Fantastic photos from a 1970s-80s SoCal custom van club

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These are great pictures. I’ve always loved vans. It took a while to convince my wife to get a van, and she ended up loving it. They are so utilitarian for families like us. Sadly it was totaled in a big storm.




Krieger Approves!



Ahhhh, the ol’ “Shaggin’ Wagon.”

I never owned one, but boy, it was a real delight seeing these rolling canvasses slowly making their way down the 405.

I even wrote a tune about ‘em back then with the refrain,
“They say I ain’t half a man, ‘cause I don’t drive a painted van.”


In the early 90s, and twice on the 101 freeway (SoCal), I observed a particular VW van that had a shallow square planter attached to the top of its cabin. It ran from the upper edge of the windshield to roughly the location of the driver’s seat and spanned the width of the van. It was filled with plastic flowers.

Same time period: Observed another VW van on the 101, this one even more aerodynamically-challenged than ‘flower van’. Its entire outer surface (not the windows!) was covered with toy trumpets of various sizes.

Early 90s. No cellphones with camera capabilities. Sorry.

Alas, chronologically impossible for any to have images from the Neverending Story movie.

i always wonder where such vans are now. they can’t all be destroyed and gone, can they? i like to think they are quietly sitting in someone’s garage here or there, half-forgotten, awaiting discovery again.

My friend’s dad was a Van Man who had a nice, chocolate brown Chevy. He had a side business sandblasting beautiful designs on other van enthusiast’s windows.

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That’s what I came here for.
Also, Exit: Van Left, Vanispheres, and Caress of Krieger.

Not mention…Van


Where are all the wizards at?

'Cause like a princess she was laying there
Moonlight dancing off her hair
She woke up and took me by the hand
We made love in my Chevy van
And that’s all right with me

I mean looking at pictures like this needs a proper soundtrack.

Ever since enormous SUVs became a thing, I’ve felt a sense of nostalgia for the giant, fuel-inefficient vehicles of my youth… because at least people were personalizing them in weird and wonderful ways, in large numbers, back then. Also, if you have to take an 18 hour car trip, isn’t it best to be sitting in a plush captain’s chair, surrounded by carpeting, fake wood paneling, and tinted windows? That’s not even counting the dragon/wizard on the side…

Oh man,

There was a van like this around the corner from my house that had bubble windows, and a huge painting of a totally ripped aztec priest about to sacrifice a white clad super busty (and strangely fairly pale) woman on top of a step pyramid.

Didn’t actually know the person who drove it, but it definitely was a “shaggin wagon”, and I imagine was fully shag carpeted on the inside.


See also:

Vansploitation is a term used for a genre of American independent films from the 1970s in which vans are a “key element to the plot”, and that often feature comedic stories about college-age people.[1] The short-lived[2][3] genre emerged in the United States in the early 1970s, exploiting the popularity of vans with young people, was very popular in the mid to late 1970s, and disappeared in the early 1980s. Vansploitation films were originally made mostly for young audiences. Blue Summer (1973) is credited as the first film of the genre which continued with films like The Van (1977)[4] and Van Nuys Blvd. (1979), the latter having been called “the most technically competent Vansploitation film”.[5]

Important examples

Coffman names six films as “essential texts” for the vansploitation genre:[4]

1973: Blue Summer (aka Love Truck ), directed by Chuck Vincent

1976: C.B. Hustlers , directed by Stu Segall

1977: The Van , directed by Sam Grossman

1977: Supervan , directed by Lamar Card

1978: Mag Wheels (aka Summer School ), directed by Bethel Buckalew

1979: Van Nuys Blvd. , directed by William Sachs


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