So I FINALLY found a new mistress! She hasn't told me her name yet, so I named the thread best I could. She's a little hesitant to leave her current home and come live with me, but she's warming up to the idea more each day.
I've been going through withdrawals ever since I sold the 76 long box Chevy (was called "the Rum Cutter", now appropriately named "Ramblin' Van") to Mr. LaGrange in Kentucky. I bought a 1968 Chevy K10, which I love, but just wasn't the same not Vannin' anymore. So the 68 K10 will be up for sale in a week or two. Out riding around Monday and decided to check on a local 1983 G10 shorty (looks like an 82 grill to me, but he said it's an 83) I checked on two years ago. The van has some history hauling a Ford Pinto mini-modified dirt track car to and from the local racetrack back in the 80's and 90's. I remember seeing it sitting in the infield when I would watch my uncle race dirt track as a kid back then. There was a long wheelbase G10 painted to match it. Apparently the owner worked for Federated Auto Parts back then and had worked out some sort of sponsorship with them, so he painted her up in the Federated Auto Parts colors complete with stripes.
She is amazingly solid for her age with the only bad cancer in the rear of the slide and in front of the rear wheels. There is a little creeping through on the windshield channel, but I'll take care of all of that very soon. The previous owner said she started overheating one night in 2016 on the way home from a job, so he took out the thermostat to see if that would help. Soon after he noticed some water from the tailpipe and got scared that it might be a head gasket issue, so it's been parked since then. When I stopped the first time two years ago, he was super hesitant to let her go, but gave me a ballpark price in case he changed his mind as he knew he wouldn't get to the head gaskets anytime soon and hated seeing her sit like that. When I stopped by this time, he was willing to let her go and said since I had seemed to fall in love with her, he knocked $2,500 off the price! My jaw hit the floor and I literally ran for the bank as quick as I could get there.
So the past couple days I've just been getting to know her. I gave him half down until he finds the title. He is SUPER busy running a vending machine business and doing vinyl wraps with his son in the evenings, so I'm not sweating it. I put two decent used tires on the front yesterday, and grabbed a top post battery from NAPA since the cables were beyond trash. I figured as long as I'm changing the cables might as well change to top post since I prefer that style anyway. But when I hopped in and turned the key I got nothing but crickets. No clicks, no buzzing, nothing. Dome lights worked, headlights and dash lights, but nothing from the starter or otherwise. She did not want to cooperate. I was tired and sweaty anyway, so I packed up my pride and went home to rest. I did get to meet Mr. Howard Lickliter of the "Lickliter Bros Comp Coupe" fame (1961 National Champions in their '31 Austin bodied Hemi powered comp coupe). He and his brother Pete ran a speed shop in my hometown called "Staunton Speed & Sport from the 50's through the 60's. Super great guy, one of my drag racing heroes. So freaking cool to meet him and shoot the breeze for a minute.
This morning I slept in a little, got up to a fresh pot of coffee and a fresh outlook on the ignition deal. It had to either be the lock and tumbler, or the ignition switch electrical switch part halfway down the column. So I headed over to give her a look. First thing I did was try to turn the lock tumbler in my hand without the key to see how much slop it had and to my surprise it turned all the way and she tried cranking over. So apparently she just doesn't like the key at all. Patted the gas a few times and she fired right up like she was running all this time without sitting. Gotta love a good tuned Quadrajet man. So I patted her on the dash and let her know she was in good hands, took some pictures to share, and went about my business for the rest of the day.
Stopped by a local-ish junkyard where I've found a sweet stash of vans a few years ago hidden from most prying eyes. I'll be pulling all sorts of parts soon, to include a 71-77 front clip, bumpers, port windows, all sorts of goodies. The plan is to paint her with a solid paint scheme, satin deep blue pearl for now until all the bodywork is completed so at least folks don't think I'm out delivering parts for Federated Auto. Blue interior. Slots or Cragar S/S rims 15x10 rear and 15x8 fronts. I can't wait to get to work and turn her around for the better. She supposedly has a 350 from an old dirt track street stock Monte Carlo and a th350 at the moment. I will run the numbers later down the road to see what it all is.
Damn it feels good to be a Vanner again!
How I found her on Monday
Meeting Mr. Howard Lickliter for the first time
After the two used tires on the front
Lots of dirt and grime from years of hauling a race car and sitting a lot between races, but otherwise pretty darn solid!
Someone cut some of the bracing out of the passenger rear corner at some point. Shouldn't be too hard to fix. Also there was a vent or something in the roof. Sheet metal patch has been welded in.
Quick video of the fire up today