The Real World – Ford Aerostar

Frank The Tank

Minivans in general don’t get a lot of respect, and the Ford Aerostar in particular has been the object of derision as being a particularly lackluster example of the genre. One Aerostar that bucks that trend of disrespect is Frank the Tank, a $300 ’93 rust bucket that a group of Indiana Hoons bought with the intention of taking on a road trip just to see how far it would take them.

As the hilarious video after the jump shows, it thankfully didn’t even make it out of the parking lot.

Source: [YouTube]


      1. Looks like a training day, burning cars. Though I have no idea why the front end would be so far off the ground.

          1. Well geeze, you post that picture and offer no explanation of the super short Metro? in the background?
            It sounds like it was a pretty cool show. That pic certainly shows a different perspective.

          2. The Metro was part of their more jokey sections, I don't remember exactly what they did with it. It was completely driveable though.

          3. That's kind of cool, in a goofy fair type demonstration way. I guess it wouldn't take too much to make that drivable.

      2. A couple years ago there was a car stunt show at the local fair. They did stuff like drive in close formation, go up on two wheels and crash into things while on fire, that kind of stuff.
        I talked to the guy who was the leader, he was really old and had been doing stunts for decades at that point, he had all sorts of stories. What I remember most is that in the old days he said everyone who did it was super drunk, and that he found new cars could take abuse really well. In a strange coincidence, we had the same dentist 20 years ago.
        The picture itself was just poor camera position, but it made me laugh.
        <img src="; width="500" height="333" alt="Kablam!">
        I also got this picture there, it hangs on my living room wall.

        1. "The picture itself was just the most optimal possible camera position"
          FIXED IT FOR YOU.

          1. Noooo, you didn't, not at all. Then it would be a very understandable photo of a burning car. People know that other people ordinarily take a picture of things like that. As it appears now, it's more like, "They had fire trucks there. Oh, yea, there was also a burning van flying through air, too."

    1. I would love to blow that up really big and hang it in the lobby of a Hilton hotel somewhere.

  1. My Father-in-Law has an undead Aerostar. It's got over 370,000 miles on the clock. At 326,000 miles, he took it on a 5000+ mile road trip. I helped him drive it through Washington state and then again from San Francisco, CA to Albuquerque, NM via Moab, UT. The A/C only half worked (original charge of coolant, and it still produced some cold air!). The shift linkage was shot, and my Father-in-Law, my Brother-in-Law and myself are probably the only people who can consistently get it into gear right now.
    But the (original) engine runs strong and the transmission doesn't slip. The brakes work as well as they ever did. We did have to get some work done on them in Reno during the road trip, but it was minor and didn't delay us at all. And that bit of brake work was just because the pedal feel was off. That's all the trouble it gave on that trip.
    Ok. The driving dynamics of the Ford Aerostar sucks. My Father-in-Law's example is showing nearly every mile of it's age, but it's doing it the American Way. The trim pieces and body are falling away (gone) and deteriorating until naught is left but a running engine and driven wheels. The Aerostar soldiers on.

    1. We had a '93 in our fleet at my old job. It was a cargo van for hauling things and running errands. I hated it driving it, hated its ride, hated its performance, but man, it was reliable. I could haul surprisingly heavy loads inside it, and it never broke down.

  2. I was privileged enough to have an Aerostar XLT Ext 4.0L AWD in the family growing up.
    That beast made it 225,000 before some jackass (a friend of the youngest in the fam) slid the side door too hard back and got it stuck. Then in the attempt to fix it, slammed it forward and wedged it partway open.
    Apparently this happened to the doors from time to time because the Ford Dealer knew the fix. A Sawzall and a new door. He said they had experience doing three of them.
    No thanks. Car donated.
    Went to the auction and killed it. I'm sure it's in Central or South America since that's where most wholesale vans went from my lot.
    Good van to road trip in, plenty of space.
    Just don't ever volunteer to give it a tune-up, the rear spark plugs are a bitch.

  3. Aerostars aren't bad – at least they're RWD. The plastic bumpers are a PITA, though – after enough summers' UV exposure they become brittle, and then any bump causes them to crack or shatter. I did have a Ford body shop manager tell me one time that in an airbag deployment, the pressure change with the windows rolled up caused the little front quarter windows to pop out, requiring replacement.

    1. I'm still looking for a proper set of rear seat belts for my MG Metro. It has the anchor points but inasmuch as rear belts weren't mandatory in the UK until 1987, '82 belts are rather scarce.

      1. They were never really necessary in either the Metro or Fiesta during the late '80's or early '90s when the roads were saturated with them. Instead of seatbelts, to secure those passengers riding in the back the favoured technique was to cram in six or seven illegitimate, social security-funded offspring which would act as wedges and prevent anybody moving around.

      2. Just get some lap belts out of something at a yard, the sort before the spool should fit, and if not you can put the anchor between two license plates and bash away until it does.

  4. Yea, I found that video kind of sad. Our Aerostar has 211000 miles on it. It rattles, but all the trim is there. The front suspension cups tires in about 3000 miles, but it drives and shifts nice.

  5. I drove an Aerostar panel van with a manual trans at my first job. We went way too fast, together. And floored, it made decent sounds.
    The thing I remember most is that I could get absolutely no warmth to come out beneath the dash. Winters were unpleasant.
    Generally fond memories.

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