1965 Dodge Sportsman: The Anti-Volkswagen

dodgesportsman

If you fear you’ve missed the crazy train on buying an old VW Bus with lots of windows, it’s time to put down the classifieds and fix your eyes on the 1965 Dodge A100 Sportsman, listed here on eBay for only $1,050. This thing is just as cool and will likely move down the road a bit more quickly than the VW once a new motor is sourced. Unlike most of the Buses we’ve profiled on Barn Finds of late, this Dodge Sportsman isn’t even that rusty. Imagine that – not a rust bucket and marginally affordable. Will wonders never cease! The blank interior is screaming for fuzzy carpet and funky couches, along with a mini bar and CB radio. I’m not sure how much a rebuilt engine will cost you, but I’m certain that even with the motor replacement it will still be a better buy than those that must own a German van with no floors and squirrels living in the exhaust manifold. Heck, it even has a split front window, which should keep even the most devout VW purist happy. Does anyone else think this is a worthwhile project for the van-seeker?

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    I love my German cars but with extensive experience with the VW’s and these Dodges, there is no contest. The Dodge is better in every way, many came with the indestructible slant 6, they drove better, handled better, had more power and real heaters. VW buses were not designed for this country’s roads. They were so under powered that they ate engines as quickly as you could install them when driven at the sustained speeds we drive here. Fuel economey was probably about equal, the later VW’s with the more powerful 411 engines ran better but could not adequately cool themselves and had issues with heat and valves, the last boxer engine busses were water cooled versions, by that time the U.S. emitions monster ruined. So…….the Dodge all the way…..does anyone remember the little red wagon? The wheelie drag racer based on this chassis?

  2. DanaPointJohn

    These are cool when customized, but this one needs everything. $15K+ to get this correct with new engine, transmission, brakes, tires, wheels, shocks, interior, body repair and paint. Fun when finished, but in perfect rebuilt condition these only sell at best for around $15,000. Starting at $1,050 seems a bit high.

    • Ed P

      I agree about the price John. The price would be ok if the engine and tranny, etc. were included.

  3. guggie

    Had a VW 19 window / full sun roof van , bought it with engine in baskets inside , spent the summer rebuilding the motor , it ran rather well for about 3 years , it got rear ended which ended the engine and the VW van . with the insurance $$ bought a 65 Dodge van similar to this one , more power and heat ,also kinda had the cool factor , ran the Dodge slant six 3 speed until the body fell off .still driving Dodges !!

    • Dave Wright

      Do you remember the gas heaters? They would burn more fuel than driving the bus I remember going into a party and forgetting to turn it off……..when we came out, it was out of gas. But they did keep the bus warm.

      • Bobsmyuncle

        The gas heaters were on a timer…

    • Bobsmyuncle

      Not to be pedantic but there is no 19 window bus, 11, 15 (fairly rare), 21, and 23 are your options.

  4. Keith IH

    These were excellent vans and kinda fun to drive. They were bullet-proof and very easy to work on (for a dog house design). I do love VW’s too, but the Dodge is a very sensible and fun alternative to the unobtanium of the microbus world.

  5. JW

    I had a 63 Ford Econoline van similar to the Dodge, loved it except it burned more oil than gas. Yes I remember the Little Red Wagon, seen him do his wheel stands a few times.

  6. charles hefner

    I remember Bill “Golden” Mavericks ‘Lil Red Express….I have a 1/24 scale model of it and Chuck Poole’s “Chuckwagon”….always loved these vans but liked the rarer pickup model best.

  7. jim s

    i too think it would take a lot of work/money to get this back running. plus it is set up for an automatic. i sent time in ford, chevy and dodge vans, all manuals, like this ” back in the day ” and found them to be hot, noisy and poor handling. i also have logged time sitting on the dogbox because we needed a third seat. but some people do like them so maybe someone will step up and save this. interesting find

  8. Moparmann Member

    This is a picture of my ’70 A-100 from back in its’ glory days..currently it is suffering from benign neglect. I only need a BIG pile of “pictures of dead presidents” to awake it from slumber!! I may end up selling it. BTW: It’s packing a ’73 340 c.i. and 727 automatic! :-)

  9. charles hefner

    Cool…..show us some more pics Moparmann!

    • Moparmann Member

      LOL! I’ll have to get a scanner, these are non-digital pics and the only ones that I have presently!! :-)

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