Culture

How Vanning Swept the ‘70s

Feb 13, 2018

Not Your Mom’s Minivan 

It’s not often that a vehicle’s purpose completely changes overtime. Muscle cars have, well, always been muscle cars — cars for rebels to zoom around town, rev up their engines at stop lights and park at least half a mile away in even the emptiest lots. On the other hand, vans have transformed from hippie wagons to practical mom mobiles. These days, soccer moms all across America are shuffling their kids around town in minivans with their little ones chomping on animal crackers and slurping down juice boxes from second and third row seating. 

In the ‘70s, your mom wouldn’t have been caught dead in a van, or at least that’s what she wants you to think. The gas-guzzlers, or bedrooms on wheels, could have likely been what your weird uncle Gene called home back in the day while he followed the Grateful Dead around the country. Who’s to really say what shenanigans went on in said vans? Use your imagination. What we’re more interested in is the mods and far-out paint jobs these hippie houses so often sported. From waterbeds and shag carpeting to psychedelic artistry, these babies were the ultimate staple of the free lifestyle many had in the 1970s. 

Vanning was in its heyday throughout the '70s, but towards the end of the decade, the appeal declined due to rising gas prices and culture changes. That’s not to say the trend is dead. Just like bell-bottoms and man buns, vans have become relevant yet again. Vanning clubs are popping up all around the country, especially on the West Coast. And it doesn’t stop there. The culture is on the rise, too. The popular hashtag, #Vanlife, is there to prove it, embracing those trading in their office jobs to cruise the land of the brave and free. 

Picture this: No cell phone, no internet. Just uncle Gene, his dog and lady friend chilling out to "Midnight Rider" with the windows down taking the highway through the Great Divide. Ready to quit your office job yet?

We caught up with some of our fans and asked them to share their tricked-out vans from back when. 


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