DECEMBER 8, 2011: A LOOK BACK IN TIME – WHEN BOOGIE VANS WERE KING OF THE SEVENTIES

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I just got rid of a full sized 1987 van that I owned for the past 3 1/2 years.

 

The van was simply a viable means of transportation for me, but there was a time when a full-sized van made you a star.

 

That time was the 70s and custom vans were rolling party wagons that served that decade’s young male drivers very well.

 

The Arab oil embargo had temporarily suspended street performance vehicles and their replacements were flashy vans with wild paint and large murals on their massive slab sides. A variety of custom windows were cut into the vans and shag carpet covered the entire interior. Lighting inside a van ranged from psycho-dermic black lighting to soft red lighting for the hooker (prostitute-not header) ambience.

 

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The loud musical sounds that emanated from boogie vans was pure unadulterated rock in the early 70s and spiraled downward into a dark cycle of disco by the decade’s end. But it was an era of loosely interpreted rules of engagement, so full sized vans with full sized beds had a serious upside for its young male owners during any portion of that decade as well as the early 80s. An upside that went well beyond the manufacturers’ suggested use for their vans.

 

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Maybe all of us who were young adult males in the 70s and early 80s owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the vans. Even if we didn’t own a van ourselves, we had buddies that did own these fun wagons.

 

The question of the day was how good a friend was he in the right circumstances where you needed the van more than him. At that point we owed a tremendous debt of gratitude to the van’s owner.

 

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Maybe we just owe a big debt of gratitude to Sammy John. He was the guy who sang ‘Chevy Van’ in 1975 and made it a giant romantic hit on the radio.

 

He may have influenced a few outcomes in a highly positive way with his song.

 

Jim Sutherland

More happy endings athttps://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/

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