If This Van's a-Rockin'
November 23, 2009 1:11 PM   Subscribe

posted by dersins (42 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Some additional photos (and some of the same ones) here.

posted by dersins at 1:15 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Quadraphonic sound, a waterbed, and now a strobe light.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:20 PM on November 23, 2009

Dingo balls, granny glasses, and .... oh, wow, dude.
posted by Drasher at 1:21 PM on November 23, 2009

These van owners are still rockin' and rollin' at camp outs and on the internet.
posted by vespabelle at 1:22 PM on November 23, 2009

crud, the link should go here to the vannin.com forum.
posted by vespabelle at 1:23 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Man, I wanted a van so badly back then.

I even wanted a model of a van. My brother wanted this Revell model kit for so long. When he finally got it I remember we all gathered around the box as he opened it. We were awestruck just looking at the parts on the plastic tree. It has a bed in the back, which we thought it was for, ya know, camping.

"Gentlemen, say 'hello' to The Second Base Mobile."
posted by bondcliff at 1:25 PM on November 23, 2009

A friend of mine saw a van sometime in the mid-70s that had an elaborate paint job on the sides showing a gleaming stairway leading from a bucolic meadow up into the sky and ending in the clouds. And on the back was a script reading "To Be a Rock and Not to Roll". You can bet there was a bed and a bong in the back.
posted by Ber at 1:42 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

Why so few windows? Was it a structural integrity thing? Did people not like light in the 70's? Or were 99% of econolines simply destined to haul drywall and power tools to job sites?
posted by GuyZero at 1:43 PM on November 23, 2009

Vans of the time were prone to rockin', guyzero.
posted by stavrogin at 1:50 PM on November 23, 2009 [5 favorites]

I guess it was also before Silence of the Lambs. *shudder*
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on November 23, 2009

posted by eyeballkid at 1:59 PM on November 23, 2009

Those pictures certainly bring back some memories. I had a VW Bus very similar to the "Very Green Vee Dub", except mine was "very orange". It worked harder in college than I did, that's for sure.

I still dream I'm out cruising around in it from time to time. Good friends, good wheels, good weed, good times.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:00 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

More van stuff previously.
posted by Kabanos at 2:03 PM on November 23, 2009

There were passenger vans (my Dad had one for hauling around a camper and a ton of Revolutionary War re-enactment gear), and then there were the commercial vans.

The commercial vans were more popular for customizing, because it offered more privacy in the back, an opportunity to use those cool tinted plexiglass portholes, and more surface area upon which to air-brush wizards and unicorns.

You also didn't need to rip out the seats and interior, so you could lay down some deep-pile "Acapulco orange" shag on virgin sheet metal...
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:08 PM on November 23, 2009

Commercial vans sometimes have more robust suspensions, too, which is important when you start adding water tanks and stuff.
posted by box at 2:42 PM on November 23, 2009


That's where you're wrong. Up until the Gas Crunch of 1980, you could look like the love child of Archie Bunker and the Phantom of the Opera, but with a painted van at your disposal, you'd still get some action, regardless. And if you didn't have the best weed in town, your ride would ensure such provisions would come your way as well. As hard as it is to understand by today's terms, mural-embossed vans were Party Shacks with tires.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:44 PM on November 23, 2009

If this vans a rockin don't bother knockin.
posted by pianomover at 3:09 PM on November 23, 2009

Gas grass or ass nobody rides for free.
posted by pianomover at 3:09 PM on November 23, 2009 [7 favorites]

In Japan, some vans of the Modern Era
posted by longsleeves at 3:10 PM on November 23, 2009

Sex instructor on board.
First lesson free
posted by pianomover at 3:12 PM on November 23, 2009

Meet Vandora, the SUPERVAN.

posted by JHarris at 3:47 PM on November 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

Meet Vandora, the SUPERVAN.

Was that Charles Bukowski at 1:08?
posted by telstar at 4:16 PM on November 23, 2009

Yes. Yes it was.
posted by Ouisch at 4:26 PM on November 23, 2009

I knew one of these well as a kid in the late '70s and early '80s. Powder blue, with a big airbrushed beach scene and a seagull flying into the sunset. The caption read Windjammer. Belonged to my grandfather.

Yup, that pretty much killed the cool dead for me as far as customized vans were concerned.
posted by gompa at 4:40 PM on November 23, 2009

A few of the van shots were borrowed from my Custom Van Flickr gallery, which I scanned from old copies of Custom Van magazine. Yes, there were several magazines that catered to van customizers.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 5:20 PM on November 23, 2009


car 21.

posted by mwhybark at 5:34 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Supervan clip is from Everything is Terrible. I hate how he says "van heaven" at one point, when the obvious pun is vanhalla. [ALSO HURF DURF MY VAN IS WHERE I'M A VIKING!]

These days, we need to use modern flexible LCD screen technology to bring van culture to the masses. I'd love to airbrush crap on the side of my PT Cruiser, or maybe a cheap pannel van I could get from a junk yard for less than the price of a good computer, but something about being able to change it with an upload sounds nicer.

Granted, it'd be apt to cause an accident as soon as people add animations.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:09 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

I hate to say it, but Japan is doing it all wrong. You're supposed to use just airbrushes and do a really crappy job, and keep it in the style of 1970's black velvet paintings. I was really hoping to see some truly awful Azumanga Daioh fan art put across a $300 piece of junk.

I know "fusion" is in these days, but enough is enough. No photorealism or wacky fiberglass extensions. Why not go ahead and make an El Camino without a truckbed while you're at it?
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:12 PM on November 23, 2009

The irony emissions on car 21 are off the chart. I feel compelled to leave a jokey review about it, and yet there is no box to type in...
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:14 PM on November 23, 2009

I saw this van and had to pull over to take pictures. Moonshiner.
posted by exogenous at 6:55 PM on November 23, 2009

This one is my favorite.
posted by bondcliff at 7:44 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

mccarty.tim: "I feel compelled to leave a jokey review about it, and yet there is no box to type in..."

I myself would be ever so pleased with a car 21 tee shirt.
posted by mwhybark at 7:53 PM on November 23, 2009

I used to drive a delivery van (ford econoline I think) for a summer job and they are surprisingly fun to drive. You sit up high and the steering wheel is like the kind in a bus. I kinda get the whole van thing.

here is one I would like to own -- Stout Scarab
posted by vronsky at 7:59 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sammy Johns - Chevy Van

(best singing Van video ever).
posted by ovvl at 8:20 PM on November 23, 2009

I wish I had run across this one: "There it was. Feynman's van, nose up against the wall, looking slightly battered but still with its decorative paintwork of Feynman diagrams."
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:32 PM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

Me? I had a 1976 babyshit brown Chevy van with a 350 small-block, fully camperized. I lived in it for a year while I worked my way across Western Canada.

These days I would only consider hiring an airbrush artist to customize my Mac instead. Times have changed, man.

Pass that doobie over first, though.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:43 PM on November 23, 2009

That yellow and brown Dodge van with the round window toward the back was not a custom van. It came from the factory that way.

Back then I wanted a custom van so bad it almost hurt. I did help a friend panel the interior of his Econoline with shag carpeting, though.
posted by lordrunningclam at 4:24 AM on November 24, 2009

I accessorized a lot of these throughout the 70s.

With my vomit.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:21 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

It wasn't a van, but at my (ghetto/magnet) high school there was a vato with an orange opalescent impala that always smelled like weed and had on the hood a picture of a giant virgin Mary presiding over an image of that car (you could tell because there was a tiny recursive image on the hood) jumping over the Earth while Jesus looked over her shoulder approvingly. Come to think of it I'm not really sure that he actually attended my school.
posted by cmoj at 8:36 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Two things all the 70s serial killers had in common...feathered hair and custom vans. They scared me back then, they scare me now.
posted by stormpooper at 8:44 AM on November 24, 2009

True story: I actually did see a van rockin' on its springs back in the late 80s, when I was out for a walk one evening; the thing that was startling was that the van wasn't parked in any sort of secluded spot but rather in a well-lit commercial area. I in fact did not knock, but merely stood there for a couple of minutes, marveling at the unknown couple's vigor as the vehicle oscillated, then went on my way, wishing sincerely that The Man did not come along and put an end to their fun.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:43 AM on November 24, 2009

Wanna customize my van, and I don't even own one.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:27 AM on November 30, 2009

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