The Story of the Rapevan
I was working at an independent shop when one of the delivery drivers for a wrecking yard we used found out I was looking for a motor. He told me he had a 440 with about 15k on a rebuild. There was one other thing though.....
The motor came with a free van! This thing was a beast to put it mildly. 71 B200 with one ton running gear, 440, headers, crane cam, 6 pack rods, steel crank, 915 small chamber '67 only heads. With a 727 and a full floater dana 60 with 4.10's this thing was really set up to tow. It was one of those long wheelbase vans with the 3 foot add on in the back so it was super huge! Plus the rear tires were 31 inches tall so looked like it came right out of the 70's van craze especially with that wacky paint job! So why do you call it the "Rapevan" you may ask. Well, I drove this thing for a while, and I picked up my sister to take her somewhere and she just couldn't stop laughing. Since there was only the one window on the side and the two in the back doors, she said "this thing looks like some sort of rape van". Needless to say the name stuck.
When I first went to pick it up, it obviously had been sitting for a while. Since it wouldn't start right away, I talked the guy down to $800 for it. Then I swapped the ignition ballast resistor and the distributor for luck and it finally started. I drove it home. I had some sort of A-team thing going through my head all the way home, "man, if only I had an ak-47 I'd be set"!
I put some cool stickers on it that I had and drove it for a while
The real reason I got this thing was for the motor. So eventually I pulled it out. I have to admit, if the van didn't come along at the time it did, my car may still have been apart even now. I used the engine, trans and exhaust to get the Cuda running. Mike, if you ever see this webpage, just another big thanks to you! I am still running the same heads and short block that came out of the van 8 years ago! Unfortunately, I didn't have a place to keep the van, so it ended up going to the crusher. I felt bad about that. It really would have been a great tow rig. Mike had used it to tow his Bonneville car out to the salt flats.