This 1976 DODGE Tradesman B200 Custom Boogie Van is really more of a "time capsule" than a street van. In fact, she's a true 70's "survivor" with just 6,600 ORIGINAL miles. Yup. You read that right! I didn't leave off any digits! This a rare opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind "period correct" custom.
The van was fully customized between '76 and '79 by it's original owner, in the White Plains area of New York. He showed the van a handful of times in the late 70's and then parked it in his mother's garage in Port Chester, NY...where it sat, with 2,500 miles on the odometer, unmoved for 20+ years.
Cut to 2000. After coming across a truly bizarre Yahoo Classifieds ad placed by the owner's brother in law, I made the trip up to Port Chester from NYC (where I was living) and bought it. A "barn find", of sorts...
A family (mechanic) friend in Long Island, NY got it running, I briefly enjoyed it in NYC and then had it sent on a flat bed back to my native Los Angeles for safe keeping.
It sat unmoved in LA for the next 3 years while I worked in NYC.
In 2003 or 2004, I came back to LA and again invested in getting the van road worthy. I then spent a month driving her up and down the coast before again parking her in LA and returning to NYC.
In March of 2013, I returned (permanently) to LA.
Since I needed a way to get around town and already owned a vehicle, I dedicated myself to the van's resurrection.
Because I needed the van to be reliable as a daily driver until I could get my feet on the ground, it was of utmost importance to me that the van be gone over with a fine tooth comb by a mechanic who really knew the ins and outs of the Dodge 318 engine: all of the achilles heels, all of the tuning secrets, all of the sources for quality replacement parts, etc.
My research led me to Julius The Mopar King, in Chatsworth, CA. He has gone over EVERYTHING and has the van running better than ever. It's been my regular driver for the past few months.
But the fact of the matter is, a machine like this needs to be cared for and preserved by a dedicated vanner that can give it the life that I currently can't. This is not a "quick run to the market" type of car. I feel guilty putting a surfboard in it. I cringe when I put a dusty mountain bike inside. I'm scared to parallel park it. So with a heavy heart, I offer my sweet "La Pirata" FOR SALE. What a long, strange 13 year trip it's been.
WHAT IT'S GOT
The builder of this van cut absolutely NO corners in the custom touches on this build. It's dripping with style...and TLC.
EXTERIOR: The exterior has Fast Glas fender flares and front spoiler, visor, sunroof, an extremely rare VanTech grill, 4 unique diamond port hole windows, American Racing wheels, amber fog lights, dual Signal Kicker antennas...
2/3 of it's life was spent in a garage and the other 1/3 spent in sunny So-Cal. This is a CLEAN rust-free machine!
INTERIOR: Step inside the van and you are stepping into 1976. Shag carpet, tuck and roll naugahyde, loads of custom wood work, amber/red lighting. It might as well be a dive bar. In fact, it HAS a dive bar. The custom built wood bar houses a sink (needs a pump), an ice box (never used, has original instructions inside) and a cabinet housing a custom rack for 4 silver wine goblets (Included, but in need of a polish!).
The u-shaped rear bench has a custom wood table that "collapses," allowing slats and additional cushions (stored under the bench) to be placed to create the bed.
So you can drive to the bar, step into the bar, sit at the bar, meet somebody at the bar, take somebody home from the bar, get them into bed and drive them home from the bar in the morning...ALL INSIDE OF THIS VAN.
The center console, like all interior surfaces, also has custom upholstery and a custom wood drink tray.
There is also a fully custom overhead console with CB radio, digital clock, map light and all interior lighting switches.
There is a slidable curtain in the back, just behind the two custom captains chairs. There is also hook up for a TV, though the original roof mounted antennae was removed years ago.
It has the factory radio/8-track.
WHAT'S BEEN DONE
The aesthetics of this van are all EXACTLY as they were when this van was parked in 1979, described above. No further modifications were made.
Under the hood, the engine, a factory 318 V8, is "stock," with no modifications for performance.
The work done in March by Julius The Mopar King was meant solely to get her running well and undo the effects of sitting for most of it's 37 year history.
Everything rubber (belts, hoses, lines, seals) has been replaced. All new filters, plugs, battery. The entire fuel system was redone (to avoid pushing any old sludge through the engine): new fuel tank, new fuel pump, new lines, filter, etc. Complete carburetor rebuild. Complete tranny diagnostics. The brakes were also completely overhauled with new wheel cylinders, calipers, shoes, lines, rubber hoses and master cylinder. New rear shocks.
Since this is '76, it DOES have to pass California Smog. A new catalytic converter was installed, some adjustments made to the carb and she passed with flying colors.
Tires were replaced when I bought it in 2001...4,000 miles on them since then.
WHAT IT NEEDS
While the mileage on this vehicle is extraordinarily low, and the overall condition fantastic (vantastic?) it does show that it's a 37 year old vehicle that spent the last decade outside. I recently had it detailed here in LA and while much of it's original luster has been restored, there is still some oxidation around much of the exterior chrome trim. It is my belief that with more time and elbow grease, much of the "fogging" around the logos and such would polish out.
The rear fender flares both have some "bites" on the corners...spots where they got "munched" while trying to parallel park during her brief stay in NYC. There are a couple of cracks in the flares and some curb scrape on the front spoiler. The paint on the sun visor is dulled and crackling a bit. If I were to keep this vehicle, I would want to have the trim repaired and repainted.
The body is 98% straight, with just one small (3"?) dent above the left rear tail light. There is also dent on the center of the rear bumper.
There are the expected small nicks and scratches on a vehicle of this age, some oxidation, some peppering on chrome, though I would describe the overall shape of the paint/chrome/trim as Good.
Mechanically, there are a couple of things on the "to-do" list that I have not yet tackled as well.
The van has a slight pull to the left, most noticeable at highway speeds. According to my mechanic, the front coil springs, particularly the left, are bad and in need of replacement. He suggested that I do this repair BEFORE putting any real mileage on it (such as driving it from LA to wherever it is that you live).
There is a bit of a rattle and I've been told it's time to replace the muffler. An easy ($100-$150) job that I just haven't had a chance to do.
Not too long ago, I wanted to test the A/C and flipped it on. It blew for a few seconds and then off it went...along with the radio, digital clock, etc. And I was right in the middle of my favorite Earth, Wind and Fire 8-track. I assumed a blown fuse and replaced all fuses. No luck. So there are currently some problems with the interior accessory electrical. Something shorted somewhere or there is some corrosion in a line that needs to be located. Dash gauge lighting is good, so it's drivable. But the van is currently without tunes. And that should be unacceptable in a beast like this.
Which reminds me! There is some sort of "Sound Blower" booster/amp thing in control of the 4 rear speakers. It's sort of a bass-kick, turbo over drive thing. It was functional when the radio shorted, but the switch controls (a 1" tall, 3" wide box) need to be remounted to the dash, below the ignition.
The van is located in Woodland Hills (Los Angeles, CA). I am open to international bidders, but be aware that buyer is responsible for ALL pick up/transport arrangements. A $1000 non-refundable deposit is due within 24 hours. The remaining balance must be paid by PayPal or cashier's check within 7 days. Buyer is responsible for PayPal fees. I have done my best to disclose any and all info about the condition of this vehicle. Title and bill of sale will be provided once payment has been received in full. Van must be picked up within 3 weeks or vehicle will incur a storage charge. The vehicle is sold AS-IS, with no return and no warranty. All sales final. If you are seriously interested and have questions, message me with your telephone number and I will be happy to provide any additional info that I can.
I would be happy to meet to show the vehicle in person.
This van is also being offered locally and I reserve the right to end the auction early. No bids from zero feedback bidders or bidders without PayPal.
Thanks for looking. Join the DODGE VAN CLAN!
On Jul-25-13 at 23:08:55 PDT, seller added the following information:
Please note that this is a TRADESMAN and not a RAM, as stated in the auction title. Based on year and VIN, eBay only gives the option of "Other" or "Ram Van." I accidentally chose the more confusing option.