video above. What makes it so bizarre is that someone with much or any boat experience will still be very at home in this creation because the interior of the Delta Van Cruiser looks a lot like family road trips from our childhood.

The boat has a raised platform with captain chairs, orange shag carpet, wood paneling, and even a fireplace. Let me say that again; it has a fireplace. The manufacturer’s brochure even mentions a skylight. 

Delta Van Cruiser for sale?

Delta Van Cruiser boat exterior
Delta Van Cruiser | Christopher Heffner

This 1-of-37 vehicle recently came up on a Facebook Dodge Van group. The poster, Christopher Heffner, who we spoke with briefly about the boat, seems very excited to show off his 1980 Delta Van Cruiser. He mentions in the post that the boat was built using a 1979 Dodge Maxi Van and a Mustang 3. He goes on to praise the 26-footer as being completely original and even gives a shout-out to the original wood-burning fireplace. 

The boat was for sale. The strange unit sold quickly to a buyer in Washington. 

While we are certainly stoked for the new owner, it feels like this thing needs a little bit of love to be seaworthy once more. That Volvo V8 engine looks a little tired, and the exterior will likely need a little shoring up (nautical pun intended). 

Good luck finding one

Delta Van Cruiser brochure
Delta Van Cruiser brochure | Delta Van Cruiser: Christopher Heffner

As previously mentioned, the Delta Van Cruiser vintage boat is a rare bird. In fact, seeing as how there were only ever 37 units made, you have almost the same chance of finding one of the 36 remaining Ferrari 250 GTOs. There are far more Dusenbergs (378) that exist than DVCs. 

Does this mean the DVC is a multi-million dollar machine? No. As a wise old man once told me, “The Bubonic plague is rare, too. That doesn’t mean anyone wants it.”