1971 Resto-Mod Ford Econoline Sportsmobile Van Overland Upgrades


Even though strolling about the 2019 Adventure Van Expo in Tahoe, CA, I came across this amazing 1971 Econoline Sportsmobile, which I had only previously observed pics of periodically on line. I had hoped at 1 of these overland events I’d sooner or later run across this vintage van and fortunately my want was granted. Even much better, I also came across its owner, Joe Arlo (IG: @joearlo) who’s a super good guy and was pleased to do a video walkaround to share the background of his vintage overland Sportsmobile, dubbed the “808Van”.

808Van Background

Apparently, this Sportsmobile was 1 of the 1st Ford conversions the firm constructed. Conversing with Joe, he described “Sportsmobile largely constructed VWs in the 60’s. They definitely didn’t do also a lot of Fords till the late 70’s and early 80’s. I know of only two early 70’s Fords: mine and 1 owned by @72_smb”.

The nickname “808Van” comes from the region code in Hawaii exactly where the van was owned and situated for some time prior to Joe acquiring it. Even though in Hawaii, the physique &amp paint had currently been refurbished and the Sportsmobile was in decent shape general. “I definitely wanted to set it up as a resto mod so I could truly use it and have actual adventures with it take it down to Baja for a couple weeks that sort of thing” stated Joe. So that is the path he took.

joe arlo describing backround of his 71 sportsmobile and the overland upgrades

Joe providing a rundown of the history of the 808Van Sportsmobile

71’ Sportsmobile Mechanical Upgrades

Joe updated the powertrain with a new 370 hp 302 cu in. blueprinted V8 capped with aluminum heads, Edelbrock EFI and plumbed with an updated cooling program. The original 14 gallon fuel tank would have produced for frequent fuel pit stops, so tank capacity has been additional than doubled to 30 gallons.

An automatic overdrive transmission was added with a Dana Spicer 20 transfer case and a Dana 44 front axle. The van has a Dana 60 rear axle. four wheel disc brakes had been added, along with suspension airbags in the rear to enhance load stabilization.

Sportsmobile Interior

Because the van resided in Hawaii, Joe wanted to carry that theme more than to the interior. He mentions, “It’s type of got that vintage really feel, but with modern day functionality”. The interior as it had stood was in decent shape, but soon after searching at pics of the original interior, Joe absolutely took items to the subsequent level.

As far as the common layout, it is primarily based on Sportsmobile’s RB50 interior arrangement. Upholstery, curtains, and so forth had been all entirely updated, and carry these standard Hawaiian floral patterns. The flooring is bamboo and the cabinetry is produced out of beautifully completed koa wood. In terms of creativity, Joe went all out – even incorporating a true 50’s diner counter best with stainless sink that is lined with the standard smooth, soft aluminum trim you see. There is also a matching removable table produced of the similar.

sportsmobile rb50 interior layout van

Joe displaying us the gorgeous Koa wood cabinetry, topped with a true 50’s diner countertop – great!!!

The appear/really feel could be vintage, but absolutely not the functionality with the modern day amenities Joe added, like:

  • Isotherm fridge
  • 20 gallon freshwater tank, six gallon greywater
  • 300 amp hours of energy storage fed through solar on the roof
  • Incredibly slick Bluetooth LED mood lighting

Joe even had a neighborhood marine canvas shop custom fabricate a new Sunbrella canvas best for the 808van due to the fact the old 1 was a bit dated and musty.

The outcomes of Joe’s inventive talent and resto-mod updates  to his 808Van speak for themselves, taking what was currently a cool overland rig and producing it iconic. You can stick to Joe and the 808Van on his Instagram @joearlo or take a look at his internet site www.myreversecommute.com

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