First model in November 1983; Current model released November 2007.
The Chrysler Voyager and corporate-twin Dodge Caravan were America’s first modern minivans. Ever since their release in late 1983, they have been among the highest-selling vehicles in the USA and Canada, and they’re also sold in more than 80 countries outside North America. This month marks the Chrysler minivans’ 25th anniversary; Driving Vision News takes a look at how these popular family vehicles’ driver vision systems have evolved over the last two and a half decades.
The original 1983 van used four rectangular all-glass disposable sealed-beam headlamps with non-replaceable bulbs. The upper two lamps provided the low beams, and all four lamps provided the high beams. The Caravan/Voyager first got halogen replaceable-bulb headlamps for 1987, and clear optic-free lenses for 1996. Xenon projectors and separate high and low beam halogen reflectors are newly available on the premium models for 2008, though the standard-equipment high/low beam halogen reflector headlamps have changed only in design and style, not in optical technique, since 1996.
Front position lamp, turn signal, and sidemarker functions on each side were provided by two P27/7W bulbs behind a wraparound amber lens with side reflex on the original 1983 van. Today’s 2008 base model uses a single PY27/7W amber bulb behind a clear lens with amber side reflex. The 2008 upgrade and premium models use a PY27/7W amber bulb for front position and turn, and a W3W behind amber reflex for the sidemarker functions. Sidemarkers do not flash; repeaters are provided only on premium models. A 7,000 cd DRL function is provided on Canadian models by operating the high beam headlamps at reduced voltage.
1983 front lights: Overall frontal design adapted to standardised rectangular disposable sealed-beam headlamps. Amber lens covering two dual-filament incandescent bulbs for front position, turn, sidemarker.
2008: (Base model) Front combination lamps designed in accord with overall vehicle style. Amber dual-filament incandescent bulb for front position, turn, sidemarker.
2008: (Upgrade model) Separate high and low beam halogen reflectors from Hella, designed in accord with overall vehicle style. Inboard amber dual-filament incandescent bulb for front position & turn, outboard W3W incandescent behind amber reflex for sidemarker. No side repeater.
2008: (Premium model) Xenon low beam projector, halogen high beam reflector from Valeo-Sylvania, designed in accord with overall vehicle style. Inboard amber dual-filament incandescent bulb for front position & turn, outboard W3W incandescent behind amber reflex for sidemarker. Mirror-mount repeater.
The rear combination lamp on the original 1983 van consisted of a large red optic wraparound lens containing one P27/7W bulb for rear position, stop, and rear turn functions. A small compartment with colourless lens and P27W bulb was inset for the reverse function. The 2008 minivans, whether basic, upgrade, or premium, have rear lighting conceptually identical to the original models, differing only in stylistic detail.
1983 rear lamp: A wraparound red optic lens with one dual-filament bulb for stop/tail/turn, one single-filament bulb for reverse.
2008 rear lamp: A wraparound red smooth lens with optic reflector. One dual-filament bulb for stop/tail/turn, one single-filament bulb for reverse.
In 1983, the only driver assistance systems available were paper maps, written directions, and accessory compasses to be affixed to the dashboard. The 2008 Chrysler minivans are available with a navigation system, Gentex SmartBeam automatic high/low beam selection, and a lane-change blind spot warning system operating through the side mirrors.