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'71-'77 Dodge Van Shorty/109" Wheelbase


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#1 Casey

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 05:33 PM

This project has been long overdue, so today the 1/25 MPC '74 127" wheelbase Tradesman van body went under the knife and was shortened 18 scale inches to make it a '71-'77 109" wheelbase "shorty". Both body sections are prepped and will be joined tomorrow, then the chassis will be shortened to match. Not sure if I'm going to bother shortening the interior tub at this time, or just add some ribs to the inside walls when I fill the porthole window openings. The front suspension is one molded in blob, so that will be removed, too, as I have more reference material and hands on experience with these vans that any person should. :lol:

*Warning- the image quality is poor*

Before:

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After:

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A few comparison shots of the 127" w.b. versus the 109" w.b.:

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MPC corrected the roof for the '74 "Truckin' USA" release, as shown on the left. The earlier '73 roof, shown on the right is incorrect. I wish they wouldn't have added the porthole window openings, either. :( Ah well, those are easy to plug.

#2 martinfan5

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:19 PM

Nice job on the shorting , I think I must be the only one around that does not like the shorter WB vans :lol:

#3 Casey

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 10:42 AM

The porthole windows have been filled in, the body sections permanently joined, and lots of sanding/truing and scribing done:

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The roof depressions have yet to be sanded:

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Next I'll shorten the chassis/floorboards:

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#4 disabled modeler

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 11:43 AM

Nice work Casey....Got to love the old Dodge van kits. I use to own a early 70s Dodge custom van been wanting to build one like it someday...keep up the great work.

#5 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:59 PM

Man, I'd forgotten they even made the short-wheelbase van. Nice job on the conversion so far.

#6 cobraman

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 01:45 PM

Nice slice and dice. I much prefer the shorter vans.

#7 doogie7046

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:31 PM

Looks very cool. You did a great job on the slice and dice, nice clean cut. I hope this van will be on the reissue list. I had one as a kid and would love a couple to shorten up like you did.

#8 jeffb

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 02:33 PM

back in the eafly 80's, they called the short wheel base a "mini van"

#9 martinfan5

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 05:36 PM

Good job so far

#10 gray07

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 06:07 PM

Looking good

#11 jeffs396

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 12:31 AM

Really groovy Dude B) :lol:

Here's another one maybe AMT will reissue???

#12 Johan020

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:04 AM

You did a great job on shortening this puppy

#13 Casey

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 04:59 AM

I got the frame section and re-joined, and the gas tank was cut free, but I have yet to finish removing the floor sections between the framerails. I am going to attach the framerails to the underside of the interior tub, cut away the sidewalls of the tub, remove the engine cover/doghouse, and generally backdate this van to what it would've looked like stock.

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Below you can see why I'm removing the kit-stock front suspension. Did I mention I don't like kits with solid metal axles? :angry: :D

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#14 TooOld

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:37 AM

Great project so far ! The short wheelbase Dodge vans look so much better . The long wheelbase is great for converions but the shortys are Party vans !

#15 Casey

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:20 AM

The framerails are permanently joined, and I've started cutting away the molded in floorboard pieces and the framerail joint plates. I will correct the framerail shapes/unions, then add the four plates are a separate piece, as on the real vans. I'll add rocker panel extensions, extend the wheel houses, and come up with a plan for the engine bay since the hood will be opened soon. ;)

Here is the frame (which should be one with the floor, being a unibody vehicle) resting against the interior tub:

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#16 Gluhead

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 11:46 AM

Nice! I'll be watching this one, Casey. One of the projects on my to-do list is my Dads old (and then my old) '76 Dodge. It went the opposite way, though, being a long wheelbase and also with the extended rear. My Dad owned a body shop all through my childhood, and it came to us wearing pee yellow house paint put on with a roller and neon blue 2 inch fur over the whole inside. lmao. When he got done with it, it was one of the first conversion vans in our neck of the woods...it's a must-do! :D

#17 hooknladderno1

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:44 PM

Casey,
Great job on this conversion! One of these days I would love to get my hands on one of the loooong wheelbase craftsman style window vans. When I joined my squad back in '79, we had a Dodge type ll van and two Cadillac ambulances! Problem is getting photos of them. At 16, I didn't think of doing that... :(

#18 Foxer

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:27 PM

Nice surgery going on here. Vans are such a blank canvas ... I'll be enjoying this.

#19 wraith

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 08:27 AM

AWESOME WORK!
I have a newer version Dodge van model, the 911 Ambulence kit, that I did the same thing to. I am going to be watching your front suspension as that was mainly why I put mine back into hibernation.

#20 darquewanderer

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 01:40 AM

This is nice. I'm going to be watching this one.