Don't be fooled by the fact that it's not, say, racing up the most dangerous road in China like the Hoonitruck. The Van-oonigan (that's what we're calling it), Hoonigan's 1969 Chevy P10 Step Van, holds its own among the plethora of nasty, beefy builds among the team's vehicles. Its existence as a hot-rodded, tire-roasting Hoonigan brand ambassador is pretty easy to defend, as it's the perfect tool from which to sell Hoonigan swag at shows and events. The goal of this (supposed) 28-day "Merch Van" project was to make this Pomona Swap Meet purchase simple, reliable, and able to do slightly idiotic stuff including burnouts and general mayhem.
BEHIND THE BUILD
In all actuality, this set of goals is easier said than done. In its original form, the Chevy step van was almost 50 years old and carried with it all the problems of an old vehicle: extensive body rust, an undercarriage crusted with half a century of crud, a so-so drivetrain, and outdated technology. Remedying these hurdles, combined with completely customizing the van, required hundreds of hours of body and chassis stripping, repairing, fabricating, welding, and attention to detail. The body spent lots of time off of the chassis, as that was the best way to work on both pieces. That meant countless test fits had to be done to ensure proper clearances. The completed Merch Van is nothing short of a masterpiece. Hoonigan documented the whole build process in seven episodes (almost three hours) of Garage Garage, Season 13, that just begins to touch the surface of how much work went into restoring and customizing the Merch Van at the Michael Cox Racing Shop in Riverside, California.
Since the Merch Van's factory 250ci inline-six engine (with only 26,000 miles) and three-speed manual transmission weren't going to cut it, in went a dyno-proven 400-hp GM LS6 engine backed by a B&M 4L80E transmission—proper powerplant for copious burnouts. A bounty of parts from Holley acted as the glue that allowed the van to roar to life: a polished mid-mount complete accessory system, a GM LS retrofit oil pan, a B&M Traveler 2000 torque converter, a Dominator EFI ECU, a Sniper EFI universal fuel-tank system, an EFI fuel system kit, an LS Hi-Ram EFI manifold, 120 lb/hr performance fuel injectors, "Chevrolet" script valve covers, a Pro Dash display, and a Frostbite LS swap radiator, to name a few. A Currie 9-inch rear end with 4.10 gears, a Detroit locker, and 35-spline axle shafts should hold up nicely during burnouts. You better believe the step van's body and firewall had to be sliced and diced to accommodate the new powerplant and accessories.
Since the P10's chassis was similar to that of the C-10, air bagging the Hoonigan Merch Van and laying as much frame as possible was on the must-do list. Air suspension added another layer of complexity to the build, but mounting the compressors and tanks could be done cleanly with the body off the chassis and the chassis stripped, cleaned, and coated with layers of STEEL-IT. The suspension system also included a four-link, panhard bar, and King Shocks.
The body of the 1969 Chevy P10 step van was completely stripped and sandblasted. For better or worse, this revealed a bunch of body rust that had to be repaired. The trick side window that flaps up had to be designed and fabricated. The body exterior was coated in STEEL-IT for a sleek, almost ominous finish. New glass and seals were installed, along with all the other goodies like lights and custom badges. The menacing wheels are Fifteen52's, and they complement the slick, sleeper-esque style of the build nicely.
The seats were out of a Mustang P-51 airplane, and they swivel. The back of the step van was outfitted with a custom rack to house gobs of Hoonigan merchandise. The dash had to be heavily reworked in order to accommodate Holley's 12.3-inch Pro Dash display (that monitors everything engine related), the shifter, and the air-ride switch panel
It's not the first or only Chevy P10 step van that's been heavily modified, but seriously, could there ever be such a thing as too many? We can't get enough of these builds, and can't wait to see the Van-oonigan out and slingin' Hoonigan product real soon!