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  • "Redemption" - 1974 Ford E300 Chateau Club Wagon

    Well, here it goes, folks! When Dave Freiburger put up the Car Junkie Van for sale in this thread http://www.bangshift.com/forum/index.php?topic=13970.0 , I sort of convinced myself to buy another van. I say another because as I mentioned in that thread, my father bought a brand new 1972 Ford Econoline 100 Window Van back in late 1971, and though I was only 2 1/2 years old, I remember vividly the several trips to the dealer to order it, and take delivery, and recall the fascinating sound of the deep rumbling of the 302 inside that great big empty steel drum on the way home that night. My dad built it into a camper that slept all 6 of us, and we vacationed in that van, moved numerous times, drove cross country many times, used it as my mom's daily driver and eventually took it with us to Germany in 1980 and rebuilt the engine before selling it there in 1982 to a returning soldier, who was happy to get it. In addition to that van, we later had 6 Westfalia campers, and 2 more new Econolines, but the memory of that van was permanently etched into my psyche.

    Nearly 10 years ago I saw a very similar van across the street from my uncle's place in Florida, and traded a mint WWII era M1911A1 for it, but since I live in Europe, the idea of getting it here languished, as did the van, and I gave it to a buddy. Anyway, getting back to my story, when I saw Dave's van for sale, I knew I wouldn't be happy without another old van. When that deal fell through, I began looking for what I really wanted, and encouraged by Seth's (fahrenschnell) offer of assistance, I asked him to check out an interesting E-100 in Detroit I'd found on ebay. Coincidentally, I looked on craigslist in Detroit and lo and behold, there was this beauty for sale for $3500:








    Seth rounded up his crew, and went out to look at it, and ended up buying it for me. Many thanks to John (milner351) for looking at the van for me, and Dave (std) for consulting and giving advice. I'm already indebted to Seth for all the time he's spent to help me realize my dream, and he's assured me that this van will be the baddest assest around! LOL.

    This van has a lot going for it. First of all, it's a second generation Econoline, the looks of which I'm in love with. I'm not sure if it's only because I grew up in one. I also think it's the best overall looking van ever produced. The lines and details are so well balanced. It's totally cool!! As for this example, it's all original with only 83,000 miles, original paint and mint interior. A bit of Detroit rust thrown in for good measure too! I hear Seth's body working skills are even better than his electrical wiring skills...LOL jk! Anyway, he said it's in pretty good shape and should be a piece of cake to restore. I was looking for a rust-free desert car, but if there's a pro on the welding end, I have nothing to worry about. So, the van is complete, intact and all original. I'd rather get one like that to see what I'm starting with than end up with some unknown project car that's had who knows what done to it in its lifetime.

    Options-wise, this is the top of the line Ford van, being an E-300 (heavy duty) and Chateau. So it's got all the best hauling equipment as well as most luxurious appointments Ford created at that time. I'm in love with that polished aluminum grill, chrome bumpers, chrome body trim, chromed side marker lights and rear light trim, etc. It's got the extra large low-mount side mirrors too, and in the interior, extra guages, dual air conditioning, seating for 12, and opening side windows. Mechanically, it's got the 302, 3 speed automatic C4 transmission, power steering, power brakes, Dana 60 rear end with 3.5:1 limited slip rear end, and 8-lug truck rims. I've already started a thread seeking advice in converting the drum brakes over to discs:
    http://www.bangshift.com/forum/index.php?topic=15351.0

    Some of the goals I have for the van are to do some serious rust-abatement procedures to it along with making sure it never comes back, so some welding will be in order. Unfortunately, the original paint will have to be covered again, but that leaves me with the opportunity to make it look brand new again, which isn't a bad thing either. Since I'm looking for a long-term vehicle that won't break down 10,000 miles away from home, I've enlisted Seth's assistance to refresh the mechanicals, and that means an engine rebuild with some killer go-fast (and sound mean) parts. My goal is around 400 naturally aspirated, non-stroker HP. I think I'll trade the C4 for a stout AOD transmission while I'm at it. Along with the brake upgrade, I'd also like to throw in new shocks and springs, etc, to make the van handle as well as it can and be as dependable and safe as possible. The van will have to serve duty as a family hauler and part-time parts or material hauler. Maybe tow a car or two down the line as well.

    I welcome all input and criticism in this project, since I'm sure I'll need your advice and help. I'll try to keep y'all posted on the details, and once again I'd like to thank Seth and all his friends for their much-appreciated help in this project.
    President, Wicked Rides Poland

    http://www.bangshift.com/forum/showt...eau-Club-Wagon

  • #2
    Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

    Mike, that's totally badder asser!

    I saw a less-than-mint first generation econoline flatnose at a car show yesterday, and I'm with you on the vibe. Dig the houndstooth seat covers!

    400hp? Wow. :o I hope it's everything you dream of.

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    • #3
      Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

      Whoa, your very own short bus. Considering it's from Michigan, I'm amazed at the lack of rust. This baby must've lived a spoiled life in a garage.
      BS'er formally known as Rebeldryver

      Resident Instigator

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      • #4
        Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

        My brother had a red one just like it. I helped him put a rebuilt 302 in it, through the pass door. It had the same appointments. He took out all of the seats and used it for a work van. I would leave the drum brakes alone, just get some good quality riveted shoes. I would suggest Praise Dyno Brake Shoes but the rest of there stuff is a BIG scam. Have fun with it!
        61 Olds 88, 69 Plymouth Roadrunner, 68 Pontiac Firebird, 95 Buick Roadmaster LT1

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        • #5
          Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

          Great score! My brother bought a 71 window E150 Econoline from a co-worker of mine in 75 or 76. Lots of fond memories with that van. It had the 302/C4 combo. We put headers, a Holley intake manifold and carb along with an Accel dual point to replace the worn stocker. Yeah, his was manual steering and drum brakes. What a beast to parallel park! I often think it would be fun to get one of those. Good luck and enjoy.
          Tom
          Overdrive is overrated


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          • #6
            Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

            This is going to be the most baddest assest van on the site.....possibly the web.

            I am stoked to get started and hope to have the old girl home this week. Then I plan on starting immediately and fully exercising my automotive hyperactivity. This thing is going to be gorgeous and should burn the tires quite nicely as well.

            Mike is a great guy and I am really happy to be helping him out with reliving his youth and sharing it with his children.

            Seth
            200 mph or bust.......

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            • #7
              Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

              Seth. make sure to add some side pipes...


              Seriously, I dig this story...it's story should be an ongoing blog on Bang Shift
              If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

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              • #8
                Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

                Thanks for all the kind remarks and support, guys! Seth is right; I do want to try to relive my childhood to some extent, and also give my sons a chance to experience the coolness of vanning. I know this project will be fun and exciting, and successful, thanks to the quality crew working on it!

                Joe, I don't know about the side pipes... LOL. I like them, but I don't think they'll fly on a historical vehicle in Poland since they were never offered by the factory. I'll be lucky to get away with all the upgrades this van's gonna get...
                President, Wicked Rides Poland

                http://www.bangshift.com/forum/showt...eau-Club-Wagon

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

                  very cool. If you ned a hand seth give me a call. I should be getting some free time soon.
                  Coming at you live from the birthplace of GM,Flint,Mi. Where your car is worth more than the property it's parked on.

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                  • #10
                    Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

                    Before my senior year, me and a buddy went to see the movie Secret Admirer. One of the guys in the movie had an Econoline van that my friend went nuts over. He found one in St Joseph, MO. We roadtripped down to look at it. It was the first time I witness someone buy a car on emotion only. It was scary. The wiring was a rats nest. It had a built 302 with a 3 spd stick and some kind of crazy floor shifter. We only made to the truck stop at the Iowa/ Missouri border before the wiring melted down. He and I rewired half that van right there at the truck stop and we limped it home at 4 am. I got yelled at, I forgot to tell my parents where I was going. But Jimmy got his van.

                    It looked nearly identical to this one that was in the movie, but had side pipes and N50/15's out back. It was where I fell in love with sidepipes.
                    BS'er formally known as Rebeldryver

                    Resident Instigator

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                    • #11
                      Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

                      Looks like a fun ride. Looking forward to the progress reports.
                      Hauling ass & sucking gas are the best uses for a truck.

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                      • #12
                        Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

                        I got to drive it last night! Seth and I picked it up from the seller ( a fine hot rodding gent himself ) and we drove it back to my shop where it will set a while until Seth gets the plates / insurance sorted out and can make the longer trip up to his place for the resto.

                        I can see where folks fell in love with these things. It's truly a different driving experience. Incredibly unrestricted visibility (this one is full of windows - not like the shagtastic silver one pictured above), and that steering wheel position - just makes you want to grab that thing with both hands and settle in for a while.

                        I was surprised at the acceleration capability of the old 302/c4 / 3.54 axle ratio power train - sure - it's no 12 second van - but I expected it to be a turd - and it's not.

                        The front end will need some attention - it's got a good amount of "over center free play" but over all - she's in fine driving condition as is.

                        I think it's a great start to a cool project.
                        There's always something new to learn.

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                        • #13
                          Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

                          John, thanks for the help! I'm glad you like the van. I haven't done much driving in these vans, but I do like the visibility of windows all around, and that's why I really wanted that kind of van. The 302 is no slouch, and fortunately can be warmed up a bit too... ;D I guess we'll have to do something about the steering box too.
                          President, Wicked Rides Poland

                          http://www.bangshift.com/forum/showt...eau-Club-Wagon

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

                            My pleasure Mike. I won't have time to be much more than an idea guy on this project - but it was a pleasure to drive the old girl last night.

                            I would think about a small stroker for this thing - for the price of a quality .030 over 306 build - you're flirting with the same price as a 331 stroker kit. DSS engines out of chicago among others offer some great kits.

                            I don't think I'd go with a 347, only because of the rod ratio and the extra stress it places on the piston and thrust side of the cylinder - I know there lots of them out there, but given your situation with getting parts in Polan - I think a 331 may be a smarter - albeit more conservative choice.

                            Of course - start with a roller one piece rear main block regardless of where you go from there.

                            There's always something new to learn.

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                            • #15
                              Re: In pursuit of a more badder asser van - 1974 Ford E-300 Club Wagon Chateau

                              Congratulations Mike on a dood lookin van ;D.And what great help you have had here from the Michigan boys ;).I really like those vans,although i like all the american vans from that era.

                              And regarding the engine.Wouldnt cubic inches rock here??.392???.4 speed automatic..??

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