The Truth About Cars » Dodge Sportsman The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:45:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Dodge Sportsman A100 Hell Project: Red Metalflake Naugahyde… or Reproduction Dart GT Vinyl? Thu, 07 Apr 2011 13:00:21 +0000
As the 1966 Dodge A100 Hell Project progresses (slowly), I’m finally at the point at which T-shirts and towels draped over the trashed seats— nuked by over a decade of outdoor storage in the Colorado sun— no longer cut it. It’s time to fix ‘em up!

The framing and foam rubber are in beat but usable condition, but the original vinyl covers are totally hopeless. I could find some junkyard seats narrow enough to fit (e.g., Miata or MR2 seats), but that just won’t cut it in an A100. Now I face a dilemma: Do I go all-out custom and find some totally stony red metalflake Naugahyde, then get a custom upholstery shop to make my seats look like something out of a booth in an upscale Wisconsin bowling alley, circa 1964? Thick red piping, the works? Or do I call up my ex-coworkers at Year One and order me up a set of 1965 Dart GT seat covers? The Dart GT and most of the Chrysler factory drag race cars of the era used light and simple A100 buckets, so I could be all vintage-correct and get some colorful Dart covers sewn onto my van seats. What to do?

For now, I need a temporary solution, so I can drive the van without getting covered with crumbly foam-rubber chunks. Hey, Tradesman-based RVs of the 1970s use very similar seats to the A100′s!

This junked 1975 Dodge RV had seats that were first cousins to the ones in my van; the external dimensions are identical, though the spacing of the tracks are narrower in the A100. For 20 bucks, though, I’ll take one!

All I need to do is remove the RV’s seat tracks and drill new mounting holes for the A100′s. Fortunately, the front-to-back distance is the same for both, so I don’t need to fabricate funky brackets to get the A100 tracks installed.

Here’s the A100 seat.

The old tracks come off easily; they’re not even particularly grungy. Sometimes junkyard seats have narsty petri-dish-grade biological material packed into the track hardware, but not these.

The A100′s tracks are spaced about 9-1/2″ apart.

Measure once, cut 15 times!

After drilling fresh holes in the RV seat’s frame, I used nuts and bolts to attach the A100′s tracks.


Installed, the new seat is a bit grimy but a huge improvement over what was there before. This temporary measure buys me some time until I can decide between wild custom or semi-factory-correct (I’m not even considering getting repro A100 seat covers, since they came in boring solid neutral colors only). What would you do?

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King of the Molester Vans Sports Factory V8 and 4-Speed, May Be Doomed Sat, 19 Mar 2011 19:15:16 +0000
Malaise Era Molester Vans are rarely worth sparing from The Crusher’s jaws these days, what with steel prices stoking The Crusher’s hunger to insatiable levels, particularly when they’re on the rusty side. However, when that van is a ’78 Dodge Tradesman with a factory-installed 318 and floor-shifted overdrive 4-speed, things might be different. We hope.

Yes, it was once possible to get a Dodge cargo van with a V8 and a 4-speed, and that’s what Andy, Colorado LeMons racer and all-around vehicular wheeler-dealer, now has sitting in his vast inventory. Andy is the guy who scored this super-original ’66 Coronet, along with some even cooler vintage cars that had been stored since the Reagan era, and he hasn’t been able to bring himself to part out and crush this van. So far.

However, his yard is getting mighty crowded (I know, because I helped him drag a bunch of non-runners around yesterday, to get access to some parts I was buying) and he can’t keep everything. He has a real soft spot for rare and/or weird old vans, e.g. this GMC Gypsy. Remember the Gypsy? I didn’t.

This Tradesman has some fairly severe rust problems, so the wisest move would be to drop the drivetrain in a Dart and scrap the rest. The right move would be to fix the rust and convert it to a full-on purple-shag-and-airbrush-mural 70s custom. My quota of vintage Dodge vans is already full, but perhaps one of you might adopt this super-rare orphan.

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Dodge A100 Hell Project: You Want Luxury? Here’s Luxury! Fri, 18 Mar 2011 17:00:22 +0000
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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