We love working on unique projects and this is one we just couldn’t resist. It’s a rare 1965 P10 Step Van. We’re not sure how many of these vans were made but they are incredibly hard to find these days. We suspect most were just beat to death in commercial service and very few have survived. A local couple found this one at a dealer in Texas and had it shipped to St. Pete. The van is now used to promote their restaurants and to support special events in St. Petersburg. The dealer in Texas had done some of the difficult body work prior to shipping it. It ran well enough to limp into our parking lot and that was as far as it would go. We pushed it inside and went to work on it.
Here are some pictures of the van as it was delivered to us.
From here we embarked on a fairly comprehensive restoration covering mechanical, safety, electrical and various cosmetic aspects.
We started with the mechanical and electrical items as we didn’t enjoy pushing this big van around. We refurbished the engine and drive train and upgraded the cooling system with a better radiator and electric fan. We also upgraded the alternator to handle bigger loads. We completely rewired the van, upgraded the suspension, added modern disc brakes and LED lighting. Larger, modern wheels and tires finished off this part of the work.
With the van running and driving we started the exterior cosmetics. We repaired the remaining body damage and rust. Next we applied a two tone paint scheme topped off with a matte finish clearcoat to give it a retro vibe. The wheels were painted to match their restaurant’s logo. We modified the original small rear bumper into a custom step-bumper to make loading easier.
Drivers spend a lot of time looking at the dashboard so we tend to put extra emphasis on making them look good. The P10 had a very worn and tired dash when it came in. You can’t get replacement parts so we restored the original instrument cluster. Next we added real gauges including a tachometer to monitor the health of the vintage engine. For more driving comfort we added a modern tilt steering column, better controls and a rear view camera.
There’s not much in the way of creature comfort in these vans. You leave the doors open and enjoy nature as you cruise along. We were able to restore the original heater- defroster system for those times when you just can’t do without. It’s that odd looking white box to the right of the dash. It doesn’t get much use here in the tropics.
The interior received a major make-over. As part of the interior restoration we added jump seats and LED lighting. The engine compartment was sealed off and insulated to reduce noise and seat belts were added.
This great looking van draws a lot of attention everywhere it goes. If you own a business and are looking for a unique promotional tool, these vintage vans really do the job !