Rolling Heavy

Aloha Mr. Hand!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the new van pics and updates.  This update has been a long time coming.  Since the last update, I’ve hung my wall panels, had a photo shoot for a sweet new vanner mag called Rolling Heavy, joined the Wheels of Confusion van club here in Los Angeles, and had a small amount of engine work done from MOPAR specialist Fontana Motor Sports in Simi Valley.  Let’s get rollin!

The Panels.  So, the last you saw I was putting tires on and the interior was totally bare except the carpet.  I had the get the walls covered and installed.  Originally I had a very cool vision that was unachievable on my budget and practically impossible anyways so I went the next best and found some really psychedelic wall papers that closely matched my original vision to cover the walls and ceiling.  Three different ones.   A long time snowboarder friend of mine, Chris Potter, is a set designer for TV shows in NYC and happened to know about a special wall paper store here in LA.  So on his advice I went to Astek Wall Covering in Van Nuys and chose my goods.

With rolls in hand, I enlisted Melissa Daly of Honeyhive Designs, a talented artist friend, to help me install the wall paper and also to paint a custom design on my side doors.    Here is a little taste of the wall paper…

Driver-side Damask

Driver’s side, extra large damask that changes color depending on the angle of the light…

Passenger's side Damask

Passenger’s side, extra large damask, kinda vivid on the eyes…

ceiling stars

The ceiling looks like stars if you’re feeling kinda funny. It’s black and raised silver.

And then here are the door that Melissa painted for me.  I gave her the image and the paint and she executed quite well.  There are two of these, one each on a side door.  scroll down, you’ll see how it works in the magazine photo shoot section.

Speaker side door.

Side Doors stencil/painted by Melissa Daly

So with all my panels in and up, the obvious next step is a photo shoot for a magazine cover.  Another long time friend of mine, Josh Reed, is an amazingly talented pro photographer and, in May, reached out to me.  His pal Matt Grayson was making a new van magazine and wanted to shoot the van and interview me for the issue.

Gas, Grass or Ass.  Nobody Rides for Free.

Rolling Heavy is the name of the magazine.  Matt Grayson,  a photographer, van owner, Wheels of Confusion van club member, and all around cool dude decided the world needed a van magazine.  Something totally boss in the tradition of the 70′s biker mags.  Matt and I spoke once and agreed. It was on.  I called Josh and set up a photo shoot.   Then I contacted Craig who posted a want ad for me and that’s where I found Felicia, a lovely model who digs the 70′s, is totally into Tom Petty, loves drinking American beer and hanging out.  Josh and Felicia killed it that day and the van made the cover of Rolling Heavy, issue #1.

Van shot.

Photo by Josh Reed. Property of Rolling Heavy Magazine.

Van Blasters

Van blasters. Now you can see how the side doors work.
Photo by Josh Reed. Property of Rolling Heavy Magazine.

To get your copy of Rolling Heavy #1, email ryan [at] allnightallnight [dot] com

And last, but not least.  On to the engine upgrades.

VRROOOOM!  It’s official.  The van is totally tuff.  Rory Fontana, the monster mechanic of Fontana Motorsports in Simi Valley did what I could only dream of doing to this thing.  He turned it into a beast!  Later I’ll add a full detailed list of all the upgrades and modifications Rory did for the van, but here are a few of them:

  • Pulled the engine, cleaned and re-sealed the entire thing.
  • Replaced timing chain and timing cover gasket.
  • re-built the heads, including new springs, valves, bearings.
  • installed new cam shaft and lifters
  • added Edelbrock intake manifold
  • upgraded from a 2 barrel to a 4 barrel electric carbuerator
  • installed headers
  • custom exhaust
  • side pipes
  • new front shocks and springs, cut and lowered front end.

Rory rules.  He works mostly on MOPAR/Dodge cars & vans from the 70′s.  He knows engines like the back of his hand and he is a van fan/owner and member of Wheels of Confusion. If you need some work, call him: (818) 641-3512

Here are some of Rory’s pics from the shop:

Fontana 1

Pulling the motor.

Fontana 2

New timing chain.

Fontana 3

Rebuilt heads.

Fontana 4

Painted, new carburetor.

Fontana 5

And back into the belly of the beast.

side pipes!

Looking pretty boss with the side pipes

I pulled a clean dashboard out of an old van at the junkyard and it’s going in soon, followed by a new stereo, some lighting, some seating and some curtains.  Stay tuned!

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Photo Shoot Coming Soon!

Photo by Josh Reed.

Tomorrow, Josh and I, photo shoot for a new van mag: Gas, Grass or Ass.

Yeah, buddy!

Photo by Josh Reed

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New Shoes. Old Vans.

Well hello there, thanks for stopping by. I know, I know, long time no update.  I hit a brick wall with the interior panels and then got busy with holidays, etc, etc, blah blah blah.  So my original idea for the panels fell apart after multiple companies turned me down or quoted me a a $ky high price for being “too complicated.”  Okay, I get the hint.  So back to the drawing board I went.  I have some great new ideas and hope to have the panels done in a few weeks.  But in the meantime, read on!

Two big chapters in this post: New Shoes.  Old Vans.

Chapter one.

Daddy got a new pair of shoes!  My buddy Damion Romero hooked me up big time and sold me wheels and tires for the van.  Barely used and totally bitchin’!  Damion is awesome, here he is after hard work setting me up…

Damion polished the chrome and cleaned the tires for me and even installed them.  You’ll notice here the back tires are more wide than the front tires.  As Damion put it, it’s a classic muscle car set up.

Damion spiffing up the tires

and the final results!

Van with new shoes

Chapter two.

Here is a bunch of van inspiration I have collected from the web… old Dodge ads, van photos from 1970s-era vanner mags (careful, contains some nudity) and some newer pics of custom vans I like.  Enjoy the van porn (and I don’t mean because of the boobs) …

Start with the old Dodge Ads…


1977 Dodge Truck Ad



77 Dodge ad image


Dodge van ad 1977


1978 Dodge Truck Ad - Adult Toys

also 1978

1978 Dodge Street Van Ad


1979 Dodge Van Ad

And some 1970′s vanner mag pics…

notice the paint job…

Vanner mag spread

more girls…

vanner mag spread 2

More old photos of unknown origin…

cool paint

Cool Paint

So there ya have it, folks!  what do you think of the old van ads and other pics?

Thanks for reading and stay tuned, the panels will be done soon!!!

Tell your friends!

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Junk Yard Dawg

The junk yards of greater LA have been very good to me lately.  I’ve spent two full days hunting 70′s Dodge or GMC van parts in four “pick-n-pulls” this month.  I would compare it to people watching, but in a way that has you imagining the people who owned and – for sure in some cases – lived in these cars and vans.  The four parts yards I roamed held only American cars; some classics but mostly ranging from five to twenty years old.   You gotta bring your own tools and do all the work yourself.  One of the yards was the one in which they filmed the reality TV show Junk Yard Wars.  Each yard held at least two or three mid-seventies Dodge vans and all in pretty bad disrepair and looking like they were skinned alive.   But I was lucky and found the parts I went there looking for.

This van had the grille I wanted and a radiator overflow to replace my cracked and broken one so I snagged the parts…

Junk Yard Grille… And ta da!  Here it is, cleaned up and installed on my van…


Also, I added some Chrome tail light fixtures…

Chrome Tail light fixture  I love these!

And I pulled some door handle parts.  Some of these I bought at the car show and some parts I found at the pick-n-pull, but the result is arm rests with sweet seventies ashtrays and shiny new handles.

Improved door handlesFor just a taste of the junkyard, here is a pic from the interior of an old ford custom.  Pretty cool padding idea…

Junk yard Ford customAnd that’s all for now.  Thanks for reading and pls send the page to your friends!

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At the Car Show…

Hello friends!

Check it out, been crazy busy in the last few weeks getting ready to take the van to it’s first car show – the Chrysler Performance West’s Fall Fling!  The CPW is all MOPAR – mainly Dodge and Chrysler and AMX – and there were some beauties on the lot!  I showed the van but made the a note for viewers that the van was still a work in progress and people got that right away.  But!  I’m really happy to say that the van actually won a ribbon!  I was out with my homeboy Damion (70′s Dodge van and Roadrunner owner) shopping in the parts mall, came back and found a ribbon: “MOPAR of Special Merit” Pretty cool. I had the only 1970′s van in the lot.  Jay Leno stopped by for a peek.

Blue Ribbon Van: "MOPAR of Special Merit"

Before we look at the van progress, here are a couple of MOPARs from the car show that I say have special merit…

The AMX and the Little Red Express.  I don’t know much about AMX, but I was in Love!!  And the Little Red Express was a factory truck that Dodge was making in the 1970′s, part of what they were marketing – along with the Street Vans – as “toys for adults.”  Indeed!


Little Red Express

So what “special merit” did my van have?  I’ve done a lot since the last blog update.  We’ll start from the bottom up…

First up, I finally got my plates which stand for 1977 Street Van:

77 STVAN And I also found some seriously deep shag carpet – it is black and about 2″ deep.  Sweet!  I bought an inch of foam padding and, I gotta tell you, it is pretty darned comfortable to lay on!  But first I needed to cut a few more custom-shaped ply wood pieces to make the carpet go all the way up front to the dog house that covers the engine…

Pre-carpet prep

Bought the carpet for cheap because it had been in the remnants warehouse for quite a while and needed some re-shaping.  So I had to warm it up by the space heater overnight so it would stretch when installed.

Cooking the Carpet

And then I found Dave on Craigslist to come and install it. This was his first time installing shag carpet in a van.   Probably because he was just a kid in in the 70s like me.  But he and his understudy, Joey, did a bang up job!  Arrived at the Chalet at 9:00 AM and were gone by 10:30.

Carpet installation

Dave and JoeyJob well done by Dave and Joey!

Also, I finally got the seats installed!  Dennis from Markel’s Auto in Beverly Hills did a great job (seen here sitting in his 67 Chevy Nova Super Sport Convertible)!

Dennis Markel in his 67 Nova SS

Dennis’ team made some killer brown and cream seats for me that came out just as cool as I was hoping they would!

new seats from Markel's in Beverly HillsAnde they go great with the front door panels and overhead panels, painted in matching cream

matching cream door panelsNext update should show the finished panels installed (and the are going to be effing amazing!!!!) the new roof vent with exhaust fan I installed, the new armrests for the front doors and possibly, a new stereo (fingers crossed!).

PS – before you go, check out my line of LosAngeles-area liquor store tees!  There is a brand new Silver Lake shirt that I’m crazy about and I added a tee shirt page to this blog (see the tool bar above) or simply click here!

New Silver Lake Liquor Shop tee

Thanks for reading and feel free to spread this blog around…

Cheers from LA!


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The interior is underway…

First off, here’s a great pic of the van, still in Colorado.  Maybe this image will give you a better idea of why i love these bitchin’ vans!

Two weekends of work in this posting.  I got a lot of help from my dear friend Sara.  She is a great guide and counselor.

Started by pulling the old panels.  So much work on these.  Had to pull hundreds of staples from the outer edge piping seen here, which I saved (the piping), and will re-use.

Just some of the staples.  It took way longer than I thought, spent hours pulling all these little buggers.

Then I traced the old panels on the new wood and started cutting – BY HAND!!!

Sara saw me sweating and let me know how crazy I was for doing this with a saw.  I did about six panels when she got out her sweet new jig saw and took me to school!

Look at those smooth curves she cut!  She is very impressive with power tools!

You can see what 34 years of wear and tear looks like on the old panels.  There is a discovery around every corner with this project, mainly because I’ve never done this before and had no idea what to expect.  So the old panels came out and I discovered 34 year old pink panther insulation.

The insulation is still good (will help keep the van cool on hot days) but the liner paper was so fragile.  Your finger goes right through it by just touching it.  So, another surprise, I had to hang some stronger paper to make a barrier between the people and the pink panther.  A whole day later…

And I sealed in all the pink panther. Ever hear the old saying “busier than a one-armed paper hanger?”  Yeah, I learned that “first hand” last weekend.  Long job, and very difficult, but it had to be done.  Whew, I was pooped, but had to get started painting the panels.  Primer first!

 And then the base coat…

Yeah, it’s gonna be pretty gnarly inside.  Planning for something really crazy for the pattern, you’ll see soon enough!

No pictures for this part, but I ordered two custom seats for the driver and passenger from this great custom interior shop, Markel’s Auto Interiors.  They have been in business here in LA since 1945!  Dennis was great and helped me a lot.  Click the link above and he can be seen sitting with a white shirt in his very own aqua and white 1960s convertible.  He of course made this interior himself.  I think I’ll be calling on him for a few more pieces before I’m finished.  Can’t wait to show you the results when he is finished making them!

Thanks for reading and pls staying in touch!

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Sunday, August 14

And we’re off.  Spent Sunday gutting the interior shag carpet which dates from the 70s.  It was old, dry rot, dusty as hell and literally turns to dust when you touch it.  I filled two big trashcans with it and had to stop when they were full, but just in time, it’s all gone!

driver's side floor gut.

driver's side floor gut.

I had to pull and tear every square inch!

I had to pull and tear every square inch!

the motherload of shag dust!

the motherload of shag dust!

just a few dozen rusty staples...

just a few dozen rusty staples...

and then pulled down the overhead dust makers...

and then pulled down the cropdusters...

and then done.  Looking better already!

and then done. Looking better already!

This week I’m getting some work done so I can pass smog and get my plates, etc on Friday.  More updates soon!

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