The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

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The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Wed 28 Dec 2011, 10:14 pm

Hi all,

Here's some snappies of the build of my Dad’s VG Dodge ute. Everything else on my slate is pretty much taking the backburner now until this is finished incl. the Disturbia CL Valiant Van's interior. A little while back we got blindsided with the news that my Dad had the Big C, thankfully it was treatable and he’s at the end of chemo and radiation therapy, but he’s going to be out of action till next Feb at least.

So with that in mind its full steam ahead on the project dubbed ‘The Sloop John B’. He's a Beach Boys fan from way back and Sloop John B was one of their songs back in the day, which also coincides with his first name being John and his middle initial being ‘B’. So there you go, it should all make sense now!

It was bought basically as-is body and paint wise, and so far I’ve zipped up all of the floor rust and got the V8 conversion underway. The plan is to hopefully get it a complete roller stage with all paint/body/interior and glass sorted, with the engine and trans to come once he's back on his feet. Just so I don’t take all of the tinkering away.

Some befores (basically as bought):





So first up was to sort the floorpans which involved replacing most of the drivers side and the passenger front:



It was originally a Hemi 215 3 on the tree job but that all is being replaced by a 318 and 904 auto with column shift:



The weird thing with this one is that the 215 and part no's on the block were cast upside down (monday morning after the footy finals?)



The bay ready for stripping and prep:



I pulled out the motor and box and got stuck into the bay, firstly by patching avery large hole from battery corrosion (never seen a Val rot one so badly here):



and the new one test fitted just fine:



So I've since smoothed the inner guard repair and rubbed the engine bay back. The ute itself is pretty darn good for its age and came from a farmer west of Mareeba in FNQ. I love minimal repairs!:



Hope to have the bay hi-filled before the long weekend.

have fun

Simo
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  Imperfection on Thu 29 Dec 2011, 2:33 pm

Nice i have a soft spot for val's, Cool
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  HQVAN on Thu 29 Dec 2011, 9:01 pm

Imperfection wrote:Nice i have a soft spot for val's, Cool

Likewise.... Cool

Looks like another cool project Simo!

I would love to do a VF Coupe one day, I love the indicators in the front guards. But I think my time has run out on that one.....I don't think I could afford one the way they are going up in value!

The same has to be said for alot of my 'one day' projects....(XB Coupe, HQ Monaro, LX/LH Hatch, '69 Mustang Fastback) I am going to have to let a couple of my dreams go I think! Sad

I look forward to more updates on this one, wish your old man all the best for me, the big 'C' can be a horrible thing.

Cheers,
Karl.
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Thu 29 Dec 2011, 9:17 pm

Thanks folks, I hear you re dream projects Karl, I'd love to do a Landau, Manx Buggy and phantom VG Valiant panelvan (grafting a CL turret on) but I don't think they'll ever happen.

Hi-fill sorted this arvo so it can have a relax for a few days then I'll shoot some colour on late next week.



have fun

Simo
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  The Zodiac on Thu 29 Dec 2011, 9:26 pm

Hey Simo, great father and son project dude and she looks like she's in fairly good condition too! Very Happy Glad to hear your dad's on the mend, I lost a close model making mate a few years back to cancer and it's a terrible thing, you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy. Evil or Very Mad
What's the plan for the ute?? Stocker appearance? Mild custom or tuff cruiser?? Wink
Looking forward to seeing more updates as she comes together.
Cheers Rob

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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Thu 29 Dec 2011, 9:42 pm

Thanks Rob, the plan is for virtually dead stock on the outside except for widened steelies on the back and some lowering, but will run a mild 318 with gilmer set and dumpers. Dodge's run silver bumpers and minimal chrome from the factory so that will all stay except I need to get the silver shade dead right, otherwise it'll look like a 90's Street Machine!
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  RAT BAG on Thu 29 Dec 2011, 10:13 pm

cool to see your dad is a val man too. bet he cant wait to get in and drive the thing. should be an awesome thing when its done.

In saying that you could do a thread on the restoration of your mums sisters cousins neighbors Hyundai Excel and I would still be interested haha. love the writeups and all the pics!
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  serendipity on Fri 30 Dec 2011, 7:17 am

looks like the start of another awesome build by simo inc. are you decking the back out in a nautical theme to match the song? maybe a sail?
at least your dad has good taste in music, hope everything goes ok with him,
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Tue 22 May 2012, 9:08 pm

Ok folks, things took an interesting turn with this project, but lets do some catch up first.

It was at about this stage that I thought it'd be cool to give my Dad this ute - all finished and registered - as a surprise for his 70th birthday that was held Saturday just gone. Well, I'm happy to say it made it there. Just. So this is what happened:

First up was to rub back the hi-fill and spray the engine bay:



While this was happening a mate reskinned the tailgate and it was bought home for a test fit:



The front pan was rooted so I pulled a good one from out of the spare parts department and prepped it up for paint:



The pan and tailgate inner were then hi-filled:



and came back looking all spunkin':



I dropped the front end all out to replace the Hemi 6 k frame and front drums:





I thought the K frame was mint until I turned it upside down; I've never seen one rot out so bad in the middle:



and thankfully the chassis rail is mint:



More very soon!

Simo

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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Wed 23 May 2012, 8:03 pm

So I got busy mainly underneath getting the front brakes and suspension sorted. First up was blacking out the rad support and sorting the V8 K frame:





The brakes are now VG vento discs running VJ calipers to replace the factory drums and the front end uses CL swaybar lower control arms and front swaybar. I’ve replaced all of the bushes, flex hoses, steel lines etc. and fitted new discs and wheel bearings and o’hauled the calipers so it should be all trouble free for a while yet. This just needs some final detailing to get it looking neat. Thankfully my Dad’s a fan of keeping it all black and low maintenance which is an easy option after doing Disturbia’s stuff!



Another job that needed sorting was the rusty dash frame which is common with VE F G. I couldn’t find a clean one but of course have probably tossed out 5 or so good ones over the last 20 years! As you can see they rot at the mounting corners at the base of the windscreen (looking at it from the top down to the inside rear)





This was all chopped out and I welded in some fresh metal shaped to suit, including some new recessed mounting tabs:



A quick skim of filler and a prime and it fits no probs!





Being a Dodge it is a bare bones hose-out spec so doesn’t even have a dashpad! That said it meant that the front metal is well and truly on display so was given a generous prep for the satin black topcoats. I asked around trying to find out what the Dodge dash was originally finished in is as the factory colour almost looked gunmetal grey, but the general consensus was satin black or even a wrinkle finish type black. So here it is prepped, etched and primed for its topcoats:





More soon!
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  serendipity on Wed 23 May 2012, 9:03 pm

looking good simo, another classic build, keep it up , cheers
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  magnum500 on Fri 25 May 2012, 8:39 am

I don't know where you find the time simo to not only do such great projects but to find the time to take pics as well as document the whole thing. Awesome job! And a great thing to share the job and time with your dad and mates . Priceless . All the best to your dad . Can't wait for next installments . kewl
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Sat 26 May 2012, 5:14 pm

Cheers folks, I had plenty of motivation!

Work kept on at a cracking pace and I started by pulling out the diff and rear springs then got busy reassembling everything in the engine bay I painted and buffed earlier:



Then over the next week or so everything under the back was cleaned, painted black and reassembled including the fuel tank, new steel brake lines, new steel fuel line and new rear brakes, all with new bushes and shocks:



Back on its wheels and ready for interior paint and body jewellery:





So things kept moving along pretty well and over Easter got busy again up top. I prepped, painted and buffed the door shell inners, door jambs and repaired inner cab and parcel area, then reassembled the doors with glass, regulators, trims etc.

About ten minutes after I laid on the beige coats my Dad turned up and it was a mad rush to get it covered up without him noticing and without marking the tacky paint!









I repaired some rust at the front of the tray, hammer and dollied out the wheel tubs that had been made virtually square, then gave it a squirt of a textured tuff-coat. After a prime it was on with some more body colour and a refit of the inner side pieces with some new stainless screws:





The new carpet and underlay arrived quick smart and you can’t go past Knox for carpets that fit awesome! Only minimal trimming was required and the finish them very well around the steering column area (once you actually put the column in):



The seatbelts turned up around the same time and are Hemco tan jobs that have Standards approval and were a fair whack cheaper than Klippan:



All vents, handbrake, bonnet cable, speedo cable, auto brake pedal box and accelerator pedal were fitted up and the steering column (now auto) repaired, painted and reinstalled, to go with the now-black dash frame:



Dad had already done a mint job refurbing the indicator assemblies – the lenses aren’t new by the way –and along the way became a convert to chrome vinyl! A neat trick he did was to fit VF sedan rear indicator bulb holders in the front so it now runs orange bulbs for indicators only with parklamps now in the H4 headlamps:



I repaired and resilvered the eyebrow moulds and bonnet mould, made easy by the fact Dodges aren’t chrome here so you can smooth them up with car filler and hi-fill/prime them etc.



I then laid the full wiring loom in, and added more engine bay electrical gismo’s like the wiper motor, horn etc. and relays



have fun

Simo





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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  serendipity on Sat 26 May 2012, 6:33 pm

awesome job simon, a credit to you and how quickly you get things done, cheers rockon
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  HQVAN on Sun 27 May 2012, 9:03 pm

Yet another awesome build and write up Simo!

I saw all the pics on facebook of your father's 70th party and the hand over of the keys to this completed build. Looked like the old boy was wrapped! He is very lucky to have a son like you, and you are very lucky to have mates like yours to help out.

I hope your dad is doing well and enjoying his new ride, I look forward to the rest of your story on this build.

Cheers,
Karl.
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Fri 01 Jun 2012, 8:10 pm

Cheers Karl, he's super stoked with it and I will post some pics of that soon!

Hi all,

With the basic roller pretty much sorted it was time to build a mild 318 and for this I used a nice mild tow cam (can’t find the spec sheet off hand but it was something like 208@0.050, 414 thou lift from bad memory), 350 2bbl and larger port 318 castie exhaust manifolds. The donk originally came out of a CL Regal which in 1978 was the type of asthmatic barge that come out with like 8:1 compression and a recommended static timing of 0 degrees so you get the picture. But it was a mint standard block so I had it acid bathed and new cam bearings fitted, then bought it home, gave it a hone and fitted new standard size rings and bearings. Brownie from Brownies Race Engines lopped 30thou off the (standard) heads but even with about 60thou deck height you could still jam a sandwich in the combustion chamber, so low compression was a bit of a concern. But I had to remember who I was building this for and what he’ll be doing with it so got over it and on with the job.

My good mate Macka came over once I dropped the crank in and dialled in the cam (thankyou Sir!). Strangely enough after doing this with his degree wheel we both felt like pizza...



After a good feed then it was back into the short with the whole bottom end ringed and piston’d. As time allowed over the next day or so I added more bits to the bottom end and got the heads cranked on:



‘til it was time for some paint. Geez I wonder what car that intake manifold came off of....



Some white primer:



then good ole VHT red for the 318 Fireball look, which will go with black wrinkle finish and silver for a factory muscle look:



Amongst all of this I’d been building a 904 auto to slot behind it. The first one I pulled apart was a piece of Woopsie with a cracked convertor snout, cracked auto case, scored drums from worn out bands and torched internals but its still sitting at Dad’s in a million pieces so at it was a great decoy... the stripes is an old habit from the old days where every box I built copped some GT action:



So with a few old mates all keen and wanting to help Dad out, they came over for some (more) pizza and laughs and we slotted the auto up and hoiked the engine in. Was a fun day and something we haven’t done together in I reckon more than 10 years; isn't that what its all about??





So over the next week or so I got everything else hooked up (plus fitting in a week away with work!) then got it running after a couple of electrical issues like an internally shorting starter motor and dealing with a porous metering block on the carb that was dumping too much fuel into it, which wasn’t the go on a fresh engine. That happened to me many years ago on the 465 4bbl in my Hardtop so at least I knew what it was! That was sorted and it runs really well actually, plus the box shifts sweet which is also a relief as it was an unknown random I bought to rebuild. There was a couple of things left to do at this point, tidy up the wiring and fit the proper air cleaner and reblack the radiator top.



More soon!

Simo


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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Tue 05 Jun 2012, 5:12 pm

Ok, so the unveil was May 19 which gave me less than two weeks to get the ute finished and rego’d! The last update basically gets everyone up to Sunday May 6 plus having the front and rear screens fitted.

In the meantime there was other progress made including modifying a pair of VH-CM ute bumperette end caps to fit the Dodge main bumperettes (the originals were rooted), having them sandblasted and then painting them silver, and sorting the hubcaps. Stock Dodges ran plain silver Valiant hubcaps with the flag emblem, but seeing this was a Dodge I figured it was better to use the VH-VJ base model Charger and later Dodge ute caps with the Dodge tri-star on them. Strange coincidence is that these style of caps were exactly what my Dad ran on his factory AP6 V8 in the 70’s after he fitted up a set of VG 5.5” Pacer rims, and were the actual set I ran on my VG hardtop when I first got it in the early 90’s (cause I liked them on Dad’s AP6) so its weird how things go in circles over 30 years! The shiny finish was sandblasted, then painted silver and blacked out in the centre:





There was still heaps to go so on Labour Day Monday the lads turned up in droves Overhaulin’ style to get it to the deadline. There was a to-do list a mile long, all pretty easy stuff but still something that would take one person a week of arvo’s.

Oh man where do I start??? Pictures sound like the go. Amongst it all we sorted the trans cooler, door rubbers, door felts, grille, exhaust, rear number plate and lamp, front bonnet moulding and modifying the worlds most expensive but poorest fitting aftermarket tailamp lenses (not much choice as only one mob does them). Plus a heap of other odds and ends:















Macka cooked up a great spread (and the food was good too...). Geez that bubble window making oven comes in handy!



Wheel-wise the ute runs stock 5” VG’s on the front and widened 7’s on the back that originally saw service on my hemi coupe in the 90’s. They were blasted and painted care of Jamie Smith and Tim Hall so a huge cheers to those two gents. With the tyres fitted up they were treated to a muscle car size redline by Joel of Southside Whitewalls:



So at COB on Labour Day here’s how it looked:





The plan now was to casually finish the interior and body jewellery over the following week and go for rego the week after. No. My work decided that I needed to go to Cairns for the week leading up to his birthday so a few mental afternoons saw everything pretty much finished and rego’d on Friday May 11. I started on Tuesday by popping the seat in, adding the 3 spoker steering wheel and VDO dashtop tacho which is pretty much a dead ringer for a VF Pacer tacho:



The engine bay was pretty much sorted and wiring tidied etc., enough to get it through roadworthy initially:



and the bumpers silvered and fitted up. The front bumper was bent like a banana so was later taken off and straightened in the backyard with some heavy assistance...





It used to run ugly chrome tie down rails on the sides and the holes were really annoying so were filled with stainless allen key cap screws to tidy it up but keep it looking industrial. The big holes at the very top will be covered by a tonneau eventually:







So it was nearly time...

Simo







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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  fc59 on Wed 06 Jun 2012, 9:12 pm

mate looks the goods already where do you find the time ?
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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  simopar on Wed 13 Jun 2012, 9:12 pm

I just don't bother going to sleep!

Soooo here we go for D-Day:

Friday May 11. The ute was all registered after some serious farting around at QT. So here it is home after its maiden run. At this stage I still needed to lower the front a bit and give it a home align on the front end:









I then found out I didn’t need to be away for the last week with work but at least it was rego’d!

Over the following week I gave it a thorough detail, tune up and sorted the front bumper, but basically just kept it hidden apart from a few drives to get some miles on it. There have been no real teething problems with it thank goodness and it’s heaps of fun to drive! Toey as a Roman sandal, the thing just eats up the hills and has plenty of stick.

So, it was time. On Saturday may 19 my folks were having a bit of a shindig at their place with a heap of friends so it seemed like the perfect place to do the unveil. With attempted military precision we organised for the ute and mates to arrive close by at 4pm and then I snuck away to meet up and get things ready.

1. Onto the lawn:



Attempted stealthing up the lawn:





And we waited...



My sister went upstairs to tell Dad that the Police were here and wanted to speak to him about someone parking on the footpath so he came on down and it was TIME. Time to see the reaction after nearly 8 months of hard work, a lot of hiding, stealing parts from his garage and replacing them my own stuff, quiet phone calls and texts, and a lot of help form a bunch of great people.

So he opens the front door and starts to walk down the stairs and you can just see that his face is blank but his eyes and brain are ticking over... He slowly makes his way up to the ute and walks around it with this weird grin on his face, touches the bonnet and finds that its warm and is just staring at it blankly but with the aforementioned weird grin.

So we come out of hiding wish him a Happy Birthday and he is just stunned and doesn’t say a word! Plenty of handshakes and man hugs and its key time:



By this stage the party goers have heard what’s happening and made their way out to the front, Dad still hasn’t said a word and just casually heads to the ute, jumps in, fires it up and drives off!! Without a single word!! Just that same strange grin on his face!!



Thankfully he makes it back in one piece and the reality starts to hit. We present him with a birthday card signed by everyone involved which is actually the old tailgate skin that good mate Jamie has kindly signwritten and gold leafed, and is now hanging proudly on his garage wall:





The Wise Old Schools doing their thing:



And the money shot:



So that’s it! It was presented to him basically 98% done as I felt it was important for him to do all of the finishing touches like a few interior bits (kick panels, pillar panels and parcel shelf) plus a few body touches that needed doing. I’m happy to say that the very next day he was tinkering on it fitting up the fuel spill tray and a few other bits and pieces and has covered quite a fair whack of miles in the last few weeks too.

There is no way in hell that this ute would have ever been finished if it wasn’t for the help from some awesome friends:

Aaron C, Aaron, Andrew, Brad, Chris, Darryn, Ed, Garry, Jacquie, Jamie, John, Justin, Kimberley, Nick, Paul, Susanne, Tim, Todd, Tyler and last but definitely not least, Vanessa!

Cheers folks for taking an interest in this thread!



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Re: The 'Sloop John B' VG Dodge ute

Post  magnum500 on Thu 14 Jun 2012, 7:35 am

WOW what can you say but awsome!what a great bunch of guys you have up there fantastic job by all.
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