A 1964 Ford Econoline may not be the most popular vehicle when thinking back to the 60's era. Back then they were mostly used by delivery, news and bus services.... and then one model replaced the next and so on.
Our video company, Gearhead Flicks needed a vehicle with more room for video gear than my Corvette could carry and something with style that could pull into any car show and be welcomed. Modern vehicles are a dime a dozen and awfully expensive to modify to car show standards.... we liked the classic look anyway.
After many months talking about getting a van I then started searching. Craigslist and joining www.vintage-vans.com forums helped a lot and soon it became a toss up between an early model Ford Econoline 100 or Dodge A100-Series. There were multiple vans I was about to drive across the country for but getting them home was a problem... those in my price range were too aged and not road worthy...
One early Saturday morning drinking coffee I started my search on Craigslist again and I found exactly what I was looking for! I think I even heard the holy heavenly music play in my head as everything around me became blurry except for the photo on the screen... It was so ugly it was PERFECT!
1964 Econoline Panel, Straight Body, Running, $1,500......and only an hour away from home. I called up my business partner Rick and showed him and we decided that's the ONE so we hauled ass to Dayton, Texas!
The van was put up on craigslist by a neighbor as he was trying to help the owner sell it. His name was Everett, a retired body shop man. In his mid 80's and in poor health he no longer had the energy to work on it. When we arrived the van look just as perfectly ugly as I expected. We told Everett our big plans for the van's restoration/modifications and he seemed happy to sell it to some young guys who could appreciate something he hoped to see saved. ~ Rest in Peace Everett ~
I gave him the $1,500 and they signed over the title... now the only difficult thing to do is figure out how to drive a 3 on the tree all the way home. Ha Ha... every shift was a guess and I think most of the way home I tried to take off in second or reverse. I had no concept of the shift pattern.
I laughed all the way home because I couldn't wait to show my girlfriend who thought I was out of my mind.
I instantly felt guilty driving by schools where children were playing for some reason...
The next few days we attacked the whole thing with scotch-brite pads and black primer which gave it that perfect "Creeper" look...
After a few months of driving it we started to pitch the idea of a local custom/body shop helping out with it and in return we would film the whole process and make a few extra videos for them. We spoke with Bruce at Adrenaline Offroad and Customs in Tomball, Texas. He was a real nice guy and believed a project like ours would give him a lot of attention in the custom car community at car shows and events. We all shook hands and planned an attack.
I photoshopped some concepts and Bruce and his team started the teardown and modifications shortly after.
I was always calling often like any anxious customer wondering how's it coming...but most importantly I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing any major milestones for the restoration video.
Over the 8 months and 12 visits we collected over 200 gigs of footage... that's A LOT if you didn't know.
We captured disassembly, cutting out rust, fabricating of panels, rolling fenders, notching the frame to lower it, custom bumper mounts, grill mods, sand blasting, bondo, primer, spray in bed liner, paint and final assembly.
During the last 3 months I not only filmed the work, I helped as well. I enjoyed learning some new skills by watching the guys at Adrenaline and tried my hardest to get my hands dirty. I've always wanted to restore a classic so this was my opportunity to learn from professionals. After 5 when his shop shut down Bruce and I spent many nights working late on it which made me appreciate his efforts and struggles in this project while having to balance out day to day work to pay the bills. Bruce is a good guy and hopes the best for his business and the projects of his customers! We really appreciate his dedication and his friendship and I hope this can drive business back to Adrenaline Offroad and Customs for their time and money invested.
Video of progress before paint
5 months later...
In March 2014 we talked with Aaron Davis at Innovative Rides and he wanted to take on the Interior Entertainment part of the van. We brainstormed a few ideas and he went to work! Below are a few photos of his process in no particular order.
Axles and leaf springs have been flipped to lower it. Airbags up front to hold ride height.
70's Camaro split bumpers
LED headlights by Truck-Lites
70's Camaro Split Bumpers
1965 Mustang Seats, Power Locks and Alarm
New knobs by Mac's Auto Parts
170 Straight 6 Upgrades: Electric Fan, Alternator, Air Intake
Original Emblems and Handle rechromed by Airline Plating