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Chrysler celebrates 30 years of minivans with special Grand Caravan, Town & Country

Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan will offer unique interior trim.

By AutoWeek Sep 6, 2013 11:38AM





This year has seen quite a few important automotive milestones. Aston Martin celebrated its centennial, and the Porsche 911 turned 50, as did the Lotus Elan.


Even Cunningham had a milestone to celebrate, with the marque founded by Briggs Cunningham turning 60. An anniversary you might not have heard about with all the hubbub surrounding the celebrations at Pebble Beach, Lime Rock and other venues is Chrysler's minivans turning 30.


That's right, it's been 30 years since Chrysler hit a home run, at the 11th hour as per usual, and launched the Town & Country minivan, liberating millions of kids from the drudgery of riding in the back of the family station wagons to and from sporting events. And now that we've reached a point in time when people are actually nostalgic about riding in the cargo areas of faux-wood bedecked station wagons, Chrysler is debuting a special edition Town & Country and Grand Caravan to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of its Chrysler and Dodge minivans.



The Town & Country 30th Anniversary Edition will be based on the Touring-L model and will feature 17-inch wheels with polished faces, "30th Anniversary" badging and Granite Crystal paint as an option. This special edition will use the 3.6-liter V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, making 283 hp. Interior touches will include black Alcantara seat inserts with napa seat bolsters, piano-black steering wheel bezel, and a "30th Anniversary" logo in the gauge cluster. The Convenience Group options will be standard in this model, which means it'll have heated first- and second-row seating, power adjustable pedals and a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, in addition to other luxury touches.



The Grand Caravan 30th Anniversary Edition will be available on the SE and SXT models, and will feature the same 3.6-liter engine as in the Town & Country. The Dodge Grand Caravan SE 30th Anniversary Edition will have 17-inch polished satin carbon-aluminum wheels, body-color heated exterior mirrors and "30th Anniversary" badging on the front fenders. On the interior, arguably where it matters most, the 30th Anniversary Dodge Grand Caravan will feature silver accent stitching and piano-black accents, black cloth seats and a black leather-wrapped steering wheel, in addition to other luxury details. The SXT trim version of the anniversary model will have all the features of the SE, but with added luxury touches like chrome window trim moldings and roof rack, fog lamps and black Torino Leatherette seats with suede inserts and silver accent stitching.

-- Jay Ramey

 

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34Comments
Sep 6, 2013 5:03PM
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come on Auto week, get your facts right. The Town and Country didn't exist 30yrs ago. It was the Dodge Grand Caravan and Plymouth Voyager that created the minivan 30 yrs ago.
Sep 25, 2013 4:13PM
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All you 12 year olds don't remember the first mini-vans.  Sure, the VW van, that started in 1957 was one, and so was the English Ford Thames.  But...Ford had the "Falcon Econoline", which grew in a "truck" later, but started out as a falcon brake, falcon engine/transmission, falcon rear axle economy-sized mini-van.  Chevy had the Corvair van, and Dodge also had one. 

They were small, powered by small engines, aimed at carrying passengers (and included windowless versions available) and cargo but still get good mileage.   The fact that "Mini-van" means small van has nothing to do with front-or-rear wheel drive.  The Ford Aerostar was credited as a mini-van, and it was not front wheel drive.  They were popular, but by no means the first.  I'll bet you all think the GTO was the first fast car.

Sep 9, 2013 6:12AM
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Minivans hold a certain special fascination for me.  Most who have seen me write here before are aware that I hold a disdain for pickup trucks and SUV's.  However, I firmly believe that a sports car's best friend is a van, in particular a somewhat more "collectible" sports car like my '86 RX-7.  What other vehicle can carry spare parts, tires, wheels, tools, junkyard parts, replacement engines, and replacement transmissions in a private enclosed environment with a low load floor all while having the ability to tow the car?  A pickup truck with a camper shell is of course not a terrible choice but so many beds these days are too high in the air.  A modern SUV is just a terrible choice with high load floors combined with roof shapes that compromise cargo height.  A more "classically styled" SUV like the Tahoe/Suburban could do the trick but still suffer the same elevated load height problem.

So from my eyes, I could think of no better companion to a sports car than a van.  The ideal I think would be a used cargo van, but a minivan has its pluses too.

Logically, I should want a new/recently used Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town and Country/VW Routan for this purpose.  The trouble is, no matter how right it is I just don't want one.  It is entirely silly, but I feel that it has no personality at all and I just can't get over that.  Plus, I have driven Chrysler vans before and they just drive terrible.  I remember seeing old commercials for minivans where they hawked that they were "vans that drove like cars".  I can see that, it just drives like a terrible car.  I think their vans would benefit as vans if they simply let them drive like trucks a little bit.  There is simply no way a 17'6" long, 6'6" wide, and 7' tall boat is going to drive like a good car, so just give it up.

For vans that I actually want, even if they are abit off the wall and silly.  I can't help but love the Mazda 5, even though it does throw the whole towing thing out the window.  It is actually within an inch in all dimensions of being the same size as the original '84 Dodge Caravan.  I think this is what those old commercials talked about when they said "a van that drives like a car".  I once test drove it, and it was the only van that could fool me into forgetting for just a minute that I wasn't driving a van.  The other is the old '00 to '03 VW Eurovan.  It looks and drives like a European delivery van because it is a European delivery van.  But as a van it is awesome, plus it's tow rating of 4,400lbs is surprisingly good (point of reference, the current 3.6L Grand Caravan has a tow rating of 3,600lbs).

Mar 21, 2014 7:34PM
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i like this truck because i like the insides and outsides and its well made and its made in the usa

 

Sep 25, 2013 7:04PM
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Chrysler has had so many problems with their minivans and trucks that I'm surprised people buy them. After reading about the problems, I would never buy one.
Sep 9, 2013 12:44AM
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i don't this is an important segment, the real SUVs are converted to crossover for better styling and they are doing well in terms of design and styling, however, those crossovers have better mileage (e.g. pathfinder 20/26mpg which can't be found in this segment).
but imagine the coming full size SUV (tahoe v6) will offer 18/24mpg which the same mileage of ordinary minivan!!
Sep 6, 2013 11:59AM
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Let's face it, there is nothing glamorous about a minivan but could they at least TRY to make it look nice inside and out? This vehicle could not possibly get more drab, plus why buy it when every other minivan out there is rated higher in every category?
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