Finally, the A100 Does What a Van Should Do!

The 1966 Dodge A100 Hell Project was on hold for much of last year, getting stuck in Front Axle Rebuild Limbo for a while. I scored a bunch of junkyard parts in February, and the van came back home a few weeks back. Now, for the first time since it was parked in 1998 with a spun rod bearing, it’s a properly drivable machine. I took it on its first plywood run earlier this week!

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A100 Hell Project: Finally, the Right Tachometer

The thing about my ’66 Dodge A100 van project that makes it a challenge is that I’m going for an early 1970s customization job, not the far easier late 1970s routine. My van won’t have Aztecs On Mars airbrush murals or a wood-burning stove (not that there’s anything wrong with those things), but it does have a telephone-handset-style 23-channel CB radio, (faux) Cragar S/S wheels, and now it has a Watergate-burglary-era cheap aftermarket tachometer.

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A100 Hell Project: Red Metalflake Naugahyde… or Reproduction Dart GT Vinyl?

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!

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A Little Help From Hooniverse: Leaky Van Window Fixed With Long-Distance Junkyard Parts

The A100 Hell Project really isn’t very hellish, since the van is rust-free and still has most of its tough-to-find trim parts. However, the list of really irritating minor problems that must be solved to bring a project vehicle up to real-world-enjoyable status is always long. One of the most maddening was the busted window latch on one of the right-side windows. Chrysler changed the design on this latch— which probably cost about 14 cents per unit new— in the late 1960s, which means they’re very rare in junkyards, and nobody seems to be selling them on eBay. Snow and rain were getting in, the window clattered while driving, and anyone who wanted to rummage in the van for crack-exchangeable valuables could reach right in and pop the side door lock. What to do?

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Buying Into Nanny-State Safety Diktats: Dual-Circuit Brakes For the A100

Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed was published in 1965. For the 1967 model year, cars and light trucks sold in the United States were required to have a dual-circuit brake system, so that a single hydraulic leak anywhere in the system would not result in total brake failure. Real drivers knew that they could come to a complete, safe stop using the emergency brake— that’s right, for emergencies— but that wasn’t enough for the feds. They rammed dual-circuit brakes down the throats of the American public, adding at least several dozen dollars to the cost of a new car. My Dodge van is a ’66 model, which means it was the last year for the single-circuit brakes that gave our forefathers their moral strength (though not as much strength as their forefathers, who relied on mechanical brake actuation instead of hydraulics), and a lifetime steeped in Naderite propaganda has convinced me that I’m better off with some margin of hydraulic safety. Upgrade time!

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Dodge A100 Hell Project: You Want Luxury? Here's Luxury!

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 [s]bashing with a sledgehammer[/s] careful adjustment and [s]hosing down with Liquid Wrench[/s] judicious lubrication fixed it right up!

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Down On The Mile High Street: 1966 Dodge A100 Sportsman

It just occurred to me that my own A100 Hell Project hasn’t been featured on Whatever I’m Calling The Series Of Photographs Of Old Street-Parked Vehicles These Days. It’s a total nightmare to drive in the snow (particularly for a snow-country n00b like me), but it looks pretty good with the white stuff.

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Brake Work Birthday Gift: How Many Mistakes Can You Find Here?

Since I’ve got ungodly quantities of top-shelf booze thanks to my other job, I figured I’d celebrate my 900th birthday by having a party and pouring said booze down my guests’ throats. A couple of them went overboard on the gift department, including one who made me a coupon for free brake work on my Dodge A100 Hell Project.

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Wheels Make the Van!

As the Dodge A100 Hell Project proceeds in fits and starts, I’ve been so wrapped up in making the thing streetworhy that haven’t gotten around to doing anything about the external appearance… until now!

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Entire Universe of Chrysler Products Available For Replacement Headlight Switch On A100 Hell Project

When we last saw the A100 Hell Project, I’d junkyard-engineered a new gas pedal as part of my “get this thing on the road as quickly and cheaply as possible” initiative. The lack of headlights, due to a corroded-by-12-idle-years switch, was the next big annoyance I needed to tackle.

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It's 10:00 PM And Your Van Needs a New Gas Pedal: FrankenPedal!

The ’66 A100 Hell Project van came to me in shockingly good shape for a 44-year-old vehicle that sat dead for over a decade, but it still needed [s]endless[/s] a few repairs before being really roadworthy.

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  • Syke Given it's got a factory radio, did it also have the factory heater (as opposed to one of the aftermarket heaters as I had in my 1937 Buick Special)?
  • SCE to AUX I have difficulty identifying any car made before my year of birth (1963), and I never would have guessed at this one.Thanks for the history lesson. It was also a reminder that if transported back in time, I'd have difficulty even operating this vehicle. I've driven a column shift exactly once, but I've never operated a radio like that!
  • Lincoln That radio unit is quite the find. It must have been a ridiculously expensive option in the '30s.
  • Raven65 This is utter BS and people need to push back hard against it by refusing to buy the affected vehicles. I find it interesting that this only applies to Buick, Cadillac, and GMC... the "premium" GM brands. I guess they're betting that the people who buy these brands won't balk at a $1500 shakedown (and they may be right). I just read an article about the redesigned Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins that are about to start production. This will definitely push people away from the GMC toward the Chevy. Why does GMC still exist anyway? I can't believe they kept that division around back when they went bankrupt, reorganized and shed Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer - given that GMCs are literally nothing more than rebadged Chevys. Nobody uses OnStar... and FORCING people to subscribe to it is not going to make it any more relevant. It just needs to go away.
  • Arthur Dailey I checked the link to Artillery World in the hopes that I could purchase something to turn an old Nissan or Toyota truck into a pseudo 'Technical'. Unfortunately it seems that they sell fireworks. Another great posting by Murilee. Sure wish that there was a way to get that vintage Olds back on the road. The plaques and labels alone are a history lesson.