People Haulin’

140715_Honest_0003Darrell Passer probably uses the same logic as the rest of us, anything can become a cool hot rod. When he stumbled on this former New Mexico Ambulance, he was looking for a simple project with wheels. What he didn’t know was just how solid this van would turn out to be.

The 1969 model Sportvan 90 needed little other than way more horsepower and a loving owner, and Darrell aimed to please. After some cross-member fiddling, a stock 5.3 LS transplant would be just the ticket to smokey burnouts and reliability. Darrell mated the LS to a rebuilt 4L60E transmission and pushed it out through the stock 3:36 10 bolt rear. At well under 4,000 pounds and with near perfect weight distribution, the Sportvan was starting to live up to its name. Darrell fab’d a nice X-pipe exhaust, added an AC/heater unit and has proceeded to run this van all over the country. He says it’ll knock out 20-21mpg if and only if, he can keep his foot out of it. Good luck with that, by the way. At idle, it makes virtually no noise at all, and speaks right up with a blip of the throttle.The van rolls on bone-stock wheels and caps with small whitewall radials rounding out the sleeper look. If you missed the side exhaust exits, you’d probably just assume it was a really clean survivor, which it kinda is. Not a single rust repair was made during the restoration, it’s still 100% factory metal throughout.

140715_Honest_0020Vans are making a good comeback these days, and Darrell’s shorty-LS-Sportvan makes us jealous of all the fun he’s already having in his. Thanks guys for stopping by the shop and letting us climb all over this killer ride!

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  1. Darrell Passer on July 15, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks for the compliments gentlemen!

    As always, Mike and the folks at Honest Charley’s are the greatest when it comes to their vast knowledge of the products they sell. Couldn’t ask for nicer folks!

  2. Marvin Walker on July 16, 2014 at 5:17 am

    Darrell’s van takes “cool” to the “max”! He trys to live up to his last name… passer! 🙂

    • Darrell Passer on August 10, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Thanks Marvin!

  3. JJ Shire on July 16, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Very cool van Darrell!! Love the sleeper look with the cartoon passengers!

    • Darrell Passer on August 10, 2014 at 7:24 pm


  4. Charlene (Johnson) Wikholm on July 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Darrell it was fun looking at all you did to this van. I remember you as your dad was right next door to my dads shop. A&F Implement in Elbow Lake. If your ever in Elbow Lake, look us up. Where in NC are you. Char

    • Darrell Passer on August 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      Good to hear from a long lost friend. We’re living in La Grange, NC. About sixty miles east-southeast of Raleigh.

  5. Bev Bowers on July 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    This is beyond cool! Darrell is very talented !

    • Darrell Passer on August 10, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks Bev!

  6. john vear on July 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    with the sanitary execution of his various modifications, darrell has a van which could pass for “factory original”. well, almost pass for “factory original” (wink, wink).

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