I got myself a 1968 Dodge A108 Van. It was in pretty good condition, but not quite ready to roll when I got it. It was obviously someone else’s restoration project in-progress. The story I got from the seller is that it was left as collateral for a debt owed, and the debtor-in-question never paid up.
So, the van went on Craigslist and I came along and bought it.
The Good Parts:
- It’s been freshly painted with a nice bright tangerine orange exterior and black and grey interior.
- The engine was rebuilt in 2013, but I don’t think it’s been driven since then. I think it’s literally a 0-mile engine.
- It’s very close to complete. There are only a small handful of missing parts.
- Nice set of tires.
The So-So Parts:
- The paint job is pretty poor. It’s nice new paint, but the prep work done was definitely subpar. There are several spots where the paint is flaking off, and where there’s obvious rust rot under the paint. Fortunately, I’m not planning to use this as a show car.
- The interior was always pretty spartan in these vans, but of the few niceties it originally had, most are missing.
- All new glass and seals…in a box, that I have to install.
The Bad Parts:
- The seats are literally so rotten they’re unusable.
- There are a handful of missing parts. Some of them are important and kind of expensive. For example, it has no bumpers. Nobody makes these bumpers anymore. This will be fun.
- The wiring is in bad shape. The wiring going to the rear lights is pretty much just missing. Wiring under the dash looks like a rotten rat’s nest. The fuse box is snapped in half and a big chunk of it is just missing. What’s left is rusty as heck.
- The engine doesn’t run. Well, okay, with a lot of starting fluid, it will fire up badly for a moment, but that’s all you get. I sure hope that 2013 rebuild was done properly.
- The wheels are wrong. They fit…sort of. They’re Ford wheels, not Mopar. I’ll get into the problems with that, later.
What are you doing with it?
I was originally going to deck it out as a camper, but after thinking about it a while, I came to realize that I don’t really need a rolling place to sleep. What I could actually use is a rolling office that can also haul around tools and supplies once in a while.
See, I work remotely on software, and I have for quite a while now. Sometimes, for various reasons, it’s favorable for me to work away from home. That usually means tracking down a restaurant or cafe with wifi, and posting up for a while. I get the feeling that’s socially acceptable for 2-3 hours, but I start feeling like I owe the place a kidney if I sit there and work literally all day. If I really tried to do that at the same place every day for weeks, I’m sure they would just ask me to pay part of the rent.
Sometimes, I "work from homeless" (haha, thanks Ann) right out of my car, but it’s cramped in there, and could be better. I would like to optimize my ability to achieve the basic requirements of my work environment: Comfortable, ergonomically correct seating, good wifi and power availability are the top of the list.
Also, I frequently find myself travelling to and fro with a pile of tools, fixing houses. Sometimes that includes bringing the air compressor or a table saw. It almost always includes a trip to the hardware store or the lumber yard. So, I definitely need this vehicle to be able to haul home larger items. Nothing truly enormous- I don’t have a horse trailer or anything like that. I just need to be able to carry a sheet of plywood or a pile of 10′ long 2×4’s without too much hassle.
So, that’s my dual-purpose special purpose vehicle. Got any ideas for me? Let me know!