We’ve featured our share of van to truck conversions, but haven’t previously encountered one based on the creatively named 1980s “Toyota Van.” This seems like a winning combination of weirdness and reliability.
For its annual Easter parade of awesomeness (the Easter Safari), Jeep created a Renegade-based Comanche pickup, which was revealed in 2016. Today’s feature is a replica, which appears to be well done.
This is easily the best-looking pickup ever made, and the Honcho package added 70s decals, roll bar and Levi’s interior to the mix. We love it, especially in these colors.
Most Datsun pickups from the 60s and 70s were standard, two-seat affairs with separate beds – much like almost every other pickup out there. There were a few oddballs, though, including the Sunny Ute we previously featured and today’s U620. This is the Ute version of the 620 pickup and arguably the coolest (and weirdest) Datsun pickup ever made.
Apparently, this is a one-off (or one of three?) promotional pickup and is well known among “Frazerphiles.” This vehicle even has its own Facebook page!
It seems Earl “Madman” Muntz (of Muntz Car Company) commissioned these in an effort to convince Kaiser-Frazer leadership to produce them. They never did, so no more were made. Frazer was a short-lived, upmarket attempt by Kaiser; so a unique Frazer is rare indeed!
The seller points out that there is no rust-through, but that the bed needs new wood. Apparently, this is powered by an inline six and features a column-shifted, three-speed manual. The engine is not stuck, but has not been started in a long time. Whomever takes on this project will have something really cool if they see it through to the end. Hopefully, some old photos exist to show its original condition and finishes.
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Dixon, NM, USA
$10,000 with ZERO bids and half a day to go
One can safely say this looks like nothing else out there. We like it!
All cleaned up, the chrome on this front end should be beautiful. We’d ditch the aftermarket wheels for steel and hubcaps, though.
Maybe these steelies would work? Note ornate rear bumper for pickup. No tailgate is included.
Floor pans look solid. We think the accelerator pedal goes on the right, unless the clutch is to the far left.
This truck has had recent press coverage.
This is an interesting truck, to say the least. The seller made some mods which, in theory, help fuel economy. This is not the usual pitch from the seller of an F-250 diesel, but the bio-diesel/veggie oil crowd is, well, different (and proud of it).
We’re not sure whether this truck is a nightmare or a dream. The seller put in a fair amount of effort trying to get every possible mile (or portion thereof) out of each gallon of bio-diesel. Mods include fender skirts, solid front wheel covers, “seal” between bed and cab, slanted bed cover and, apparently, a closed-off grill. We hope the truck still cool fairly well… Despite all of that, the upgrade from four-speed to five-speed trans with overdrive probably made the biggest difference.
This truck runs the International Harvester 6.9-liter diesel and, as mentioned, the seller runs bio-diesel – “professionally refined”, in this case, which probably means it’s not harvested directly from Long John Silvers or Popeye’s.
The truck runs right now, but has a miss and air in the radiator, which means, at a minimum, a head gasket. The seller also thinks it might need valve work. Here’s the seller’s statement:
“Valves and headgaskets are not expensive parts, and they are parts that will wear on any engine eventually, but the problem is they are buried deep in the engine, so a lot of pieces have to be removed in order to get to them. If you were to have this work done by a shop, expect to pay at least $2-3k.”
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Richmond, CA, USA
$2,125 with ZERO bids and five days to go
Note that fender skirts, bed “seal”, grill cover and, possible, clear tape over lights! Definitely no exterior sun visor here!
The rear fender skirt is especially glorious from this angle, as is the bed cover.
Overload much? We’re not sure whether the right outside bed side is painted or in primer – maybe this is an older photo?
This manual bed lift is included in the sale! Note also the various biodiesel decals.
We wonder about the aero vs. mass tradeoff here.
The seller highlighted so many things with red boxes that the emphasis is lost. Like we said, this truck is a bit of a hot mess. It’s all there, though.
Here’s the mighty diesel. No turbo here.
One of a kind machine.
I made some custom mods to improve fuel economy
Read more about it here:
or watch the video here:
Now for the big caveat: this truck needs some work.
It is running currently. It starts right away and has decent power. I’m still driving it regularly.
However, it is running uneven, with a slight tapping sound and smoking more than normal when it’s cold.
It has all new injectors, all cylinders are firing, and there is very little blow-by, so I suspect (at least) one exhaust valve (or seat) isn’t totally closing.
It is also getting pressurized air in the radiator, which means the head gasket is probably going bad. It is possible the head gasket is causing both issues.
Valves and headgaskets are not expensive parts, and they are parts that will wear on any engine eventually, but the problem is they are buried deep in the engine, so a lot of pieces have to be removed in order to get to them. If you were to have this work done by a shop, expect to pay at least $2-3k.
However, if you have the knowledge and time (2-4 days if you are experienced) to do the work yourself, you end up with an otherwise strong truck for a great price.
It has the original International Harvester 6.9L IDI (non-turbo) diesel engine.
For the last 12 years I have run it professionally refined biodiesel.
I replaced the stock 4speed transmission with a 5 speed (ZF5) (from the same model truck a few years newer) for better highway fuel economy.
Other mods include
– angled bed cover and wheel well covers for better aerodynamics,
– removed most engine belt loads (has manual steering, electric fan, electric brake boost and electric fuel pump)
– alternator cut-off switch and added solar panel and on-board 120V charger (plug it in at home, leave the alternator off, and get ~5-10% better MPGs),
– starter and kill switch on the shift lever (making it easier and safer to shut the engine in stop and go traffic and at long lights).
– LED driving and brake lights
All together I was able to raise MPG from about 15 to between 25 and 30 (depending on driving habits and loads)
– Detachable manual liftgate (lift up to 500lbs to bed height, using a drill or ratchet)
– all sizes of hitch ball including a full load leveling tow system
– sheet quick unloader system (for unloading soil etc) plus reversible bedliner mat (slick on one side, friction on the other)
– chilton manuals
– spare parts inc. the original brake booster vacuum and a full size spare tire
– big ol lugnut wrench and giant hubnut socket (for bearing/brake maintenance)
– Garmin GPS (with traffic updates)
– 15W solar panel and dual battery charger for its two (deep cycle) batteries
Old school quality and simplicity. The old Ford International Harvester IDI diesels were some of the most durable engines ever built, with many going half a million miles or more before a rebuild, and a few reported cases of a million.
How many miles are in this one, no one will ever know, because previous owners didn’t keep track of how many times the odometer turned over, and now it isn’t even hooked up.
It is an over 30 year old truck, so of course it has its share of quirks and issues, but when anything does have a problem, it is relatively easy to find and fix without a mechanic, as it has no computer, no turbo, no power anything (manual steering, manual locks, manual windows).
misc issues include:
– the synchros being somewhat worn on 3rd (doesn’t really matter if you shift slowly, and at the correct speed),
– the speedometer doesn’t work (I never got the adapter for the ZF5, I just use the one built in to the (included) GPS),
– the fuel gauge doesn’t work (its a dual tank, so when one gets low I just switch, and then I have ~400 miles to get around to filling the empty one),
– drivers seat is very worn, needs at least a seat cover, a new bench seat from pick’n’pull would be better
For over a decade I’ve used this truck to haul loads of furniture, building supplies, piles of soil, tons of broken concrete, and tow boats and trailers, including a 7500lb 35ft RV trailer (that I lived in at the time), and it has held its own, but I’m shifting gears in my business and don’t need something so large anymore.
That’s right, folks, 1997 represented the end of a glorious run for GM’s often-confused, import-based Geo brand. Does that make this a collectible? Probably not – especially considering the continuation of the Metro as a Chevrolet product for several more years. Today’s feature, however, isn’t really about brand heritage, it’s about yet another tiny hatch (AKA shitbox) turned into a pickup. If you think a Subaru Baja is just too practical, this might be the vehicle for you.
Small, FWD hatchbacks seem to make good pickups, or at least they tempt people into making them. We’ll venture to say that this one is pretty well done and the only issue we see is the lack of a folding tailgate. Given the diminutive size of the “bed” and the nature of the vehicle, however, we don’t imagine it holds the type of cargo that can’t be lifted over the sides.
Think past the custom work and this is a three cylinder, manual Metro with 118K miles, which means it’s barely broken in. The seller has provided good pics and info, including some “in progress” pics from the build. We respect that.
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Redlands, CA, USA
From a distance, the profile is vaguely similar to the Metro convertible.
Here, things look a little different. Though we partially lament the lack of opening gate, the rear panels are pretty well done.
Chrome exhaust tip is a nice touch, but may over promise.
Here’s a look inside the bed. You could probably get a few bags of fertilizer (or “bags of sand”) in there. A beer keg might even fit.
Hopefully, the taillight lenses can be removed from the outside, as they’re not reachable from the inside at this point.
Pep Boys seat covers usually mean shredded seats, but the rest of the interior looks pretty good.WeatherTech (or imitation?) mats fit with the pseudo-rugged image.
In case you were wondering, the spare is behind the front seat. The builder even finished the panel with carpet, which is better than what most do.
This little beast actually came with a tach!
Here’s the three cylinder in all its glory.
And…here’s one of the in-progress pics.
One of a kind, 1997 Geo Metro customized into a truck. Bedliner, custom back glass, two tone paint, chrome wheels, 80% tire life, low miles, new spark plugs, starts & runs great, 40 MPG, awesome gas mileage. Current registration, ready to drive.
Well, it’s free if you never want to register it. Should you choose to do so in California, you’ll owe $665 in back registration fees. Still, this looks like a parts van to us, but some ambitious individual might try to finish it as a truck…
“Pull the transaxle for me and you can take the whole thing for parts or make a truck out of it.”
And, only in the final line is the van’s current state mentioned:
“And the back has been cut to start a truck conversion.”
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San Diego, CA, USA
Someone with a project van might find plenty of good, used parts here, but don’t expect like-new condition.
It looks like someone tried to separate the “cab” from the “bed” – possibly with canvas. We’re not sure whether that sliding door still slides.
Front end just shows a tired, faded Vanagon in need of love.
And…here’s more of the handiwork. We’re not sure how (or whether) the “converter” intended to finish it out, but it does look like hinges were welded onto what’s left of the hatch to make it swing open.
Free 1983 VW Vanagon
Pull the transaxle for me and you can take the whole thing for parts or make a truck out of it.
I just need the transaxle.
It doesn’t have any paperwork.
It owes $665 in back registration as of last week.
And the back has been cut to start a truck conversion.
Do you love both the recent VW Golf/Rabbit and the old school VW Caddy? Someone loved both and decided to make a tribute. Sadly, the result is much less functional vs. a hatchback or an original Caddy.
The seller claims to have over $70K invested in this vehicle and we can almost believe it. Fans of odd engines will be please to learn this is a five-cylinder version and fans of poor management will be further pleased that this is from the brief era where renaming the Golf as the Rabbit was the answer to the age-old question of how to make VW a major volume competitor in the US market without actually listening to the market. Given the car is called Golf once again, it’s safe to say that didn’t turn out well.
Underneath it all is a 72K mile Rabbit which claims to have an automatic trans, but with a picture possible showing manual shifter. The seller even includes a picture of a fabricated Monroney label claiming this to be an original 2009 Caddy. We wouldn’t brandish that label in from of Federales…
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$2,075 with seven bids, reserve no met and four days to go
This gives you a great combination of odd styling and compromised passenger AND cargo space!
Even the front angle is odd here. Moon discs and whitewalls are nice, though.
Yes, this is still weird from a low angle.
Yes, a true tailgate was fabricated. I’m not sure I’d sit on it, though.
Bed’s thick walls limit space, as does the “cage” structure. Does that go through the wood to attach to metal, or are those rubber caps on the ends??
Only one decent interior shot is included, and it’s at an odd angle. Nardi wheel is an interesting choice, as are racing-type seats with harnesses.
Recreated Monroney label is of highly questionable legality!
2009 VW Rabbit Caddy Lux
The body conversion was done by Luxmotorwerks in Keyport NJ.
All work performed was done first class. The car has been in numerous magazines and shows.
Custom 2.5 header w/ custom exhaust.
All custom suspension w/ B&G coilovers
Due to the body conversion the air bags are none functional
In the pictures there is a list of everything done to this car, There is over $70,000 invested….I WANT THE CAR GONE!!!!!!
I will make someone a HELL OF A DEAL.
Please call or message for more info.