Blank Canvas: 1969 Dodge A108 Corey Cruiser

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

Dodge A100’s were already great vans, and comparable to the Volkswagen Van in a camping arena. But Corey Cruiser upped the ante with this safari styled roof and camper conversion. This Dodge came from the desert, so the body is solid, but the interior and rubber components are plain burned up from the sun and heat. Despite its needs, this van has received a great deal of maintenance, and has a 318 V8 to scoot it along better than a rear engine air cooled 4 cylinder. With no bids as of yet, the opening bid is $2,250. Check out this cool camper here on ebay out of Santa Monica, California.

I have always preferred these vans as they have more power and longevity to offer as a camper than a Volkswagen variant. The 210 horsepower 318 cubic inch V8 has a rebuilt carb and is backed by a rebuilt automatic transmission. Parts are abundant and relatively cheap for this driveline, where it could possibly be hopped up as well. The brake system has received a fair amount of work as well and is prepared for road duty, although 4 wheel drums aren’t exactly ideal in modern traffic. Wiring gremlins are present as the horn does not work, but more importantly the tail lights have some concerns. Apparently the brake lights and turn signals work, but the running lights are not functioning. Likely something simple that could be hunted down without too much effort.

Sheep skin seat covers are fitted over the original buckets that are reported as being in rough shape. There is still carpet installed, but it is pretty thread barren in appearance.  The dash and steering wheel are in fair shape, and maintain a wonderful classic appearance.

Back in the camper space it is a bit rough, but is a great start to make this camper as you please. In my opinion, these Corey Cruisers are the best road trip machines as the view is absolutely amazing.  From this view point you can see so much around you and above you. You may have some obvious concerns as there are some things missing from the interior of this camper. The counter space with the gas range/oven combo and sink is long gone, but there is still a mini fridge in place.  The remaining carpet is quite weathered, and due for replacement. Capable of sleeping 4 people, both sleeping spaces are missing major components. Despite the missing items, this camper could be revamped and updated to really make this camper top notch.

After time spent in the desert, it is quite clear that the paint is dead. Originally copper, this van could use a paint job for sure. There is some surface rust on the exterior of this camper, but there is no visible rot. There are some grey primered areas that I assume to have been areas that needed neutralizing. Rivets can be seen on the right rear door which was for a bracket where a spare tire was mounted. Straight, this camper has little in the way of damage other than the fact that one of the safari top windows on the front is cracked and delaminating. Otherwise you basically have a perfect canvas to build a vintage camper to your own liking. Would you take on this cool camper project and what would you do to it if you did?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    That top turns an already poor handling vehicle into a downright death trap. The old man had a newer maxi van ( like the Sportsman earlier) and I took it to Indiana, where a company cut the top off and put one of these tops on. It instantly transformed it from a not too bad a van, into a scary ride, especially in high winds. Gas mileage went from teens to single digits.The old man made a camper out of it, but even he didn’t like it, and moved on to “real” motorhomes.

    2+
    • Brad C

      Well, the extra high roof is just too cool to remove, in my opinion. Maybe you could throw some extra ballast into the hold to get the center of gravity back down. After that, I’d like to find a gently used Isuzu diesel drivetrain to boost my MPGs… and set sail!

      2+
      • Howard A Member

        Hi Brad, that’s true. Too late now. It almost looks like the top is 180 off. You’d think that should be turned around, for aerodynamics and stand up room for rear passengers. It does ensble you to stand, but very unstable. I think the best thing would to be, put dual wheels on the back.

        2+
      • Brad C

        Making it a dually is a fantastic idea, Howard. Add some big swirls and swooshes with glittery paint… and you’d be firmly in life-sized Hot Wheels territory.

        2+
    • BigPaul367

      I put one on its side when I was 17, I understand what you are saying, in a serious cross wind this would be a handful. But that does not deter my interest in this vehicle.

      0
  2. Fred W.

    They probably made the modification without stiffer springs, heavy duty sway bars, shocks, etc. If those were added, it would be a bit less scary.

    5+
  3. Adrian C

    I love these old flat front vans. This one has a lot of potential.

    0
  4. LAB3

    It’s not at all difficult to pick up used camper parts like a galley, water and propane tanks, furnace or whatever you’d like to have in it. Make it your own!

    5+
  5. Coventrycat

    These are SO much cooler than those overpriced VW’s.

    4+
  6. sparkster

    Our father bought a new 1968 model Dodge A-108 window van. Turquoise in color , with 318 , no power brakes , no power steering and NO A/C. Then proceeded to load up our family of six and travel to Florida from California in the summer time. Twice. all of us kids sat in seats behind the engine cover. Have you ever driven through Arizona in the summer in metal tin can ?

    4+
    • Hard Drive

      Builds Character!

      2+
      • Loco Mikado

        Remember driving my Dodge PU and overhead slide in camper across the desserts of Oregon & Washington in 105+ temperatures with no AC and am still alive to tell about it in the 70’s. We have now become wussified.

        2+
  7. Ken Carney

    This thing screams wheelchair van! At least that’s how I’d use it. Been looking
    for a decent van to build for my mother
    in law exactly for that purpose. We’re priced out of the market when it comes to buying a newer, ready made unit. These cost north of $300K here
    in Florida so finding something like this would be great for me. Aside from
    the ramp and all the stuff that goes with it, I’d sort the mechanical issues,
    upgrade the brakes, add electric steering so that Mother could drive it with
    ease, redo the interior, and have a mobility van for one fifth the price of a
    new van! And yes Adrian, I’d stiffen the springs and shocks to improve the
    handling.

    0
  8. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    Easy Peasy. Step 1: Win lottery. Step 2: Buy van. Step 3: Hand keys to ICON…

    0
  9. chad

    LAB3 –
    where do I find those parts you post as ‘wouldn’t be difficult to find’? Marine outfitters? camper ‘stores’?

    0
  10. chad

    Good link, but keeps going back to Jayco or an Indiana company when drilling down…I’m in MA.
    Thank you, I’ll keep lookin!

    0
  11. Bob C.

    Why only 210 horsepower? Most 318 s came standard with 230 during that time.

    0

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