IF YOU’RE a child of the 70s, it’s a fair bet you’ve seen your share of panel vans. Call them what you like – ‘sin bins’, ‘shaggin’ wagons’, ‘screw canoes’ or ‘mobile virgin conversion units’ – they’re an indelible part of the Australian car culture.
Even the manufacturers got in on the act with models like the Ford Sundowner, Chrysler Drifter and the iconic Holden Sandman. For the most part they featured flashy paint, bucket seats, floor shift, and a burbling bent eight up front.
But enthusiasts took them to the next level with custom bubble windows, aftermarket wheels and airbrushed murals, along with more velour than a 70s disco and enough chrome to send you blind!
We talked to three van fans who are all old enough to remember the 70s and are still living the dream with their own polished machines.
Paul Murray’s flip-front HR van has gone the whole hog with a full Iron Man theme reminiscent of the 70s and 80s show vans, while Chris Dowton’s HJ Sandman is slightly more subtle in Cyan Blue with a Native American theme. Gary Pointon’s silver HX Sandman blurs the line between show van and street machine with its polished B45 Simmons rims, lowered stance and smooth lines.
See them all in this short clip hosted by our own van tragic Simon Major. But beware: If you’ve got even the smallest touch of vanner’s blood, this clip will have you searching the net for vans to buy!