'50 Panel Van Build

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'50 Panel Van Build

Post by derricklaukaitis on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:52 pm

I originally purchased my 1950 Dodge Panel on the Internet for $500 and paid nearly $1000 to have it delivered from California on 03/14/02. At some point, guessing in the '70's, it had been converted to a camper of sorts. Complete with house wiring, fiberglass insulation, a fold-down army cot and a second fuel tank for those long drives. There was no engine when I bought the truck, but I was told that the last engine installed in it was a Cadillac V8. Needless to say, the frame had been butchered in the front. The previous owner had started to use airplane stripper to take the layers of paint off the outside and then let it sit outside to rust. Fortunately, since it came from California, it was only surface rust.

I stripped everything out of the inside and dropped the frame out from under it in short order. I pulled a front frame clip of an '88 Dodge Dakota (2wd) from the junkyard and started building my own frame there back.

I have had a couple different engines in the thing, but currently have a 2002 5.9L MPFI Small-block from a wrecked 4wd Dodge RAM 1500. The 46RE automatic transmission is from that 2002 RAM, but has been converted from 4wd to 2wd.

I built a custom Y-pipe (dual 2.5" into single 3") with a 3" high-flow cat so the engine controller would be happy. I chose a Magnaflow muffler that takes the single 3" and turns it into a dual 3" output that I routed out the side of the truck.

The current rear end is a 3.73:1 Dana 44a (aluminum center-chunk) out of a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The rear end is tethered to the chassis by a custom 4-link, triangulated, rear suspension and a pair of coil-over rear shocks with 400lb springs.

I made the front end tilt forward for that truly custom look. And I kept the hood so it also still opens from the sides. Just for some added flair.

The dash is from a 2004 PT Cruiser. It was amazing how easily it fit in the truck! As if it was made for this application, it had exactly 1/4 inch clearance on each side!

The two rows of bucket seats are from a pair 2001 Dodge Dakota donor trucks.

The power window motors are from a late 90's Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The door latches are from a 2003 Dodge Stratus (but are pretty much the same on all mid 2000 Chrysler vehicles) and incorporate power-locks into the truck. The rear door locking mechanisms for the left door are from a late '90's full-size Dodge van and the one for the right door is from another 200(3) Dodge Stratus. I used the interior handles from the van for both rear doors, but the exterior handle for the right door is actually built into the license plate. You just lift the license plate and the door pops open.

The bumpers have both been removed and the bracket holes have been smoothed.

There are a few (hundred) other mods, but I'll let you discover them as you see pictures.


Last edited by derricklaukaitis on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:35 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by derricklaukaitis on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:55 pm










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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by derricklaukaitis on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:13 am






















































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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by derricklaukaitis on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:23 am
























































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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by rich on Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:09 am

wow what a great build. your right that dash fits right at home. can't wait to see more

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by R.A.D on Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:44 am

great mods.... you have my attention

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by Paul on Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:16 am

NICE!!
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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by rapidtransitrick on Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:28 am

your mods are fantastic. your really getting it dialed in . whats next?
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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by derricklaukaitis on Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:16 am

What's next is "more sanding" and then paint. And then wet sanding... And then more paint. Sad Well... I need to re-do the hood latch system first. It sucks when you find things you did years ago and realize there's a better way today.

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by rapidtransitrick on Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:01 am

yes sir........ Smile
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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by 70chall440 on Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:47 am

Awesome build. what is the front suspension from?

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by rich on Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:05 am

70chall440 wrote:Awesome build. what is the front suspension from?

I think he said it was an 88 dakota

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WOW!

Post by MoParJoel on Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:56 am

I cant believe I didnt stubble upon this build earlier, you did it RIGHT! looks awesome... im keeping a close eye on this perty thing. cyclops also I havent seen a PT cruiser interior in these trucks, looks great in there.

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by 70chall440 on Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:51 am

I am using a 88 Dak front clip as well; you say you made your frame from there on back so I assuming you didn't use any of the original frame? I am planning to graft the Dak clip onto my existing frame but am slightly concerned about doing it. I will get through it I am sure, but until I get everything stripped I am not sure what I am going to encounter.

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by Pilothouse_Mike on Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:50 pm

My god is there some grade A metal work going on here... Looks beyond great! Oh, that rear door latch is sweet!!!

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by froy on Sat May 04, 2013 6:35 pm

any thing new. i bet your wearing your arm out sanding that thing

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by rapidtransitrick on Thu May 23, 2013 7:10 pm

any pictures of your hood latch revision?
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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by mr incredible on Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:27 pm

looks great. any progress?

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by R.A.D on Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:28 am

hope your doing ok:?: 

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by mr incredible on Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:55 pm

is it painted yet?

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by 73rr on Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:31 pm

...Long overdue for an update...
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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by mr incredible on Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:24 pm

??????????????? derrick are you ok?

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by Highwayman on Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:35 am

nice panel dude
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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by BAMMD100 on Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:55 pm

Great looking Van. I particularly love the exhaust tips. I'm hoping to build a panel van when I'm done with my truck.

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Re: '50 Panel Van Build

Post by 73rr on Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:14 pm

Does anyone know what has become of this project?
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