Origins of the 14 Passenger Van

There are many different styles of 14 passenger vans. Some are used for entertainment and travel while some serve more practical purposes.


These vans have an interesting history that reveals how their design evolved and changed over time.

A Brief History of 14 Passenger Vans

Like 12 passenger vans, the 14 passenger van became popular right around the early 1970s.  They grew in popularity and there was an increase in sales noted in the 1980s.  One of the most popular 14 passenger vans is the conversion van.  These vans come with a wide range of floor plans.  The earliest models were cargo-style vans with seating installed and some sported intricate artwork on their exterior.  In the 1970s conversion vans came with carpeted interiors and they were commonly used by touring bands.  As their popularity grew, these vans became a day to day form of transportation.

The 14 passenger vans of yesteryear had similar problems to the early 15 passenger van models.  These vans were often large with a short nose and a doghouse compartment that housed the motor.  The compartment was underneath the cabin of the vehicle and rested in between the front seating area.  The larger body made the vehicle more difficult to maneuver and rollover accidents were common.  Carmakers adapted the body of the 14 and 15 passenger vans to make them more stable, safer to drive, and to increase the passenger room in the interior.

The 1980s and 14 Passenger Vans

The design of 14 passenger vans changed dramatically during the 1980s.  A focus was put on comfort, on luxury, and on style.  The new conversion vans were being built with special interior lighting, real wood trims, padded, comfortable seating, and these vehicles appealed to retired individuals looking for a travel vehicle as well as families seeking vehicles for transporting large families.  These vans soon became a popular form of transport for camping and on the road trips.  Almost simultaneously, governmental organizations started investing in conversion vans for their use.  An increased focus on safety was demanded and regulations were enacted to ensure vehicular and passenger safety.  Due to the luxury feature add-ons and the demand for improved safety features, the cost of 12 and 14 passenger vans increased. 

The increases were paralleled by a decrease in the number of units sold annually.  A rise in the cost of fuel caused many consumers to seek out alternative vehicles; the 14 passenger van houses a V8 engine so it used far more fuel than a V6 or four cylinder engines did.  What’s more, the bodies of 14 passenger vehicles were far from aerodynamic and its lack of aerodynamic features diminished the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.  Later, when the SUV and the minivan entered the vehicle industry in the 1980s, a greater decline in the purchase of 14 passenger vehicles was witnessed.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that a rise in passenger vans was noted; there were more than 200K units sold in the mid 1990s.  In the year 2007 only 20K units of passenger conversion vans were sold and this is the same amount of vehicles sold each year till this day.  Commonly they are purchased for family transportation purposes or for organization and business use.

The Style History of 14 Passenger Vans

Conversion 14 passenger vans were often created with two different styles: a high or low top roof.  Low top conversion van offerings are the oldest type of conversion van; these vans still sport the same roof that the carmaker added to the van when it was originally manufactured.  The low roof diminishes interior space, but it maintains the aerodynamic properties of the van.  By the 1980s low top vans were no longer popular.  People wanted add on features like flat screen televisions, DVD players, VCRs, and other entertainment options.  With minimized room in the interior, the flat top roof proved impractical.  Thus, car makers began creating conversion vans with high top roofs; this is where the roof is removed, cut away, and replaced by a high raised roof or elk top.  This feature alone is a major characteristic of the modern conversion van. 

The roof elevation allowed for a greater ceiling height.  It gives passengers the ability to stand while in the vehicle, and it offered up more interior space for entertainment add-ons.  The elevated roof proofed beneficial to those that utilize conversion vans to transport the disabled too; it made for more room for wheelchairs and wheelchair lift use.  Great storage areas are gained from the elk roof inclusion as well.  While the design of the elk roof has had subtle changes to its angling over time, to improve lighting conditions and to reduce leakage potential, the raised roof option still remains popular.

The Use of 14 Passenger Vans

The conversion van capable of carrying 14 passengers is often used as a travel van.  A conversion van can hold anywhere from 7 to 15 passengers, depending upon its body size.  The seating can be arranged in different ways, but there is always a concentration on ease of ingress/egress and passenger comfort.  Sometimes captain chair seating is offered, but there are also vans with bench seating in the third and forth rows.  In some cases these seats can fold down when they are not in use, thereby offering up additional cargo space for travelers.  The body of a travel van will commonly sport entertainment features like televisions and stereo systems.  They will also be fitted with cabinets for storage, big, tinted windows, and some have shades for passenger privacy.  When televisions were added in the 1980s the equipment was bulky and large so it was commonly mounted to the van’s floor.  Now, with flat panel LCD/LED HDTVs, the televisions can be mounted near the ceiling for a better viewing experience.  Families like these vans for traveling, especially if they have children since they are often sold with one or more electronic gaming systems.

More Information On 14 Passenger Vans

For a variety of 12 to 15 passenger vans for purchase or rental, please visit http://www.conversionvansdealers.com/Used_Conversion_Vans.html to see the offerings from Image Van Sales.