Vans are glamorous, a fantasy world of art and interior design, visually ranging from elegance to sheer kitsch. Crafted interiors reveal the taste and aspirations of people who take pride in doing their own thing. -- From Mark Gabor's foreword to Vans and the Truckin' Life
When I was in Maryland last week, I came across a copy of Vans and the Truckin' Life, an ultra 1970s lifestyle guide that caught my eye because of the flap on the front cover that mimics a van's back door: flip it open and reveal the scantily-clad woman lying in repose beneath a mirrored ceiling with her reflection cast in an amber glow above the disco ball.
Houseboats, of course, have a following today, but the idea that vans ever enjoyed trendy, mass popularity caught me completely by surprise.
"'King of Diamonds.' One of the vans on display at the Chevrolet exhibit during the Fourth Annual National Truck-in, Bowling Green, 1976. Van conversion by Gerring (Elkhart, Indiana). Outstanding design and color show the creative possibilities of exterior paint jobs."
"An interior view of 'Lost in a Dream'... Using diamond-quilted crushed velvet throughout, the owner/designer did every bit of work himself. Rear of van has a rotating circular 5-foot-diameter bed, mirrored ceiling, and a homemade light-reflecting ball."
What kind of van would I do my cruising in? Why, a "Miss Van" van, of course!
All images scanned from Vans and the Truckin' Life, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, 1977. Text by Terry Cook, Photographs by Jim Williams. Edited and with a foreword by Mark Gabor.