1969 Sportvan Restoration

Mr. Vanderson

Number of posts : 3
Location : Oregon
Registration date : 2015-08-03

1969 Sportvan Restoration

Post by Mr. Vanderson on Thu Sep 17, 2015 6:34 pm

A couple years back I bought a '69 Sportvan, originally I was just going to fix it up to drive, but I decided to do a full restoration on it. I've had a hard time finding parts, but I got most of what I need. Right now I'm stripping it down and talking to paint shops. I figured I'd post some pictures to keep track of progress and to share.


I got this van halfway through my freshman year in high school, we bought it in Portland Oregon and towed it down to southern Oregon. My dad bought his van from the same guy a year before, although it was drivable.

I started working on it immediately. Time took it's toll, it had been sitting for a long time, but on the bright side, it wasn't messed with. It had a trailer brake that wasn't stock, but was from the same era. It also has an era correct factory replacement engine. So my dad and I ame up with the idea that some guy bought it for a family vacation, blew up the engine, got it replaced, and then when the kids moved out sold it/had it sit.

However, because I didn't have a job, I couldn't do much on it. I replaced the points, spark plugs and wires, cap, rotor and rebuilt the Carburetor. We emptied the gas tank, the gas was yellow, and we still have 5 gallons we don't know what to do with, it is unusable. We blew out the gas line and put fresh gas in, and started it up. It sounded great, aside form the exhaust leak. It was a solid engine, but I ran out of money. So, I saved up, and in my Junior year, had enough money to do the next big project, the brakes.

The great thing about old cars, is the parts are cheap, at least the mechanicals anyway. by now I was in automotives 2 at my school, so I got a parts discount at the local parts store. I bought new brake shoes, hoses, slave cylinders, a new master cylinder and new brake hardware. My dad and I rented a tow dolly and towed the van down to my school, where it sat on a lift for 3 weeks while my friend Chad and I worked on it, 50 minutes at a time. Although most of my classmates saw it as a piece of junk, some liked it, most have never seen a car that old.

Anyway, the 3 weeks passed, the brakes were done and we towed it home, I was out of money again, but it was almost ready to drive, I just needed new tires, and to fix the exhaust system, and a title.

I bought the van for $700, and it didn't have a title. So, once we got it back home, I had to start my battle with the DMV. It took 6 trips in total, 4 of those was because they gave me the wrong paperwork to fill out, they are so helpful. Finally, I had the right paperwork. We towed my van down (We hired a tow truck this time) to the DMV for a VIN inspection. They took that, my receipts from all the parts I bought and some paperwork and sent it to Salem, I got a title 5 weeks later.

I decided that I was going to restore it Senior year. I had a job and was saving money. My grandma decided to buy me a car as a graduation present. My grandma likes new cars and surprised me by taking me to a Ford dealership (New Ford, = nightmare fuel) I asked if it had to be a new Ford, she said no, as long as it wasn't too expensive, so we agreed that I would look for a car on craigslist, I found a 1963 Corvair 4 Door for $3K, she was glad I chose to get an older car, it saved her a lot of money, plus it isn't a Ford. Laughing

Anyway, now that I had another car, I decided to restore my Van.

Right now it's being used as storage. We did an engine swap on my sister's '79 Caprice Station wagon, it has a 'Vette motor now, we plan on putting it back together eventually.

I plan on restoring as close to original as possible, luckily my dad has a 3/4 ton version of the same van, and he is modifying it with modern stuff, like replacing the accelerator linkage with a cable, so I have a bunch of spare parts in that area.

I also need a few parts that I haven't been able to find, so at the bottom of this post I'll make a list of parts I'll need, and maybe you guys might have some I can buy!

To be specific, it is a 1969 1/2 Ton Sportvan 108 Deluxe

Parts I'll buy:
1969 Sportvan deluxe Hubcaps (1/2 ton Chrome w/ blue bowtie)
"108" and "Deluxe" Emblems
Rear door "Chevrolet" Emblem (<$60)
Interior panels
Passenger Seat mounting bracket (x4)
Passenger Seatbelts (X2)
Passenger Sunvisor
New seat upholstery (Original style)

Number of posts : 18
Location : baltimore
Registration date : 2015-09-27

Re: 1969 Sportvan Restoration

Post by rdsrds123 on Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:57 am

What a great canvas you've got there!

Number of posts : 1293
Location : Charleston, South Carolina
Age : 45
Registration date : 2011-02-22

Re: 1969 Sportvan Restoration

Post by Lazarusvan on Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:40 pm

Clean looking van!

Your bumpers don't look bad. You can send them to a chrome shop and I would think they could get them right and re-chrome if desired.

A member here had Sportvan interior panels. Hopefully he still has them.

He also had Sportvan trim that goes around the van. Not sure whether your van had them or if you need them.

Member Gr8ful here has been moving a lot of parts, so maybe he has what you need.

Good luck with the build!
Mr. Vanderson

Number of posts : 3
Location : Oregon
Registration date : 2015-08-03

Re: 1969 Sportvan Restoration

Post by Mr. Vanderson on Sun Oct 04, 2015 10:08 pm

Sadly, the bumpers are pretty mangled, especially the rear one.

So far I removed the instrument panel and the front wiring harness, and removed the dash pad (which was a pain, but came off in one piece!) I started college so I had a lot of stuff to do, however now I have more time so I'll certainly get on this more.

The wiring harness is luckily in one piece, aside from the coil wire. I plan on making a as close to duplicate as I can, I was left with a great guide!

I plan on taking out the rear wiring harness next.

Number of posts : 9814
Location : Ashburnham, MA
Age : 59
Registration date : 2012-09-22

Re: 1969 Sportvan Restoration

Post by vanny on Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:31 am

Congrats Mr. Vanderson, looks like you have a solid plan in place. I'm sure some members will be chiming in with some parts you're looking for. Thanks for the pics and keep them coming as you progress. Very Happy cheers

The future will soon be a thing of the past."

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Re: 1969 Sportvan Restoration

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