By on March 18, 2011


These days, we’ve got endless choices in plush, comfy trucks. Back when my 1966 Dodge A100 project van was built, the top trim level of the A100 was the Sportsman Custom, and that was one of your few luxury-truck choices at the time. Naturally, I insisted on a Sportsman Custom when I went shopping for a vintage flat-nose van. With the Sportsman Custom, you got such creature comforts as ashtrays, an AM radio, and— best of all— a steel step that popped out when you opened the side doors. The one on my van wasn’t exactly working when I bought it, but some bashing with a sledgehammer careful adjustment and hosing down with Liquid Wrench judicious lubrication fixed it right up!


Check it out in action! I still need to scrounge up some nice minivan bench seats, or maybe four La-Z-Boy recliners, in order to haul my passengers in true 1966-grade truck luxury; I don’t want them to think that, say, an IHC Travelall would be more comfortable. Independent front suspension? Don’t need it! Sound-deadening insulation? Slows you down! Air conditioning? Plain ol’ windows were good enough for Grandpa, and they oughta be good enough for us!

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22 Comments on “Dodge A100 Hell Project: You Want Luxury? Here’s Luxury!...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    The more new-fangled gee-gaw stuff you load up a vehicle with, the more stuff there is to break. Keep it simple.

  • avatar
    jimbowski

    Awesome.  And no electric motors to eventually fail and leave you without a step!

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Uhh… Isn’t the whole point of this post that the step was broken and had to be fixed with a sledgehammer? I mean, I hate to burst the ‘old is good and new is bad’ bubble you guys have gping here, but it’s kind of (that is, very) ironic that an article about a busted mechanical thing results in a bunch of dudes saying, “Hah! See! If that was motorized, it’d be BROKEN, so there!”

  • avatar
    friedclams

    A nifty apparatus! Here in MA it would rust shut in about 3 months. Other things that door rod could actuate:
    1. Beer cooler lid opening
    2. EIght-track tape insertion
    3. Coffee grinder
    You need to put some boot cleaning bristles on that step.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    +1 Friedclams on the Coffee Grinder.  Not that any of Columbia’s third most popular export would actually pass through it. ;]

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    That’s some nice carpet there.

    • 0 avatar

      Purple shag is going in very soon. Already got the 8-track player, vintage tachometer, and phone-handset-style CB radio.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Make sure it goes up the walls, too. That’s how you know a van has true class – carpeted walls. If not all the way (provide space for the wood veneer?) At -least- 24″ up.

      Are you going to do a fake-fuzzy-wool seat cover, and same for the steering wheel?

  • avatar
    PVDave

    Ah yes, the mighty A100 Van. My grandfather had one, and bolted a folding jump seat directly on top of the engine cover (the engine being mounted twixt the front seats…).

    As you may imagine, the location exposed your derriere to major radiant heat from the engine below. Despite this, the opportunity to ride directly between Grandma and Grandpa guaranteed that we fought for the right to ride there, summer heat be damned!

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    That is the coolest thing I have seen all day. No, make that all week!
     
    When I went to work for Montgomery County Emergency Communications back in ’76, they had an A100 parked out back that no one would drive because they were all afraid of it. I drove the wheels off that thing. Slant six with three-on-da-tree. What a blast.
     
    I can’t believe Dan hasn’t commented on the Miracle Step.

  • avatar
    Niner5

    The Lazy Boys would be sweet, or stock benches in a perimeter arrangement.  You could get a real living room vibe going back there!
    Glass coffee table optional.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Here I perch broken-hearted that I do not possess thine van.
    Friend back in the 80s had one.
    A finish (not Finnish) carpenter who used it for work.
    Liked that one, also.
     
    Emminently groovy!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    rm -rf

    When I was a teen, my dad bought a used A100 for $75 & made it my summer project car.

    I learned that when Dad leaves for work and says ‘the engine needs work’ he meant a tune up, not a tear down, as he explained to me when he came home and saw the carb, pistons, head and crank laying in the back of the van.

    I also learned that when using Bondo to patch rust, something more substantial than cardboard is required as a backing.

    Can’t remember if it had the magic staircase.
     

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Maybe you can find an Oriental rug cheap on craigslist and install that?

  • avatar

    Muriles, Here’s a really nice A100 pickup that was downstairs with the rat rods at the Detroit Autorama. There was an A100 van next to it, but it wasn’t in nearly as nice shape.
     

    I didn’t post it on Cars In Depth yet, but you can see it in the Flash player. I also included what I think is a ’53 Chevy Sedan Delivery, apparently the parts runner for what I hope is a fictional company named Dirty Sanchez Speed Equipment.

  • avatar

    I have two tilt and swivel captain’s chairs, with fold down arm rests, and a bench seat from my ’80 Ford Club Wagon (in a muted red, the van was traded in the C for C program) that would be sweet in this van. I’d let ‘em go right as they are taking up space in my garage and barn. Are you anywhere near central Ohio (Columbus area)?

  • avatar
    Cool Cadillac Cat

    I cannot believe I haven’t visited in ages.

    My first vehicle, to ride in, drive, and own, was a ’67 A-108, the “long wheelbase” version.

    It was ordered by my father in ’67, I appeared a year later.

    It had the OEM bench seats, and all options but the high-end trim.

    However, and you’ve likely already discovered this, beware when opening the door while the step is connected. It’s at perfect shin-level.


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