BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER.... A's, G's & E's


64 Handivan hand me down

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64GMC

Number of posts : 7
Location : Richland, NJ
Registration date : 2016-05-02

64 Handivan hand me down

Post by 64GMC on Mon May 02, 2016 9:24 pm

Over the weekend I found out I am about to become the new owner of a 1964 GMC Handivan, its been in the family since it was new, and has only 34,000 miles on the clock. Its been in storage since the late 70's due to its lack of AC and other options. A now elderly relative of mine bought this as a company truck in 1964, it served at their shop truck for about 8 years doing only pickup and delivery of supplies for their truck shop. From what I was told, it really only did lunch runs and was used as a personal vehicle around the house.

The van has been sitting unused now since 1977, its in a barn covered in dust. I've not personally laid eyes on it though in at least 20 years but I'm told that other than it being full of old furniture its as I saw it last. The paint is original white other than a blue upper and lower band that was added as part of the company logo, and the lettering on the doors. When I was a teen, I had driven it few times to run errands when I visited.
The interior floor had a few rust spots, and there was some rust through that was patched around the drivers feet, the rest of the floor was solid then. According to a relative who called me to come get it, I'm told there's no exterior rust.
I do know the wheels were changed to 14" and the front turnsignal lenses aren't original, other than that its all there. Its got a 153ci inline four cylinder and a column shift three speed trans.

I'm currently working on getting it back to me here, which means hauling it about 350 miles or so. Its a matter of getting a day off work on a day when I can borrow a buddies race car hauler to go get it with.

Is there anything on one of these to look out for?
Should I hunt down an original set of 13" wheels for it?
(I think the wheels on it now came off a Nova.)
The front turn signal lenses were cut from larger amber lenses and made to fit, I'm told the original lenses faded out and wouldn't pass inspection.
The front seats were also replaced, I think they came from the same Nova that donated its rims and tires.

For now, the plan is to clean it up and get it running again, new brakes, hoses, rubber, etc.
I plan to try and keep it as original as I can, even keeping the original company lettering and paint if I can for now.
A few things that concern me is that its been stored indoors for the last 30 years, its going to be outside here, I suppose things like the window seals and rubber will be an issue.
Is all of that still available? I do remember the barn doors on the side used to leak when driven in a down pour so I'd assume all the weatherstripping will need to be replaced as well if I can find it. The goal here would be preservation in the beginning.

No pics yet but I'll take a few once I get it back here.
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Vanish
Admin

Number of posts : 4955
Location : Hesperia Cal
Registration date : 2008-05-02

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by Vanish on Mon May 02, 2016 10:17 pm

Can't Wait to see what You Got !!!! Get them Pics posted when you can !!!!!!

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Digz

Number of posts : 3727
Location : United States Six Lakes MI
Registration date : 2008-05-17

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by Digz on Tue May 03, 2016 2:25 am

If outside a lot, invest in a good cover for it. That will help. Look forward to seeing pics. 40 years ago I had a set of those 13"rs also. On a 65 GMC Handivan. Have fun !
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savage

Number of posts : 1855
Location : Where Rust Never Sleeps in Ft Wayne IN
Registration date : 2008-05-15

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by savage on Tue May 03, 2016 4:53 am

Congrts on your new van. You can get new weatherstriping & lenes for your van. I would be a little worried abut the gas tank & brake lines from setting. But any problem can be fixed.
Have Fun with your New Early
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Vantasia

Number of posts : 1385
Location : New Jersey
Age : 63
Registration date : 2013-08-18

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by Vantasia on Tue May 03, 2016 5:57 am

Cool, I'm in NJ and own a '64 Chevy, same van, different badges...can give you lots of info and leads...the front lenses are reproduced and cheap on eBay, gaskets and rear lenses for them too..
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Chevy-Truck-Parking-Turn-Signal-Light-Lens-1955-1957-/181989261662?fits=Year%3A1957%7CMake%3AChevrolet&hash=item2a5f67c15e:g:YqIAAOSwubRXGaSx&vxp=mtr
Yes, brakes first, new hoses a must, available from Rock Auto, hard to find local...you've come to the right place....keep the 14", was an option, most run 15" on them these days, 14" tires are fading away too...Repro seals are made for doors on these, windows more problematic but many have found alternate gaskets that work.  Search the threads here, use the search box....There are lots of gasket materials available...


Last edited by Vantasia on Tue May 03, 2016 6:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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vanny
Moderator

Number of posts : 8878
Location : Ashburnham, MA
Age : 58
Registration date : 2012-09-22

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by vanny on Tue May 03, 2016 6:07 am

Congrats and welcome aboard!!! As you can tell, everyone here is just as excited as you are to lay eyes on this barn find!!! You will find plenty of helpful people on this site as you already have. Enjoy your new found toy and please let us tag along for the ride.

Love hearing about stories like this...It's like hitting the lottery to Vintage Vanners like us...If you need help posting pictures once you've got it home, just give a holler and I'd be glad to assist. Very Happy cheers


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Vantasia

Number of posts : 1385
Location : New Jersey
Age : 63
Registration date : 2013-08-18

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by Vantasia on Tue May 03, 2016 6:16 am

Wow, a 153 4 cyl!? those are pretty rare, most had 194 6's the first year. Buy a copy of the 1964 Van Supplement to the 1963 Truck shop manual, a must have for theses vans. Look here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1964-Chevrolet-Chevy-Van-GMC-Handi-Van-Shop-Service-Manual-Supplement-/361326291471?hash=item5420b9aa0f:g:xl0AAOSwpDdVcfAI&vxp=mtr

New repro version:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1964-1965-1966-Chevy-Van-Repair-Shop-Manual-G10-Supplement-Chevrolet-/401072303394?hash=item5d61c5ad22:g:wrMAAMXQDXRRGmls&vxp=mtr

This book will get you on your way!

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No1rascal

Number of posts : 274
Location : Toms River, NJ
Registration date : 2013-02-19

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by No1rascal on Tue May 03, 2016 8:39 pm

Welcome & congrats on the van! What a great story being in the family since new & now passed onto u. I also have a 64 GMC Handivan and dont live far from u. If u need any help with parts or questions dont hesitate to ask.

Scott
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64GMC

Number of posts : 7
Location : Richland, NJ
Registration date : 2016-05-02

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by 64GMC on Wed May 04, 2016 2:47 am

It'll be a while before I get my hands on it, its a 3 hour ride across the bridge to go get it and I need to borrow a truck and trailer for the trip. (Its actually going to be a multi trip deal, the van isn't the only vehicle I have pickup).

I'm hoping its not too rusty, but I've been told there's no exterior rust and only some foot area rust through that was patched in the mid 70's.
The inside of the van originally had sort of a bead board paneling and padded rails to protect furniture picked up for repair but it mostly got used for weekend projects. I know I borrowed it a few times as a teen to pickup lumber or other supplies and for a few weekend trips to a family shore house back then.
It was parked not long after that. It was never 'clean' but I don't ever remember it having anything wrong with it other than the fact it didn't stop very well. You had to plan your stops a bit or else hard braking lead to locking up the back wheels, which made the rear end slide down the crown of the road. I tried to buy it when the parked it but it wasn't for sale, but it just sat and got forgotten. I figured that it was long gone until I got a call last week asking if I knew anyone who wanted it. Luckily the title is already in hand.

For some reason I seem to remember that it had been a company vehicle or municipal vehicle and they got it before it was a year old, I doubt they would have custom painted it on their own for the shop. Maybe a furniture store that went out of business or something?
That would explain the padded rails inside and all the paneling as well as the custom two color paint. Its a medium/dark blue with white top/bottom paint job.

I do remember at some point they removed all the paneling and padding, and removed the divider behind the seats. It didn't originally have a passenger seat, that was added in the 70's when it was no longer being used as a company truck, the need to carry kids meant two seats were added. I think the two front seats were from a Dodge car, the two in the back out of a Rambler. I don't think the rear seats were ever bolted down, they both were attached to a sheet of plywood that was somehow trapped in place. I don't think I ever saw the original front seat. In the later 70's the front seats were replaced again with high back buckets from a junk yard.
The rest of the van went unchanged other than the two turn signal lenses that were faded to almost clear and then replaced with custom cutout lenses from something with a larger lens, I believe they were cut out of a pair of fender turn signals off a big truck. So they were no longer rounded, but flat.
I don't remember any dents, at least nothing really noticeable. What concerns me is that its been sitting in an open barn or lean-too for so many years.

Things like the fuel tank and brake lines are a given I guess. I'm pretty much figuring on a complete new brake system and new rubber. There were several mechanics in that part of the family then, so things got done when needed, besides it was owned by a repair shop back then. My biggest concern is rust, I have no way of telling what shape its in that way until I go get it. A good sign is that the tires were still up and it rolls, since they rolled it out of the barn but I was told the brakes are non existent. The barn it was in is old and made from logs, the floor is mostly slate and gravel. Those that looked at it say it looks the same as it did back then, but none of them ever drove it or have any real mechanical ability. The fact that its a stick shift with no A/C is probably why no one else wanted it.
For now I'm not going to be looking at restoring it to new condition, but I would like to preserve it and at least get it back to the condition it was in when it was still being used as a shop truck.
I'm hoping I can get away with leaving the old lettering on it, the company info on the doors would be useless to anyone today, but to me its part of the truck's history.
Its still got the early 60's phone number and address on the doors. I'll be putting historic plates on it, so maybe the old info can stay?

Do these suffer any known rust issues? Anything to really look out for on these?

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Vantasia

Number of posts : 1385
Location : New Jersey
Age : 63
Registration date : 2013-08-18

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by Vantasia on Wed May 04, 2016 7:25 am

Just front floor and rocker area rust are typical, but many of these areas used galvanized steel from the factory and held up well.  Rear floor rust around the gas filler neck and corners is common and the bottoms of the doors, just wait until you get it and see.  Also the roof joint to the sides can be a rust area, but if it looks OK to those who have seen it, chances are its OK, if it was really rusted out from years of NE salted winter driving they would have noticed it.  Post some pics, you have to follow the link button and cut and paste the url it produces into the message text, also resize them to the 640 option in the drop arrow box or they get cut off, try a test photo to see...if you don't have a local shop down by you, there is a great old school gas tank and radiator shop up in Linden, St. George Radiator, you can even ship him the tank.  He will boil it out and paint it.  He can re-core the radiator too, I used him for both.  Driving these with stick and no AC is half the fun of owning a vintage vehicle.  With the vent windows open and good engine box insulation, its not too bad for the amount of times you will drive it on really hot days, its never stopped me from driving mine in the summer when I need too, just makes that cool drink taste all the more better when you get out, just like in the "old" days! Good, I see Scott replied, as he said, he's not far from you and has a similar van, I'm 2 hours away....
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64GMC

Number of posts : 7
Location : Richland, NJ
Registration date : 2016-05-02

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by 64GMC on Wed May 04, 2016 1:46 pm

I won't get to take any pics for a few more weeks yet, I have to wait until both me and a buddy have the same day off to go get the van. Its his truck and trailer.

A neighbor up there who cuts the grass on the property offered me $3500 for the van the way it sits, so that makes me think its still in decent shape. I have the title in hand so there's no worry about anyone else getting it. They mailed me a bundle of titles for the vehicles I'll be taking, I got those on Monday. The van was last titled in 1971 as a private use vehicle.

I've been told by three people there that there's no visible rust on the outside, so I guess that's a good sign. It got used mostly in PA through its life, it only came here for a few days at a time.

I just keep thinking back to several similar year Ford Vans I owned back then that rusted away long ago. My 63 Ford was rusted so bad the forward cab section started to sag allowing the windshield to pull away from the upper edge. The Fords rusted from beneath, first the front wheel wells and then the door step areas fell apart. For some reason, even back in the 70's, the Ford and Dodge vans were more common here, you didn't see many GMC vans of that age. The worst thing I remember about all my Ford vans back then was the shift linkage jamming up, but none of those trucks were low mileage. The lack of miles on this van should mean very little as far as worn parts.

Does anyone make replacement sheet metal parts for these yet? I do seem to remember the drivers floor on this being patched with a flattened out Sinclair oil can. It was the area where your left heel sat. I don't ever remember it having any sort of floor mats so dirt and sand on your shoes just ground the paint away on the floor.
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Big W

Number of posts : 3277
Location : Saskatoon,Sask,Canada
Age : 53
Registration date : 2011-01-13

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by Big W on Wed May 04, 2016 7:28 pm

Welcome to VV. Can't waite to see what ya got.
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Vantasia

Number of posts : 1385
Location : New Jersey
Age : 63
Registration date : 2013-08-18

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by Vantasia on Thu May 05, 2016 6:06 am

If you need them, you can get rockers and rear wheel wells, but that's about all, floors you have to weld in your own patches, several threads with photos around....
http://www.rustrepair.com/CHEVY-63-VAN-BODY-PANELS-REPAIR.HTM
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gfleduc

Number of posts : 101
Location : Kingwood Texas
Age : 62
Registration date : 2015-09-19

64 Handivan hand me down

Post by gfleduc on Fri May 06, 2016 12:48 am

When you do the pics I would enjoy seeing the motor - never saw van 4 cylinder installed.
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64GMC

Number of posts : 7
Location : Richland, NJ
Registration date : 2016-05-02

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by 64GMC on Fri May 06, 2016 1:52 am

I'll take lots of pics when I finally get it back here.

The four looks like a six but minus two cylinders.
Judging by the displacement of 153ci, its most likely a 230 ci six minus a pair of middle cylinders?

The inline four in this van always gave pretty good mileage running around town. It got less at higher speeds back then but I figured that was due to the wind resistance of the big flat front end. Sort of like pushing a brick down the road. They used it mostly just to pickup supplies when it was new, and to run errands for the shop, so most of the driving was at lower speeds so the 4 cylinder was great for that. I did get an older neighbor up there to take a better look at the van for me today, he says there's very little rust, mostly just surface rust on the top surfaces and its covered in a half inch or dust from the adjacent field. He lifted the engine cover and said the generator and fuel pump look new and the motor turned over fine by hand. He also said the tires on the van looked good and are still fully inflated. That tells me that someone was at least keeping the tires pumped up and maybe even keeping it running at some point. He said he'd see it moving in and out of the garage under its own power up to a few years ago, so it had to be running a lot more recently than I thought.
He also said its full of tires and seats, including a pair of early GM bucket seats from what he thought may be an early Camaro and a few flip top boxes of other parts. He said there's an assortment of tires, spare parts, and a few pieces of old furniture in the van but nothing heavy. Where its parked, he wasn't able to open the rear or right side doors. That tells me that they were pulling it in and out of the barn to put stuff in it. The barn is packed with equipment, there's apparently only a small area on one end where they squeezed the van in along one wall.



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Vantasia

Number of posts : 1385
Location : New Jersey
Age : 63
Registration date : 2013-08-18

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by Vantasia on Fri May 06, 2016 6:23 am

Cool, when you get there, document the "the find" too, the barn, everything inside, etc...as we say around here..."Another one saved!"
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wideload
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Number of posts : 1329
Location : Kevil, Kentucky
Age : 64
Registration date : 2008-05-11

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by wideload on Fri May 06, 2016 6:43 am

Congrats 64GMC !!!! You've got a rare one. I'm sure there are more with the 4cyl. motors but I only know of two at present, yours and one that was in Louisville but that owner sold it I think to someone out west. Can't wait to see pic's !!!!!!


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WIDELOAD
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64GMC

Number of posts : 7
Location : Richland, NJ
Registration date : 2016-05-02

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by 64GMC on Fri May 06, 2016 9:28 pm

Any idea on how many 64 Handivans were built with the 153 ci engine?

I can't say I've run across any other vans of this style, at least not recently.
In comparison to the 63 Ford van I had with a 170ci six cylinder motor, the GMC's four cylinder engine is only 11hp less. With that in mind, when I look back to driving both of these as a teen, the well worn and abused old Ford probably had less hp compared to the lower miles, well kept up GMC. The little four banger GM motor isn't that bad in comparison to the larger displacement Ford inline six.

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oldhornjunkie

Number of posts : 44
Location : Bucks County, PA
Age : 36
Registration date : 2016-04-02

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by oldhornjunkie on Thu May 12, 2016 6:57 pm

You aren't that far from me I drive through Buena on my way to wildwood. I know a junkyard with parts not too far from you.
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64GMC

Number of posts : 7
Location : Richland, NJ
Registration date : 2016-05-02

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by 64GMC on Thu May 12, 2016 8:18 pm

oldhornjunkie wrote:You aren't that far from me I drive through Buena on my way to wildwood. I know a junkyard with parts not too far from you.

I didn't realize there were any yards here with trucks, those closest to me all went out of business or turned into shopping centers.

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gfleduc

Number of posts : 101
Location : Kingwood Texas
Age : 62
Registration date : 2015-09-19

4 cyc van

Post by gfleduc on Sat May 28, 2016 12:18 am

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64GMC

Number of posts : 7
Location : Richland, NJ
Registration date : 2016-05-02

Re: 64 Handivan hand me down

Post by 64GMC on Sun May 29, 2016 12:19 am

Good find, but I don't think I'd want to chance relying on a 50 year old rubber hose.
I seem to remember having to change a few hoses on the van back in the 70's, it had a flex hose on the top then. If I remember right, I took the old hose and matched up a hose from something else that I could cut the right shape out of the bends in the middle. I'm sure I could do the same now when the time comes.
This won't be a restoration, I'm more looking to make it a clean driver. Hopefully I can put it to use to some extent as well.

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