Monday, July 5, 2021

That weird minivan thing

I first saw one of these Vehicle Production Group MV-1’s in Southern California a few years ago and thought the ugly thing had been imported from China. Or maybe North Korea. But it’s a wheelchair vehicle designed and manufactured in the US from 2011 to 2016 by AM General — the HUMMV folks. It was originally envisioned as a taxi.

It’s a body-on-frame design, first based on the Chevrolet S-10 pickup, then on the Ford Crown Victoria, with a Roush designed frame in there somewhere. Early versions have V-8s and later ones have V-6s. There are also compressed natural gas versions. The taxis were rather utilitarian, but they were gussied up when they were marketed to the general public.

It’s a little larger than an ordinary minivan. For example, compared to the current Dodge Grand Caravan, the wheelbase is about 10 inches longer, it’s an inch wider and 6 inches taller.

They’re starting to show up on the used market. So if you want something slightly larger than a minivan, with military contractor toughness and the hope of taxi fleet longevity, and if you don’t care about looks, this might be what you’re looking for.


  1. Unrelated comment. I just watched the PBS News Hour video interview of Jessica Brudder about Nomadland and she mentioned you and your van by name near the end during the listener questions. I was thrilled to say, "I know him!" :)

  2. We looked at those for my son when they first came out. They were marketed under the idea that it was the only company to design a wheelchair van from the ground up. Most are post production conversions.

    It turned out that there was government funding available for conversions but not for a vehicle built from the ground up.

    We ended up with a Toyota Sienna wheelchair van conversion and have been mostly happy with it;it's still in use. I always wondered what happened to the MV-1.