Vanning is a compulsion, an obsession, an occupation, an affliction, a fascination, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it, must. Those who don't, think it's a waste of time. For me it is a calling.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

          Every once in a while something comes along that you never expected.  Such an occurrence happened to me today. I have been into the custom paint thing since I was about 20 years old. I didn't know much about it at the time. but I wanted to do cool things with my rides. I was never into the go fast thing. I was more into how it looked rolling down the street.
 Being a young kid ,living in Columbus (read that cow town)  Ohio. I was about as far as you could get from the heart of the custom car culture. The big daddy , rat fink  and the like, may as well have been on another planet.
         I was first exposed to the pinstriping world when I came across an article in Hot Rod magazine about Von Dutch. That was in the 70's.  It had a brief history about the man who is credited with starting the custom pinstriping art form ,and several pages about the basics of striping.  What paint to use, brushes, thinner, technique etc. It was enough to get me to buy some brushes and play with it.

       A short time later I started my correspondence with Ed Roth.  He really was the one to teach me most in those days.  As many of you know I was asked by Ed and his wife Ilene to paint his casket when he passed away. That was an honor that I still can't believe was given to me. 

       Well, today I was honored to be asked to do some striping on the newly restored Von Dutch bus.   If you wrote a movie script using Dutch's life it would be so far out there, not to be believed. He was a character to say the least.  Not only was he a famous pinstriper . He also loved to work in metal. building vehicles from scratch. Knives and guns were also a favorite of his.  His knives alone command a healthy price now, into the thousands of dollars..
       For many years Dutch lived in this bus and would park it in the desert and create in his portable machine shop.  After he died in 1992, the bus was stripped and was left sitting in a field. years later,  Steve Kafka bought the bus and restored it. He found a lot of the original machinery and parts and put the bus back the way it was when Dutch was living in it, complete with some of his cigarette butts on the work bench.  lol.

    My bud Magoo ,from Vegas ,was also to do some work on the bus, so we met up at Steve's shop near Phoenix today and went at it. I was to do some striping on the panel that was just above Dutch's  bed.   The design I was asked to do was, the some what famous Dutch design, of "Harvey shaken by cross breeding". 
It was an almost spiritual experience being in his bus and striping on a wall panel having gotten started 40 years ago with advice from him.  That along with my association with Ed, I am humbled to have ended up here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The wiring in the console gets more complicated as we go.Because of the placement of the door latch,using a solenoid to open the door is somewhat difficult. The window motors and other structures don't leave much room.  So I found a kit from Auto-Lock to convert the windows to remote operation

Hopefully this is the last thing to wire in  the console.  I have to install switches for interior lighting but I have all the connections ready to hook up.
I love this....the remote unit has another channel that allows me to hook up a release for the side door that will work with the same remote. 
   The entire van will have sound deadening mat applied. Sticky rubber mats that keep road noise down and insulate the interior
When making a custom install, there is a lot of trial and error.  So far there has been about 3 errors and 2 two trials on the radiator. but I think this combo will work.   
We had to give the shroud the steep angle to clear all the obstructions, and keep it high enough off the ground as not to get ripped off by debris in the road.

The enging cover is the next thing on the list. If you haven't seen the older post where we shortened the engine cover maybe you should go back and check it out.  Suffice to say the dog house is almost 8 inches shorter than stock. There is some welding to finiosh up and holes to make to be able to bolt it all togeather..  then it will be the first pieces to get painted!   O Boy!
When I show this truck, I want to show the engine. this engine box is deep and all the cool stuff is to low to see.   IDEA.     
  Make a  front engine cover with a cutaway, that I can install when the van is on display.
  With a little fab work and welding , it is all visible!
Vance came down and we finished up some  welding that was needed on the trans mount.  
 Hopefully the weather will warm up enough that I can get the radiator filled and trans lines finished and finally drive  it!!  till next time....

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy New Year 13!!

Yes, The new year is here.  I haven't posted for a while but I have a good reason.  Spent the last month of the year on an extended trip. Many miles to the 4 corners of the country.  Here is the short version.   
 First stop was the Turkey Run in Florida. Striped a bunch of cars and ended up down at Lew's workin' on the van. I had a bad thermostat . Lew is a life saver.  Helped me change it and got it ready for the next 5,000 miles!  
Then spent a few days at Judith's workin' on Nats stuff and more.

Drove to the west coast..Did the Mooneyes show.  Here I gave Ilene Roth the Christmas hillbilly crash helmet Judith made for her.   Very cool!   lol
Spent a week hangin with Jimmy C. Paintin and clownin' around .  What a great time.  Thanks Dena and Jimmy!  Your the greatest....O yea,  Had a burger or two also.  
Started this painting while I was there.Not finished  yet. Trying to get it done for the Rat Fink Reunion this coming June. Think I'll make it?   
Went to the Brush off event again.  A collection of some of the best stripe artists in the country. Here is a few of the pieces that were there.
\Each artist brings a panel for trade and we draw to see who gets which one.   a great time!
\ Hung out with Kenny for a few days.  Went to his place,  the underworld.   Look close in the background.  that's the Hollywood sign.  He's in the Hollywood hills.. The road goin' up this mountain is unbelievable! Curvy , Narrow!  very cool.
We went to the live steam clubs park.  Been trying to do that for a long time. 
                                                                              He took me to Forest Lawn cemetery . Visited Buster Keaton and others.   that was cool to.
  Went thru Vegas and visited Magoo.  Then made it to Ilene's for more Fink stuff... Then it was back home for Christmas and the New Year.

Back to the old garage... its time to pick up where I left off. The the air condition and heater unit is connected to all the hoses but the electrical isn't even started. Since I'm waiting for the shroud and radiator to get done I figured I would do the rest of the electrical.   The stereo needs a few things finished. Got that done and the thing is incredible..It will do everything but make your lunch. Then started by running wires up the windshield to a power block.   
I have done a lot of work smoothing out the sides. Shaved door handles, hinges, filled seams.   The last thing I want to do is screw an ugly mirror to the side of the van.  IDEA!  Why not use backup cameras in place of the mirrors?  I found some and monitor screens on eBay.  I made pods for the cameras out of resin and fit them to the doors in the front corners. Check out the pics.  Once they are painted you won't even notice them.  I got them hooked up and they work better that I imagined. You can see a full 360 degrees around the van.  More than any set of mirrors. I can't believe I'm the first to think of this!!  

There will be a 3rd monitor in the middle for a camera in the back.  My buddy Tommy has been using this trick on his bus for a rear view .. many RVs have rear cameras.  We've been using mirrors on vehicles for over 100 years.  It's time technology is applied to the lowly 
Gotta figure out what I'm going to do with the interior. I have a basic idea what I want to do. but I need to figure out what will work and what wont..  Cardboard mock ups help.   
 Got the heater and air controls mounted in the dash.  Time to finish wiring and hooking up the duct work.
Figured I would get what sound deadner I had on hand installed,  I have more coming   its gonna take quite a bit .
Vance has finished the radiator shroud. Got him a sheet of aluminum and he fabricated a custom shroud with a high volume fan from a ford police interceptor.  Awesome    lol