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, December 31, 2013

   I did a show In Daytona and ended up doing some more striping after the show.  Here are some of the cars 

   From there I made my annual trip to the Brush Off party. A gathering of striping, sign, and custom paint artists.  There is always some excellent  work there.  Here are some of the panels in the exchange.

  James Jenson from Utah did this Rat fink on a Quarter.  This is insane!  lol

   When I'm out there, I stay with Jimmy C.and Dena,  He did this box for the Moon show and I had to have it. It will be my new paint kit.  What a great piece of work.

I got a call from Mr. Green. He had a coke machine he restored for a customer and needed the lettering put back on..

                                                O what fun ......
  I havent had a lot of time to work on the early  but I have been getting wound up to work on it.    I have made the overhead console and installed the electronics. I wanted to put it togeather without any visible screws.  Got it this far. now I need to figure out how to do the front headliner.
   The door panels have been bugging me for a long time.   the stock panels (seen here in black) don't come close to covering the inside of the door.  Even the panels on the window vans with full interiors are 2 parts and still only cover about half of the door.  The problem is the inside of the doors are a very irregular shape.
   I have been mocking up a trial panel and I think I have the problem solved. More on this one later. I have a lot of cool ideas for this .
   The outside of the van was smoothed out, handles & chrome trim removed , Seams filled.  The only thing I left was the Dodge script emblem. I had several of these. Picked the 2 nicest and had them chromed.  They came back today. Excellent work from Advance plating in Nashville!.   

  An extremely classy look.  I love it.  Next time the interior update.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

looking back to the start!

           I have been working on this project for some time. I have had several people ask me  where the idea for this came from.  I thought it would be interesting to repost the spot I did when I started this van to see how it compares to the original idea, and a lot of you never saw this post to begin with   so here it is....

At one time or another , we all have said," I'd love to go back and do it all over , knowing what I know now". That would be nice but we know that isn't going to happen. RIGHT? ..... Well, I might just get the chance.., sort of. My first attempt to build a custom van was to say the least, crude. Ever since I sold it, I have wanted it back. But alas, it went to the crusher, after it was sold about 4 times. 30 years of sellers remorse has given me the desire to reproduce that van, but eliminating the mistakes I made and doing it right . The van was an early model Dodge that I cut in half and shortened. It was a real cute truck, but I really didn't know what I was doing, or have the proper tools. Over the years I have dreamed about what I would do to refine it. Adding ideas, changing things,and making it a little more contemporary. I definitely remember the things I screwed up. I haven't got a lot of pictures of that van,but here are the ones I can find.
My Father-in-law was trying to teach me to weld. I took out the tired slant 6 and, replaced it with a small block V8. Here ,I'm welding the motor mounts. These are pitiful photos. Maybe 4th generation copies.
No ,this is not a trick photo. The chain hoist goes through a hole in the roof that became a sun roof.
This shot in primer shows off how short it was. I still get jazzed looking at this picture. I went to my first van-in in this van in 1975 , still in primer. The camper van was my mom's. Behind it ,is the last car I owned. A 73 gremlin. It went shortly after I started driving the van I took this picture the day I brought home this Chevy van. It was to become the Barnstormer.. I still have it.

There are a lot of things that I want to change. The porthole is of the day, but will go, as will the side pipes. Larger wheels and tires. These are 14's I think. Move the gas filler,and put it behind a door. I want to seal up the rear doors. Solid with no windows. I love that look. Tunneled tail lights..gotta have tunneled tail lights .I did that with the Flamin' Banana. This is the Flamin' Banana. a 68 Dodge van that I built in the early 80's. My first chopped van. (that's my brother) Here it is almost finished at the 13th Nats. in 1985 I've had several early Dodges over the years. I had a beater van (it would make a great rat van today.) that I got so I wouldn't have to drive the Barnstormer every day. Had a lot of fun with this van.. And believe it or not it was a trophy winner.(that's C.B. not me..)

When my brother went into the Marine Corps, he gave me his van for a couple years. I did a lot of work on it and drove it around . We called it the Rubber Biscuit. He was a Blues Brothers fan. I had Juan do a mural on the back of the "Brothers". While I was at This years Rat Fink Reunion I received a call from a friend of mine, Tom, from so. California. A guy in his van club had an early Dodge he wanted to sell. Tom thought of me. The van is a long wheel base, has a v8,and an auto trans. Exactly what I would want to reproduce my van.
These are the pics I have of the new van. It doesn't look like a lot to the untrained eye, but for a 40 year old van this is in great shape.
Look at the floor. The floor under the driver is one of the first places these vans rotted out. This van still has the factory paint on the floor . It will be nice to work on an early without having to fix a bunch of rot. Tom has the van now. Currently I am working on one of his vans. The sooner I get his done ,the sooner I can get this home. I'm excited!! Stay tuned. I will post more on this project.  


That ws about4 years ago. I think I have stayed pretty clost to the plan. I am up to working on th4 interior..I will have more updates on that real soonb.