'71-'77 Dodge Van Shorty/109" Wheelbase
Posted 14 September 2012 - 01:45 AM
Posted 14 September 2012 - 02:16 AM
Looking good so far!
Posted 14 September 2012 - 11:20 AM
Posted 17 September 2012 - 01:40 AM
Posted 19 September 2012 - 05:36 PM
Very nice surgery so far. l love the shorty vans. There were SO many of these around in the '70s. To bad most are gone now. l'll keep in touch with this build, should be groovy! What year grille are you gonna use?
Probably the '71-'73 style, but I might go with the painted steel version.
Posted 27 September 2012 - 03:23 PM
I actually shortened a 'Canon Ball Run' van many years ago to build as a replica of a '78 my dad had. The Canon Ball Run kit had the squarer '79 nose so I did some surgery and made it look more like the '78.
Posted 20 October 2012 - 08:37 AM
Now I need to add the strut rod mount brackets, improve the splits at the front ends of the frame rails, fit the steering gear box, and so on...another long term project.
Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:58 AM
Posted 20 October 2012 - 09:22 PM
Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:55 PM
Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:54 AM
I was debating how to best solve the thickness/depth difference between the upper door area and the upper quarter panel, which you can (kind of) see here.:
I decided to add a piece of .010" thick styrene to the door to even things out, like so the piece was cut and shaped to match the upper door area's shape, the bottom edge was half-rounded (is that word?) to match the beltline contour, and it was welded in place with Plastruct plastic welder:
I will need to add some thickness at the door handle level, fine tune the door gaps and re-open the window and vent window openings, but the thickness issue is now eliminated...at least on the left side. The porthole window plugs got received a bit more sanding and skim coat of putty, so here's how the body looks now:
More frame work coming up next.
Posted 16 October 2013 - 04:41 PM
Block sanding and leveling the right side was pretty easy using three consecutively finer grit sanding sticks. Looks like I need a tiny bit of filler at the top and bottom of the upper door edge where there are still two low spots, but they made get filled after a coat of high build primer:
The left side will be a bit more challenging, and the door handle, lock cylinder, and Tradesman nameplate will all disappear from the door, but the entire area needs to be blocked and evened out before I can start to correct the hood's shape.
Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:38 PM
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I like the work on the shorty van
Posted 09 November 2013 - 05:35 PM
I applied a coat of gray primer, did some block sanding on and around the top half of the driver's door, rescribed the door to body gaps, and filled of the frame rail sections surrounding the fuel tank since the last update. Today I glued on a thin strip of styrene to even out the mid-body door to quarter panel area, but still need to add the convex top edge back in. The driver's door handle, lock cylinder, Tradesman 300 nameplate, and mid body stainless trim were all removed, and I've started working on the nose to be more accurate. The convex curve in the hood was a bit too sharp, and the cowl panel and molded in wipers will get some attention, too.
Here's how the frame looks after shortening, removing all of the molded in/on details, and cleaning everything up. I applied some putty this evening to fill some sink marks and other imperfections, so that has yet to be sanded:
The fuel tank will be separate, so I need to add the topside, then create a new front crossmember, add spring pockets to the frame rails, make the strut rod mounts, figure out the new floor and rear wheelhouses...still a long way to go.
Posted 09 November 2013 - 11:30 PM
Amazing attention to detail. I find it staggering the skills of some of you guys on here.
Posted 10 November 2013 - 03:16 AM
Love it...!!! I think I once had every early to mid 77 Dodge van kit when they were out....would love to be able to revisit my childhood again someday...maybe someone will retool these way too cool things someday???
Posted 10 November 2013 - 05:01 AM
Those were cool old van kits. The interesting part is that MPC updated that body every single year, and I don't believe they had a promo contract of any type. I once had a box that had a bunch of junker vans in it and I noticed that every one had a different body! You can see it in Casey's photos of his shortening. See the roof ribs are completely different on the two bodies.
In real life the 'shorty' was the standard van, and the one you'd see everywhere. I had an extended length Sportsman 300 window van that had lead an easy life as a Locksmith's van. One time I had a garage dent my driveshaft with their lift. They couldn't find a used one in a junkyard and it even took a few weeks for Chrysler to locate a new one.
These were also the van of choice for the Van Pool companies, which were very popular in the mid 1980s. The Garden State Parkway in NJ was completely covered with white Dodge 12 passenger vans. I was one of the van pool drivers so I got my share of wheel time in one of these.
I intend to build the long wheelbase / extended rear length van one of these days. I want to build it in the colors and decals a buddy-0-mine ran his entertainment business out of. These were quite coveted by carpet installers since you could get full rolls inside and shut the doors. I'd also like to do a school bus with scratch built upper body one of these days.
As far as the chassis, a few things I noticed when I built my shortie pickup version is that the rear doesn't have shocks. I added a pair. The engine is only viewable from the bottom, giving the model a curbside look. So there's no sense in even putting the air cleaner on it, never mind wiring it. It would be cool to open the doors on the van and make the interior engine cover removable. I remember sitting inside mine, doing a full tune up completely inside while the weather was crummy outside.
As far as the front end lump of coal, all I did was cut out the torsion bars and added a pair made from wire. I left the rest of it alone and since the van is essentially a curbside, I left well enough alone.
Edited by Tom Geiger, 10 November 2013 - 05:03 AM.
Posted 10 November 2013 - 07:29 AM
Casey, Excellent work and attention to the details! I always liked the shorty Dodge '71 -'77 vans.
The MPC Cannonball Run kit I shortened years ago was cut behind the side doors since the doors were moved forward starting in '78. I didn't do such a great job at the time. What's odd was that the body of the Cannonball Run van represented a '79 instead of a '78. I think all the MPC Cannonball Run kits had the '79 'Ram' bodies but not sure.