Muscle Cars

The Classic Van: It Wasn’t Just About The Muscle.

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By Mark Weisseg

Back in the day, the van was the cool machine to have. When yours truly was in High school, we all dreamed of having a van. It was a blank canvas to make into anything you wished. Here’s how it was to be laid out to reach the coolness level.

First, you had to have shag carpeting from the front dash pad all the way to the rear doors. The van had to have a great stereo with a multitude of speakers throughout. You had to have a bed in the back and not necessarily a water bed. But, a bed was vital. You had to have the bumper sticker that said, ” if this van is a rockin don’t come a knocking”. You also had to have mag wheels and white letter tires and if you really wanted to knock it out of the park, have porthole smoked Windows on the side near the rear of the van. Engine size did not matter, transmission did not matter. It was all cosmetics and that is all it was.

I was one of those mad crazy teenagers that wanted one only I wanted one with a custom paint job.
I looked at the vans and added up what it would cost and I was not in the ball park. But, hail to the guys that could afford one. It was a craze that lasted a good number of years and the cosmetics got better and better, but by the time it hit its pinnacle, the faze was fading.

Today, in 2016 I see traces of vans again, but like anything else the improvements are dramatic.
GPS, Satellite stereo, air ride comfort, and a host of other improvements.
Will it ever come back to the rage that it was back in the late 60’s and 70’s? More than likely not, but clearly there is room for many types and styles of vans and especially the new style vans like the Ram Pro Master.
These days vans are bigger and more advanced. I just don’t see a big comeback in the near future.
With Rat Rods being so hot right now and other forms of artistry being expressed, the whole custom van scene from the DIY’ers may come back, just not in the same form as yesterday.

But, I gotta tell you, back in the day we had a load of fun in these mobile machines at the local drive in movies.

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