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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
2283 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2012 :  23:25:27 Show Profile Visit melle's Homepage Reply with Quote
As requested by some of you, here we go with a project thread on my 95 V4 van conversion. Yes indeed, I'm a bit van-mad: http://www.saab-v4.co.uk/speedball/topic.asp?topic_id=2078 You might have seen some of the pics before elsewhere on the forum.

I got this '77 95 V4 for free couple years ago. The car was partially dismantled and the owner had to get rid of it because he couldn't afford the space any more he'd rented for its restoration. I had the car transported from the South of the Netherlands to my workshop in the North with the intention of breaking it.



Interior and bumpers weren't included:



It came with some spares as a bonus though:


The car was on very good tyres on powder coated rims, so these went straight onto another 95 I had back then. On further inspection I found it was fitted with a VeGe engine (1500 HC) and a reconditioned gearbox. These went in my 96. I had the car on the lift the day before I planned to break it and found it to be pretty solid over all. This made me decide not to break it, but convert it into a panel van instead. I've always wanted to have one of those, but as they're pretty rare and I'm a poor fella the real deal has never been an option for me.

I decided to stay true to the style of the original vans (1969/ '70) and fit it with chrome bumpers. But since for the rest of it it's not original anyway, I thought I'd make it exactly as I want it: with a heightened roof and MK I/ II Ford Escort van rear doors.

Conversion sketches:








Mock fit heightened roof:


For practical reasons (mostly lack of time) I finally decided against heightening the roof, so I'm only closing off 3 out of 4 side windows and converting the interior.

Most of the structural welding (mostly floor) is done and the inside is starting to take shape:




I have an overhauled V4 for it and a gearbox with only 17k kilometres. Couple weeks ago I found a set original van-seats in Finland (hope to find a way to get them southward). Progress on this project has always been slow and will also be slow in the future, since I used to live in Amsterdam, Aberdeen and now in Aarhus, Denmark and my workshop in in Groningen (NL).

More to follow!

1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V

john-saab
Administrator

United Kingdom
2650 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2012 :  09:26:23 Show Profile Reply with Quote
I will be following this one with much interest as I may well turn my yellow car "The flying banana" into a van.

'72 95 (The Flying Banana),'72 96 (Bridget),'74 95 (Veronica)
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Dirtbiker
V4 Mad

United Kingdom
570 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2012 :  07:55:45 Show Profile Visit Dirtbiker's Homepage Reply with Quote
Good stuff Melle!
I like the raised roof idea but I know what you mean about time.
I have always thought about a 95 pick up truck but as I understand it that is now difficuclt to do over here because of the SVA test (I think...?)
Look forward to seeing this progress.
Gareth
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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
2283 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2012 :  21:36:03 Show Profile Visit melle's Homepage Reply with Quote
October last year I started repairing the right hand side front inner wing that has been damaged in a collision. The 'new' panel is now aligned correctly, the bit between the new panel and the door is still deformed. Not the easiest piece to reshape, but the rest of the car is still perfectly straight, so it's worth the hassle.






Last week I made panels to close off the side windows. They look a bit off in the photo, that's because they're not yet attached to the car:

My initial plan was to make a CAD drawing and have the panels water jet cut. But last weekend I was caught by a rush of enthusiasm, so I just traced the original glass on a sheet of galvanised 1,5mm steel, cut the panels out and shaped them on the disc sander. My idea was to weld them in, but I changed my mind to glueing them, this will minimise the risk of deformation.

I think I'm going to keep the window behind the passenger door (that's right hand side ). Might be handy there, since the mirrors are crap. I have a very cool (but still not very good) double face van mirror for the passenger side, might try how that works. These were used on Dutch postal vans in the '70's and '80's:




1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
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96er
V4 Fan

118 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2012 :  03:31:04 Show Profile Reply with Quote
What is that hiding in the corner under the seat cushions?...
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Derek
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
1782 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2012 :  12:19:33 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Well progress is progress but it looks as if your "new" front corner will have to come out again? Having a front hinged bonnet does make things difficult but fixing it back in place will help to get everything square again. Maybe fit the wing too. John-Saab did a similar repair to Veronica. I think he would have liked the Verona Green section that you used. Pics on his thread if you search.
Yes, I know you know this............

Looking good though. The little Daf's are nice.

Edited by - Derek on 13 Mar 2012 12:23:13
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UK_Sub
Moderator

United Kingdom
2109 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2012 :  13:12:22 Show Profile Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 96er
What is that hiding in the corner under the seat cushions?...



Ah, you mean this...

looks like a Morris Minor to me?
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john-saab
Administrator

United Kingdom
2650 Posts

Posted - 13 Mar 2012 :  18:43:02 Show Profile Reply with Quote
I think it's a Minor as well..an early one at that.
If another inner wing section like that turned up I would still have it..i'm not that happy with my home made effort..the indicator doesn't sit right due to a bit of mis-calculating the final fitting..it will do though.
This is coming on great..I like the side panels and gluing them in is a much better idea..when painted they will look smoother than welded panels.

'72 95 (The Flying Banana),'72 96 (Bridget),'74 95 (Veronica)

Edited by - john-saab on 13 Mar 2012 18:46:23
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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
2283 Posts

Posted - 14 Mar 2012 :  12:01:48 Show Profile Visit melle's Homepage Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 96er
What is that hiding in the corner under the seat cushions?...

It's my father in law's late fifties ('57- '58?) Minor. He's had it since the early sixties, drove it for about ten years and it's been awaiting restoration ever since...

quote:
Originally posted by Derek
Having a front hinged bonnet does make things difficult but fixing it back in place will help to get everything square again.
The new panel is aligned and exactly mirrors the opposite side. I used the body measurements table from the factory shop manual and straight edges, cords and finally the panels and the bonnet to check the job.

I've been stupid enough though not to remove the spring before starting to cut the panel... Luckily I got the tip through the Dutch forum to remove the spring in order to stop it from distorting the panel even more. Did that yesterday morning before I went home:


Back in Denmark now, but hopefully Easter will give me some time off to at least complete the welding on the front wing!

1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
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96er
V4 Fan

118 Posts

Posted - 14 Mar 2012 :  16:14:56 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Ah yes, I should have caught that, as I have long had a soft spot for Morris Minors!
I especially like the old ones with the split windscreen.
Seems I like everything old except my girls...

By the way... I am very lucky to live in a dry climate where rust is almost never an issue, and
I really have to admire you guys who have the fortitude to do this surgery on the structure.

Bravo!

Edited by - 96er on 14 Mar 2012 16:23:47
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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
2283 Posts

Posted - 22 Apr 2012 :  19:22:57 Show Profile Visit melle's Homepage Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by melle
It's my father in law's late fifties ('57- '58?) Minor.
I learned it's a '55. No news on my 95.

1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
2283 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2012 :  22:56:40 Show Profile Visit melle's Homepage Reply with Quote
Holiday update!

Wing now fully welded:


The bent support bar already suggested further damage to the front:


I fortunately have a workshop manual with a body measurements table, a 96 for comparison and professional alignment tools (the car stands levelled on supports):

I've cut the bar, aligned the wing and the tower and welded it back together. The nose is now completely back on track, in the front area there's only some minor welding work left on the corners of the front valance. Around the suspension towers there's nearly no rust. Next year I'm going to replace the rotten rear floor and there's a small hole left where the floor meets the firewall under the clutch pedal (that's to the left. ). Hopefully next summer all welding will be done.

When I got bored with panel welding, I've proceeded with the interior. I've decided to create a third (foldaway) seat behind the passenger seat. A part of the cargo floor folds up and is secured with a metal safety support. There will also be a two point safety belt for this seat. I've made sure the seat meets all RDW (Dutch VOSA) safety rules for its model year. The window next to the extra seat will be kept.



Then I've made a start on scrap ply moulds for the wall panelling. The final interior panels will be done with new plywood.



I've welded a tip-up crate rack for the left side wall. If the rack is folded away, the room between the wheel housings will be free from floor to roof (for example to transport an engine on a pallet). On the left hand side wheel housing a 12V>230V inverter and 12V and 230V sockets will be installed. The car will also have a second battery.


Last but not least I've dropped off some metal at the zinc coater's. Job, as ever, very well done:



1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
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Derek
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
1782 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2012 :  23:21:30 Show Profile Reply with Quote
The "support bar" is bent like that to clear the battery. RHD has it on the other side.
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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
2283 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2012 :  23:57:36 Show Profile Visit melle's Homepage Reply with Quote
Really? It was straight on all the other 96/95's I have/ have had ('70/ '74/ '75), just checked pictures. Maybe it was only bent on the later models? Anyway, the front of this car was warped at the right hand side but is now straight again.

1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
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UK_Sub
Moderator

United Kingdom
2109 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2012 :  09:57:00 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Looking great, really good to see progress on this, I really like the thought that's gone into all the details!

Simon
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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
2283 Posts

Posted - 06 Aug 2012 :  11:19:00 Show Profile Visit melle's Homepage Reply with Quote
Thanks! I'm a product designer, so messing about designing details is my daily job!

1970 96V4 "The Devil's Own V4"
1977 95V4 van conversion project
1988 900i 8V
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