Custom vans were a big part of the scene in the late 60s and 70s.


They were the stuff of dreams for every young guy in North America and the scourge of every parent with a teenaged daughter.


The philosophy behind the vans was pretty basic: design a four-wheeled party and romance wagon built to assemble a solid library of misspent youth stories for their owners.


The vans were custom-made for fun and the rest was up to the owners’ social skills.


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Scott Shaw is too young to have been a part of the custom van craze during its initial run, but he is the proud owner of a vintage 1969 Ford boogie van that cruised the streets of sunny San Diego during its early years on the road.


The van still has the original roof rack and sun roof that were added to the initial custom concept back in the 60s. It has a custom interior that serves as a reminder this van took a different direction from other Ford vans in 1969. They typically ended up as tradesmen or delivery vans.


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Scott picked up the van because he is fascinated by the different automotive cultures from the past and has original pre-war antique rides, as well as full-blown hot rods in his toy collection.


He likes to drive his vehicles and the boogie van was put to work when he decided to throw his dirt bikes in the back and drive 12 hours to Idaho for a dirt bike race event. Scott added that his daughter wanted a ride to her first day of school in the van and his wife loves to drive this old Ford van. Scott is the same way-this classic is his first choice for daily driving.


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The van ran silky smooth all the way to Idaho and Scott was able to keep a 75 mph pace on the highway. Scott said it was “really nice to drive” and told us the only alteration was to replace the custom steering wheel with the original wheel for greater comfort on the long trip. In fact, Scott was amazed at how much fun the van provided for him on the road.




Part of the fun was dependability for Scott because there were no mechanical misadventures and the boogie van’s reliable Ford 302 small block performed flawlessly on the journey.


Scott has never touched the engine and only added an electronic ignition into the mix for the van.




Scott chose to repaint the van with a subtler color and chose green. He has some regrets about his choice and toyed with the idea of a louder color because a vintage boogie van could have come in many choices of bright custom paint jobs during the height of their popularity.




That’s why the idea of an orange boogie van still has some appeal to Scott.


However, he was lucky because the van was a sunny San Diego vehicle and Scott was not faced with a giant rust repair bill during the color change.


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Scott may not have been around for the first wave of boogie van popularity, but he truly enjoys his vintage custom van adventures in 2014.


Jim Sutherland

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