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The Van

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Webpage Created 20/05/05
Webpage Updated 29/08/05
Views 7542
Username vanman (0)ModeratorUser has feedback score under 5
Name Ray Webb Snr
Location sydney (NSW)
Website URL
Contact Details See my user details...
Hi All, This is my 1977 CL Panel Van , powered by the legendary 340 small block , it now runs into a shift kitted 904 transmision with 2200 stall, 3.23 sure-grip diff .
Although the van is used for daily duties it has been known to do a few trips down the strip , best ET at present is 14.021 @ 99.5mph, something i wish to change in the near future.sure will be glad to push it into the 13's.
The Van has a long family history as i purchased it off my Dad over 11 years ago and he had it for at least 10 years , the original owner was actually my driving instructor when i was a lad (too many years ago ) . Junior tells me its a family heirloom and that one day he's gunna get it, He'll probably put a big block into it!! with a couple of hair dryers to boot!!!!
Anyway thats" the van" hope you like it!!

Ride Articles

1977 CL Panel Van

In original form this van came from the factory with the 245 column shift 3 speed manual, bench seat, it was a Poverty Pack, I purchased it from my dad who had fitted a console floor shift and Borg Warner 35, fitted regal bucket seats to it, and an LPG system., One of the first things I did was to fit the CL Regal front apron, as I love the big chrome front look.
I then came across a Sports Pack Panno that had been stored inside a container for several years, it was a genuine sports pack, Semi dismantled, and had a genuine 105,000k's.
This gave me 318 V/8, Torqueflite 904 transmission, dual exhausts, 2.92-1 sure-grip diff, rear sway bar, sports pack dash (tacho with black face), 3 spoke steering wheel, Charger seats, side windows, interior rear light, Hella driving lights, all this and more for a lousy $300 bucks.
The engine was put onto a stand and thoroughly cleaned, inside the water jackets was encrusted in sludge, after cleaning it all out and repainting it, the engine and all the other parts were transferred over to my van, including cutting out the side panels to fit the side windows, this was a very hard thing to do, cutting out a panel was scary as i hadn't done anything like that before but i did make a template from the donor van and it all worked out well and in hindsight was actually pretty easy.
Although I had the Charger seats from the sports pack, i did not use them, I had found a pair of Datsun seats for $20 at a swap meet in Wollongong, and found them to be better suited to me, they are not as thick in the back and allow the seat to go back more to give better arm distance to the steering wheel. The whole interior was then retrimed including a mattress in the rear. lucky my cousin did this for me for a very reasonable price.
This combination lasted me for many years with only minor variations, you know the usual add on stuff to make things go better, or look prettier, extractors, four barrel, cd player, amplifiers, that sort of stuff. But in all that time the old 318 never had any more than the heads removed, the bottom end was still intact when it was removed from the van.
Why was it removed? You ask!!

340, say it to yourself, 340, it just rolls off the tongue.
There really is something special about a 340, believe it or not I had purchased this 340 with original bore (I measured it) to be put into a E48 Charger that I owned at the time, I was going to make the next generation R/T out of it, 340, 4 speed, E48 big diff, special stripes etc etc, well that didn't happen as I sold the Charger to a good mate ( The late Frank Steadman, the Charger is now in posession of Franks Brother Pat who is bringing it back to its former glory). But that left me with the 340 and what to do with it.
About that time there was some interest within our club towards doing some drag racing nights, I believe there was some sort of challenge from one of the Holden clubs, so my good neighbour and I rebuilt the 340 and a 727 Torqueflite to mate up to it, the 340 was original bore, but had had a gudgeon pin clip fail and one gudgeon pin had scored one of the bores, all the rest measured up at 4.039 ď actually .001Ē under spec. The rebuild was to .030Ē oversize. The big port heads (2.02 &1.60) had been opened up in the inlets only and I port matched the inlet manifold to suit (Holly Street dominator single plane), this manifold was used because it sits low and I was still running the LPG system, (and still am), clearance to the bonnet was required to fit the gas system to the carby and this manifold worked out well.
The drag race night actually was a bit of a fizzer, many of our guys turned up, Luke, Scott, Garry, Etc, but very few from the other clubs, but it did have an effect on me, I LOVED IT!!! from that night on I was hooked, and I raced almost every street meet for 18 months, the best ET at that time was 14.286, that was running 3.23-1 rear with AVGAS, which at the time was readily available, but it didnít matter what times I ran, I just loved to drag race. Although it did cost me many nights of repairs, TheVan would launch out of the hole very hard and under 2 seconds 60 foot times were the norm, but this was hard on the driveline, resulting in many broken diffs, bent and broken axles etc.and many late nights repairing it all.
As a regular attendant at the Street Machine Summernats, I was keen to do the Go to Whoa with this combination, this event is a 100 meter dash and requires you to stop exactly on the marked finish line in the shortest time, after a run of 8.9 seconds I had qualified for the top 50, and Sunday morning eliminations I scored an 8.25sec run WOW!! I had made it into the Top Ten, finished up with a final run of 8.54sec and 5th outright, I was stoked!! Especially as most of my kids were there cheering me on, A great feeling.
Times change, and a house move made it hard to get to the drags, I missed it, and only recently have had a little more opportunity to do these things. But at the time the best it was getting was around 14.5 seconds. The CAVOA had organised a drag day at WSID in conjunction with one of the Ford clubs, and in preparation I removed the trusty 727 and replaced it with a 904 I rebuilt and fitted with a shift kit, But I was worried that the carb I was running was too small, so I fitted a Big Holley double pumper, that will get the fuel into the old girl!! After the first 2 runs at that meet 14.6 seconds, I ripped the double pumper off and refitted the original carb, then went out to run a 14.2 second pass, I was very happy with that, for it had been about 4 years since I had run those times, By the end of that day and 23 runs later I had got it down to 14.021 seconds and 99.5 mph terminal speed, I wrang the old girls neck trying so hard to gain that elusive 22 thousands of a second, and half a mile an hour, to no avail!!, so thatís the next goal.!!! A 13 second pass at 100 mph, and then the 340 gets pulled!!!
Whats next!!

Well the van is starting to give me grief , ,its getting a little oil in the cooling water , not trans oil either, but its running well all the same,maybe one last chace to get those times Iím after before we have to pull it out!!!!
Iím not bored with it but need to do something Iíve wanted to do for a long time and that is to put the 340 into an AP6 that we have had for many years, this AP6 was Jennyís for many years and then we gave it to my daughter and she had it for about 5 years and then she gave it back to me,Its been a great car and is fitted with a 30thou oversize VE motor , with full re-trimmed interior, the plan for the AP is to fit the 340 with 904 and shortened to fit CL diff , sure-grip of course , late model stud pattern all round, I have a complete re-trimmed VC V/8 interior ready to fit , much of the wiring will be from late model and will be fitted with late steering column and a custum dash , a nice paint job, nothing fancy but I like the idea of 2 tone but have not decided on the final colours yet! This one will be my fun car .
As for the panno well its going to get detuned as I drive it too much , we have a 265 ex cop motor that will be rebuilt , itís a torque-flite block so the 904 will bolt straight up , it will be hard to get used to the power difference , but we will do a few little things to the 265 to help it along , since I run LPG most of the time we can bump up the compression to help things out .
Anyway thatís the plan at the moment , Iíll let youís know as things change as they invariably do. LOL

340 ci small block, +.030".
Holly 650 Vac Sec,
Holly Street Dominator intake port matched,
Pacemaker extractors port matched.

Torqueflite 904,shift kitted with 2200 stall convertor.

3,23-1 sure-grip .

Cheviot Triton 14x7 F, 14X8 R .

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