Eastwood Alsip Restores A Delivery Van

We’re creeping up on about a year since our second retail store has been open in Alsip, IL outside of Chicago. This store has been growing steadily and we’re very thankful for the acceptance into the classic car community! Store Manager Trevor and his crew at the store decided they wanted to take on building up a vintage delivery van for a multi-purpose vehicle they could take to local cruise-ins, car shows, and to potentially deliver product locally. Sure we could have bought a brand new, crisp white Ford Transit and called it a day; but what’s the fun in that!

before1

This story starts when Trevor and his crew found a 1974 Chevy One Ton Step Van with only 87,000 miles sitting locally in a nearby lot to the store. It had been long-forgotten but “ran when parked”. Despite its dismal looks, it actually had a lot going for it! It had a factory Chevy 350 motor with a 4 bolt main, manual transmission, and a tandem rear axle. The body is also made up of mostly aluminum which means the typical rust issues on these old delivery vehicles wasn’t an issue. To top it all off the frame was rock solid and wasn’t all rotted out like many from the rust belt. Best part, the asking price wasn’t much more than the scrap value, so how could they lose?

before2

Trevor and the Alsip store crew drug it back to store headquarters and started looking over what needed attention immediately. With the brutal Chicago winter creeping up, the leaky roof skin was an immediate concern. The crew drilled out and ground off all of the rivets holding the roof skin on and cleaned the mating surfaces up with a wire wheel and Eastwood PRE. The panel couldn’t be reinstalled dry as there would still be small gaps that water could leak through and also those gaps could open during temperature changes and flexing of the box during use. They decided to use Eastwood Flexible Seam Sealer across the entire seam of the roof panel to ensure a water tight seal. Rivets were then reinstalled across the roof and the truck was at least water-tight for the impending snow.

before1

The truck also had some unnecessary parts removed including a pair of home-brewed bumpers that weighed close to 500 pounds together! They also removed all of the broken marker and taillights to prep around those areas for paint and to also find suitable replacements. The engine was compression checked and all cylinders were found to be within spec and a suitable candidate for a “refresh”. The refresh included going through the engine and replacing wear items and upgrading some bolt-on parts like the oil pump, exhaust manifolds, etc. This should at least give the engine a new lease on life!

Once the crew dug into the suspension the story was all too familiar for an old delivery van like this, everything was overly worn, especially rubber parts, and needed replaced. They also will take the precautions of replacing all flex lines and rebuilding the calipers and rear wheel cylinders. This thing needs to stop as well as it looks!

Photo Dec 23, 9 31 54 AM

Photo Dec 23, 10 17 00 AM

At this point the only proper way to continue with the project was to remove the body from the chassis so they could tackle the next part of the restoration. Trevor and the crew made up some heavy–duty body stands that could support hovering the body over the chassis. With a crew of eager (and some not so eager) guys they lifted the body up and off the chassis with the help of a forklift and set it on the stands. They then rolled the chassis out from under the body and removed the drivetrain.

Photo Dec 23, 10 16 35 AM

Photo Dec 23, 10 16 28 AM

With the drivetrain removed they were able to split the engine and transmission apart. There’s a line on a cheap rebuilt 700-R so this manual shifting van may become an automatic! They tore the engine down and resealed and regasketed everything, all while adding some shiny bolt-ons to replace the greasy, rusted and dismal originals. The engine has a fresh coat of Yellow Cat Ceramic Engine Paint just out of frame of the last picture of the engine.

Photo Dec 23, 1 25 07 PM

image013

Since they were on a roll they decided to tear the chassis down and clean it up and stop the rust that was present. They started by degreasing the entire chassis with Chassis Kleen and knocking off any loose, scaly rust. They’ve just begun treating the chassis with Rust Converter and allowing the converter to fully convert the rust. Once the chassis is fully treated they will be applying a few coats of Rust Encapsulator and top coating with Chassis Black for a better-than-new finish.

Photo Dec 23, 1 51 54 PM (HDR)

image015

image014

We’re currently tossing around ideas of a custom paint job, Elastiwrap, or even maybe a custom vinyl wrap for the van, who knows maybe we’ll let you decide on a design! This van will also be getting some of our newest products including some items to allow this to function as a mobile fab shop if need be! Stay tuned, they’re just getting started this will be a fun one!

-Matt/EW

Top Selling Products

23 thoughts on Eastwood Alsip Restores A Delivery Van

  • Amazing that the chassis is in such good shape. My father had a motor home with a Chevy chassis, and it was rusting to beat the band in the first 3 years. What a piece of garbage the whole assembly was. It was a 1985 and the frame would just rust off in huge pieces.

    The project looks great. I cannot wait to see it finished.

  • This is a great project! Especially for current and future customers to see your products in action! I’m very excited for your dedication to old cars, gear heads, dreamers, and doers! Thanks Eastwood Looking forward to see how this old van is reborn. Steve

  • Awesome job so far: Kee[ up the good work. As always I have know doubt this will make a fine ride.. Thanks for showing whats been done so far. Gives one a lot of ideas. Keep posting updates and when it is finished. Thanks again for sharing,

  • Wow, finally a project that isn’t built on how many bucks can you throw at it. A plain 3500 is great, that is what most of us have not a mega buck, turbo setup! Go Blue color with a huge EASTWOOD Logo on the side! Then all the trim in white.

  • i built one of these several years ago, into a camper. i’m over 6 ft tall, and i could easily stand up in it, vs having to stoop over in a school bus. one thing i would suggest is a large, or several small, skylights in the roof.
    these trucks are like a dungeon, they’re so dark inside. go check out ups trucks to see, or even modern bread delivery trucks. trust me. you’ll be so glad you did. [solid skylights, not crank up van vents]–steve

  • i would also consider building a deck on the roof top, with steel ladders going up the back. that way, by using folding chairs and an umbrella, you could sit way up high, to watch car races, or just relax, and enjoy the show.
    want more suggestions? write me…–steve

  • Neat project!
    Is there any way you can adapt one of the “sunroof” tops from a UPS delivery van to fit the roof panel on this van? A little natural daylight inside the van would mean you wouldn’t need quite as many lights to run the fab shop demos…
    On second thought, you’ll probably need an APU anyway to run compressors, generators, “beverage” coolers, etc. at swap meets/shows. So get one big enough for the lights too.
    Keep the updates coming… I have an ex-U-Haul F-350 V-10 box van that I might be convinced needs a few upgrades. 🙂

  • Bob Skiba is right. A tandem has two rear axles. Your one-ton is set up for dual wheels on a single axle.

    Please, don’t get crazy with the graphics. They will detract from the truck itself. K.I.S.S.

    Thanks for saving the old girl and thanks for sharing it.

  • I stopped at the Alsip store and met Trevor while I showed him my 57 Dodge Power Wagon. A great guy and very knowledgeable on products and tools. I ended up buying the 1/2 hp buffer which made my restorations much easier. I’m sure the van will be a great asset to the store. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. What better place to do a project like this than at an Eastwood store!

  • Looks like a good project! Sure would make a cool mobile fab shop like your thinking. Great way to demo and sale shop tools. Could become a regular fixture at car shows and boost sales/image!

  • While vinyl wraps and flashy paint jobs are all the rage, they also don’t have much going for them as they are all noise and no class to stand alone.

    You have a 1974 commercial vehicle there. Consider what Eastwood would have had for a logo, period correct lettering, and paint scheme. It’s easy to go overboard, but much harder to be understated and classy.

    Customizing is easy. Restoring to stock or stock appearance is very hard and impressive to those that know.

    Now I’m not saying go crazy with the 70’s- this van doesn’t need shag carpeting!

  • I was there when the guys were taking off the body great project.. Just for my own two cents when you repaint it keep it peroid correct or as close to eastwood circa 1974

  • Paint it like one of your welders. It’s about the same shape. Skylights from a UPS van would be the trick light source for free! Put some super singles off a semi on the back wheels No need for duals and KISS also.

  • You are very lucky that the frame is solid! They usually srperate at the rear section where the leaf springs attach. There is s company in Cleveland that sell all step van parts that will t of great help for all the hardware.

  • How about polishing the outside aluminum panels instead of paint and some nice pin stripping. Great project. I look forward to seeing more updates.

  • A friend of mine had one of those for his company truck. He went and polished the entire body. It looked awesome.

Leave a Reply