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A Perfect Project Without A Direction

Deartháir December 3, 2009 Terrible Ideas, Too Cheap to Pass Up 26 Comments

What do we do with a rusted milk-truck, earlie in the mornin'...

Our good Friend Of Redusernab Jeremy, aka damnElantra, posted this on his FaceBork page a few minutes ago, and I immediately fell in love with it. Much like an earlier Mercedes van someone posted that I finally — finally — got talked out of by cooler heads prevailing, I immediately developed a soft spot for this rusted old hulk of a van. But why?

Probably just a touch too small to camperize it.

I know my personal reasons; when I was a wee lad, growing up in the thin mountain air — and probably therefore stunting my mental development somehow — my father bought an old VW bus for the sole purpose of going camping. Now, in his case, this may not have been the best move in the world, because my sister and I didn’t always get along that well, particularly on long road trips, and he was not exactly renowned for his patience. He was, however, renowned for his frequent and powerful headaches, and for having a touch of a temper; my sister, meanwhile, was renowned for her ability to intentionally annoy everyone in the vehicle, and I was renowned for complaining about her. Add all these ingredients together in a very small container, shake generously, add a great deal of heat and an underpowered engine, and allow to simmer for several hours at a time, or until roof explodes off.

Strangely, despite this horrible-sounding setup, I actually miss camping with my family. I’ve thought several times about how it would be nice to get a small trailer, or an in-bed camper, or something similarly utilitarian, but I keep coming back to one point: Where’s the fun in that?

Look, anyone can go out to an RV dealership, sign some papers, give (or promise) them some money, and drive away with an RV of some sort. But it’s a whole hell of a lot cooler if you pull into a campsite with a vintage car, truck, or van that has been appropriately converted, and customized for the purposes of keeping you safe and warm while you sleep in the middle of a forest. Sure, you can do this with a tent, but Canada has a whole lot of wild things that like to go rummaging around in the middle of the night: bears, meese, foxen, wolves, frat-boys… all are likely to try and get into your tent while you sleep, and as such, it’s much safer to have a vehicle to sleep inside. A vehicle like, say, this one!

I fear it might be a little short for my purposes. While not quite up to Braff’s gigantic scale, I’m still quite tall, so I need something with a sleeping section that will accomodate me, and would hopefully have enough space left over for a counter on which I can set a coffee-maker, and some place where I can store a decently-sized beer fridge.

So clearly, this isn’t quite right for me, but yet irrationally, I still want it. It’s got such a neat look to it, I keep finding myself tempted by the “BID NOW” button. So help me out, Hoons! If you suddenly ended up with this van in your driveway, what outlandish project would you create with it?

[Thanks to damnElantra, for the inspiration! The original eBay ad is here.]

  • I think it's a Divco, and they had a flathead four cylinder, if I remember correctly. That's not enough. Find a rolled four wheel drive F150 and put the engine and drivetrain into this thing. Now you can camp anywhere. Too small for a camper? I dunno, a Westphalia isn't any bigger than this. You could also fabricate a tent-extension that attached to the rear of the thing. Or a platform on the roof for a tent.

    • That's exactly what I was thinking, except I was thinking "Bronco" instead. Shortbox, single-cab F150 would work equally well.

      I'm thinking you'd just need to take a cue from the RVs that are available now, and install some sliding pop-out sections. Really, How Hard Can It Be™?

      • Just use a 4-door F-250 long bed and "limo-ize" the Divco. Shouldn't be a problem to fab up a big flat square section of body, Maybe you could even find some super-industrial sized HVAC vent tubing the right size.

        • Go to your room, right now young man. I'm serious. We do NOT talk that way.

          • Would it be OK if I said keep the Continental flathead 4 to power the whole thing?

  • Nightmarish, but it could probably be done. I've even seen truck campers with slideouts. You might be onto something there.

    I'd adapt the drivetrain to the existing chassis instead of trying to put this on a Bronco chassis. How about using deuce and a half Rockwell axles and making a Monster Van? Nah…

  • Must have been tough for your dad on those camping trips… the rear seat in those campers is so far back, it's well out of a backwards-extended-hand-reach trying to slap you into better behavior!

    I love those VW campers too. I was so close to getting one too, my only requirement was that when I got there, that it would start. I was 16, had $600 in my pocket, and mom drove me there. Much to her chagrin, the people at Recycled Bugs wouldn't say that it was a bad idea, so we went to look it over….. cranking, cranking, cranking, cranking, cranking, cranking…. and no luck. We went home with only one car.

  • Looks like a sleigh to me…

  • I think I would put it on a WRX(Forester?)chassis and freaking out everyone at the local rally, high center of gravity be damned!

  • Ran when parked.

  • Rat Rod, after sectioning a good 3' out of it.

  • I say leave the body as is…you just can't beat the look that it has going. Put it on a late model frame of some sort.

    BTW is that a Ferrari in the background? Why does it appear to have second generation Cavalier Z-24 wheels on it?

    • C4 'vette was my thought. Would explain the Cavalier wheels.

      • Yeah, C4 'Vette. I'm wondering if that's a USPS-type Jeep behind the 'Vette?

        • Yikes! It must be made to look like a Faux-rrari…that is the only explanation for that goofy nose cone. I can't tell if that is a USPS truck, but there IS another Divco sitting next to that take-off box!

          • HA! We were both wrong! I e-mailed the dude to find out the reserve on the Divco and I asked him what it is, and he said that it is a Fiero with a Ferrari body. That explains the Cavi wheels! BTW he said the reserve on the van is only 750!

  • Dear Redusernab,

    Should any of you Hooniversalists purchase this vehicle you must not mess with the patina. If you paint it, I will personally hunt you down and kick you in the balls. Or, if you're a woman, punch you in the neck.

    Sincerely,

    engineerd

  • Yet no love for the yard goat photos I submitted…

    • <img src=http://www.fetchmyflyingmonkeys.com/blog/images/goat.jpg>

      ?

    • What can I say, the editors here are a bunch of fucktards. I'll go round it up and try and post it this afternoon. My restriction lately has been to do posts I could do from my iPhone, since I haven't been home much, and the zip file confounded me. I'll be home later, and should be able to run with it then.

  • MisterX

    Cool, and old Divco milk truck!

    I used to own one, in much better shape but not running of course, and had dreams of making a camper out of it until I looked underneath and realized it was never made for highway speeds, it was designed (and sprung) for a heavy payload, so it would ride ROUGH unloaded, and it was HEAVY!

    Sold it for what I had in it, to another dreamer.

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