View Full Version : Twenty-Four Years in the making

12-14-2016, 12:49 PM
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:DoNotOptimizeForBrowser/> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> Remember this was 24 years ago and these vans were plentiful and cheap. This is a story of staying with it that is if the wife approves.

It was 24 short years ago that this van was at my friendís apartments, I had envied this van for a few years. Then the lady that owned it passed on and my friend called me to say that it was for sale. Well immediately I hopped in my trusted 66-panel van to see if it could be purchased. Initially it was the saddle tanks that had my attention as they were to be put into my panel van, a daily driver.

Like a good 250 engine it started right up after a little coaxing with fresh gas, amazing as it was many years since it ran. Well it blew a lot of smoke but was able to drive it home from Molalla Oregon.

After getting it home and looking at the odometer, it said 58,000 miles. That just had to be a turnover in the odometer. Called my friend and he said that it has not moved in at least 20 years. It was the original mileage for sure, very low. So I proceeded to pour some diesel into the oil to get her loosened up a bit. Well I successfully filled the neighborhood with smoke.

So it was down to draining the oil and see if it could be loosened up a bit. Took out the oil drain plug and nothing came out; this is after adding a few quarts of diesel. Then got out a long screwdriver and needed to pound it somewhat to get the oil to drain. When I did start to come out it had the consistency of refrigerated honey. This was not at all good as the engine only had 58,000 country miles on it.

It was then that I took a second look at what it really was, an unmolested 66 SportsVan Deluxe. Now it was another milestone in deciding what to do. Sure wish I had taken a picture of her then, as she was full of Oregon Green Moss from the front doors back.

So it was off to another friends shop to pull the pan, when we did it was solid with solidified oil. The areas where the crank went around were the only clear area. Out came the engine to have it rebuilt. This was done with a total strip down and hot tanked it came back great.

Then I had a bad paint job done; some bubbles in the paint came within a year or two. So I was discouraged to say the lease. After a few years I started to go after the bubbles and some rust that was emerging around the windshield and on the rear drip rails. It was then I stripped out all the rubber on the doors and all the glass. Ordered about $1600 worth of rubber gaskets from Steele. Figuring with this investment it would spur me on to finishing it. That worked because I stayed the course but needed to wait another couple years until the financing came.

Then the final task came, found out that adding 24 years to me did not improve my ability to wrench on her. That is one of the biggest pleasures is working on these vans. Well then I decided to find another painter and interior shop to finish her.
After a long time in the paint shop, it was on to the insides wanted to get her as close to original as possible. Pacific Auto Trim, in Portland Oregon, did the shop insides. This is an excellent shop that is very honest and will bend over to get it right.

There is much more to this story but would take a beer or two to tell it. As it is a little too early for a beer this morning I will save you the time and here are some pictures of her. Had to take these yesterday as a big storm is on its was. Will take some additional pictures of the rear seat that fold into a bed along with the somewhat hidden trailer hitch.







Will update with more information at a later date, when the weather gets better for pictures.


Charles Linsenbarth
12-14-2016, 01:47 PM
Cool ride!

12-14-2016, 03:50 PM
Chuck, that van is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing your history with it, too!

12-14-2016, 05:04 PM
Too early for a beer?????!!!!!???? Isn't it 5:00 somewhere? I'm sure it is...
Nice van, What is the paint code?

12-14-2016, 09:30 PM
Really neat! Beautiful resto

12-14-2016, 09:50 PM
Lucky Chucky ,was nice to meet you a few years back at the econo meet in Portland .we talked about your van and I have kept track (had already been up to date from your posts) . It looks absolutley beautifull ! WOW ! Maybe with some luck I will get to see it in person !!!! Bill

12-15-2016, 07:26 AM

12-15-2016, 07:27 AM
Looking good Lucky!

12-15-2016, 08:10 AM
That Van is beautiful! As you probably know, my Van is also a '66 and probably looked like that when it was new.
After seeing yours, mine is looking really ugly. I guess I'm gonna have to get some body and paint done soon.
Thanks for posting.

12-15-2016, 12:56 PM
Lucky, beautiful!!!

Russell, not bad

12-15-2016, 08:46 PM
You have a beauty, there.

12-15-2016, 10:45 PM
Thank you all for the complements, it really was a long time in coming. Also a big thanks goes out to Smiley, 108vanguy and others who assisted in this project.

Keep the faith Russell yours looked a lot like mine did when I got it. The big difference is that my "find" was full of good old Oregon Green (moss). From your pictures it looks like it is all there. You have a great head start on most finds. You just need patience and a great wife that will put up with our hobby.

The paint colors were dictated by the model number, it was a Fawn and White. As I wanted to stay as close to orgional as possible those were the orgional colors. Had to change a few things like the dash pad, could not afford to make a mold for the padding.

Sure would like to meet up again BILLS66 soon as the weather permits. Maybe after the New years. Do you know of any shows coming up locally?


12-19-2016, 09:58 AM
Very good looking Sport Van Delux Chucky.

I have all ways loved the white trim stripes the general used on the interiors of the 1st gen Sport Van Delux.

Keep up the great work.......