One Family Owned: 1969 Dodge A108 Van

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

It’s amazing how many times the basic formula of “forward control” was used in vans from the 1960s all the way through the current day. While many casual observers may be shocked to see an engine nestled near the front seats, this was hardly an uncommon occurrence when vehicles like this 1969 Dodge A108 van were new. This example is said to have recently exited one family ownership and you’ll find it here on eBay with a few bids and the reserve unmet. 

The body is tired but rust is said to be limited, and the original black plates give you a sense for how long this worker-grade van has been hiding out near Homeland, California. Now, the seller does note there is evidence of some bondo work and that the van has been repainted, so don’t expect to find a completely solid survivor underneath the amateur paint job. Rust is noted in that repaired area by the front right headlight and in the rear of the roof.

Up front, what looks like an original radio and uncracked dash await the next owner. With my HiAce van project home, I can attest it is a bit unusual to be sitting over the front wheels, and you certainly want to exercise caution when entering roundabouts too quickly! The seller notes that there’s lot of original Mopar-stamped details with this A108, such as the original radiator and plug wires still with the van when he took ownership.

Fortunately, some of those original parts have been swapped out for new equipment, including the radiator and master cylinder, and the brakes and carb have been refreshed as well. It needs a new gas tank and the seller notes it is currently running off gas cans, but seems to run well despite the temporary fuel delivery arrangement. Would you restore this Dodge to poverty-spec form or convert it to a fully-dressed camper?

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  1. Ken Carney

    Could really use this for a wheelchair van as I have multiple family members
    that use motorized wheelchairs to get around. All I’d need to do is beef up
    the floorboards to handle the weight of multiple chairs. Then, add a folding
    manual ramp to move the chairs in snd out. Manusl ramps bypass all the
    hydro electric stuff that wears out and costs a lot of cash to fix. All that would come after the brake snd fuel systems were sorted out and the van
    was made safe to drive again. Might add a/c and electric power steering
    to make it more comfortable to drive daily. That would be about it for now,
    I really like this van! Great post!

    • Miguel

      How would somebody in a wheel chair drive this van?

      The engine compartment is right in the middle and the drivers seat is over the front wheel well.

      • Paulbz3

        I believe Ken is referring to transport of people in wheelchairs not driving. While it would seem to make some sense, two important factors would make Ken’s idea prohibitive depending on the age and size of the person in the wheelchair. Most adults in power wheelchairs tend to be about 55” + in height when sitting in their chairs. The side door is probably only 48” or so and interior height in the van is probably under 52” or so. The back door is a little taller but the interior height is still a factor that needs to be checked. The other problem is the height of the van floor is probably 20” or so from the ground. To get an average size person in a wheelchair up and into the van would mean that you’d need a bi-fold ramp 8 to 10 feet in length to allow an angle of entry that would be manageable for attendant and wheelchair passenger. There are companies that make them so that part is doable. The only way to get more headroom inside is to raise the roof and I doubt you’ll find any available for a vehicle this old unless you take one off a similar donor vehicle. If those issues can be overcome please install a wheelchair securement system including a lap and shoulder belt for the wheelchair passenger. While you’re at it, you should probably install a lap and shoulder belt for the driver too! FWIW….

    • Jason

      These are cool. But after you add all that stuff, you would lose so much power from a straight 6 without any power to lose, yeah, there goes all that fun I spoke of!!

  2. Miguel

    I have one of these on the list of cars I want to buy.

    It is a 1969 model A108 window van with a 318 V8 and the dash shifted automatic.

    The seller says the rear end has a hum, but all of my Mopars have that.

    I don’t think it has any rust and he wants a little under $2,000 USD.

    I picture removing the seats, putting 2 inch thick padding and carpeting the rear area. Maybe I will make a bed in the back.

  3. Steve R

    Why does the seller even try to make a case that this van has 11,000+ miles. He ruins his credibility by doing so. If he claimed the mileage was unknown he’d probably get more, and higher bids.

    Steve R

  4. Rube Goldberg Member

    Had a friend with a van like this, only a V8 automatic. It was a rough vehicle to drive or ride in. Steering funky, lousy brakes, poor handling,( heaven help you in winter) Hot/cold, hard to work on( although, the 6 looks easier). The Tradesman was such a vast improvement over these.

  5. Moparmann

    As shown in the picture above, the “doghouse” around the engine was fully removable, making repairs a snap, w/ the added benefit of being inside if the weather was lousy. The steering box was adjustable, if needed, to adjust for play. Engine swaps could be made through the side cargo doors. I’ve posted pix of my 340 V8 swapped A-100 here before. Many good trips and times in it! 🙂

    • leiniedude

      Great looking van Moparmann! Gotta be hard keeping back tires on her. The wheels and rack really add to the good looks. Take care, Mike.

  6. Mike R

    Cool looking ride, and you’d have something unique for a car show.

  7. Thomas Long

    While I can’t say that the slant six has trouble getting out of its own way, downhill, and with a tailwind. It is slightly better than that… but if you plan on hauling anything look for a V8 or preplan to swap one in.
    Two of my best friends and I used to buy vans from the telephone company, the older ones we could pick up 3-4 vans for as little as $500-$700 bucks for the lot. The worst one would become the parts donor and we would clean up the others, build a bed in the back, install a stereo with some 6×9 speakers, and a quick trip to MAACO and flip them from $500-$700 a piece.
    It didn’t take long before someone with deeper pockets than us kids bid us right out of business. I was only 16 but had a blast. The Chevy vans sold the best and anyone that was around back then remembers the song but probably not much else, as it was the 70’s! 😉

  8. Royal

    You would think Chrysler would bring back this body design like they did with the Challenger rather than the god aweful Fiat work vans they now sell.

  9. JimZ Member

    Back in the 70’s, I owned a 1965 A100 Pickup truck with the slant 6 and 3 on the tree. Never could resolve it’s overheating problem. Aside from being my ‘first’ pickup truck, it was pretty much a dud. Have owned several pickup trucks since then, all better!

  10. leiniedude

    Ended: Mar 16, 2018 , 11:34AM
    Winning bid:US $3,100.00
    [ 16 bids ]


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