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01-05-2009 05:07 PM The last of the donor van
I have owned the donor van for about a month now, and have invested an incredible amount of time in it. Removing the engine and transmission the hard way, and dismembering and disposing the body, has been very time consuming, I'll bet I have 60 hours in it.

Finally today, I lifted out the engine and trans as a complete unit, with the wiring still attached and piled on top.

This leaves me with a bare, rolling frame which I'm trying to sell on Craigslist. It'll make an awesome parts or frame donor for a rat rod or truck conversion project for someone. I've got the front doors and the airbags left over to sell on ebay, and that'll be it. I spent a ton of time and effort on the donor van and this will be the last entry about it.

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  [Entry #179]

01-05-2009 04:59 PM Progressing the donor van
I know someone who used to say "It's better to be lucky than good", and I might have gotten lucky finding some buyers for parts from the donor van. One guy alone bought $390 worth of stuff, he and others have allowed me to take a small profit, which has paid for the donor van and then some. I was worried the parts might not be perfect enough, then the buyer shows up in a carpet installer's van that was absolutely hammered with 406,000 miles on it!

After I sold the rear and center doors, one fender, rear bumper, seats and more, I removed the dash assembly and interior, and started cutting the cowl away so I could get to the engine.

I stripped it all down to the drivetrain on the bare frame, and removed the last of the body on New Year's Eve. <P>

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  [Entry #178]

12-19-2008 11:14 AM 1963 Impala--The man with the van...
A few words about the donor vehicle; I searched Craigslist long and hard for it. I got lucky and found a later body style, so hopefully I can sell lots of stuff off of it to partially finance it's purchase.

It doesn't looked wrecked too hard, but the damage is amazing. Broken master cylinder, shredded wiring, broken windshield, broken radiator, A/C condenser, all the bent sheetmetal, and of course, every plastic piece in it or on it is broken. And brother let me tell you, there is a LOT of plastic on this thing.

It has a small Vortek V8, a four-speed automatic transmission, air, it still starts, runs, drives, so all my components, brackets, wiring, electrical, computer, everything, is all right here.

It has 231,000 miles, so will need (or get) rebuilt, and I'm looking forward to learning how much this engine is similar to it's small block ancestors. I think it's either 293, or 305 cubic inches, so it might be reminiscent of it's long-gone 283 predecessor in this Impala, and should have decent low-end torque and relatively good gas mileage.

I've already sold the plastic interior panels from the rear doors for $50, they fit all the way up to 2009. I've got ads on all the surrounding Craigslists, to try and sell what I can from the rest of this van before I cut it up.

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  [Entry #177]

12-19-2008 10:58 AM 1963 Impala---The Plan
The plan, loosely, is to do something different than the standard restorations I've done in the past. I want to update this one, make it my favorite driver. I want it to be much more comfortable to jump in and drive it, than any collector car I've ever had before.

Not looking for an over the top hot rod. I don't want the hard work to be for nothing if most out-of-the box performance cars can blow it away. This car is too big and heavy, I look at it as a great cruiser, a driver.

I want it to be reliable, get respectable gas mileage, and have air conditioning. I want modern electronics, no points, no carburetor, maybe power windows and disc brakes.

I still want a '63 Impala, so it'll look completely stock on the outside, probably right down to the hubcaps, and the rare color.

It's time for a donor vehicle. One stop shopping. I don't want to build an engine from someone's garage floor, and then go scrounge up every single other piece I need to put it all together, get it running. I'm WAY TOO LAZY FOR THAT.

I paid $475 for this wrecked '99 Chevy Express van. Long live Craigslist.

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  [Entry #176]

12-19-2008 10:36 AM 1963 Impala-Not as nice as it looks
The interior is rough. The floors have been repaired, but not well. The panels are home made, but the welding looks good, so I may leave them as-is.

The trunk floor has been 'repaired' with some kind of incredibly heavy looking, thick, plate steel. This obviously will go, after I buy some repro panels to replace it.

The trim on this car may look good in the early photos, but all of it is hammered like this, and none of it was removed for the 'bodywork' and primer. The body will need lower quarter patch panels as a minimum, if not complete quarters. The fenders, doors, hood and trunk look decent, at least from outside.....

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  [Entry #175]

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