Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Favorite Van?

Whether Pedo Bear or Matt Foley, everybody loves themselves a van. Maybe it’s a creepy panel van with frEee cAndy scrawled on the side, or perhaps it’s a Sprinter driven by a guy named Gunter who has exorcized all the crap Dodge branding for its original three-pointed stariness. They’re all pretty awesome for both apartment moves or partying.
Back in the seventies, vans came with the admonition that should they be rockin’ you’d best not be knockin’, while the eighties brought us vans that were mini, when all we wanted were skirts that were so denoted. Some of the most cool of those could be had with both a turbo’d motor and a five speed gearbox. Sadly the nineties represented an epoch-end for the van as the SUV arose to rule the land. Sure, there were commercial vans, and should you break your leg or unfortunately get something lodged  where it shouldn’t be, vans in the form of ambulances were still around to take you to the soylent factory emergency room.
Vans are great, that’s a fact that I doubt any of us would dispute. But whether a nearly $220K 21 window Vee-Dub or a rat-rodded Econoline, each of us probably has a favorite. What’s yours?
Image source: [Famous1.com]

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    The other rear engined air cooled van:
    <img src=""width=500&gt;
    Although I never see myself actually buying a van. I'm more of a truck/SUV/Wagon guy myself.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      There are so many questions to which that is the right answer.

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        "What is the most unlikely thing to smoke you at the drag strip with booster seats in the back" being one.

  2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    (Gee, you didn't see this picture post coming — yet again — did you?)
    1966 GMC Handi-Bus.
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/gmcvan.jpg"&gt;

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      There is an elderly couple here in town who have the same van, but it's painted all kinds of different colors and they swear that it has a Cadillac 500 engine, the TH400 trans, and rear end from some unfortunate Caddy donor car. I really need to take my camera and go investigate this thing.

      1. Alff Avatar

        Yes, you do.

  3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/FH000005_sm.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      Added lightness…

    2. topdeadcentre Avatar

      Needs a surrey top!

    3. dukeisduke Avatar

      I love it. Let's party!
      (Put a beer cooler and margarita machine in it)

    4. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

      It's the VW Jolly!

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      Without a doubt, the Delica.

    2. Feds_II Avatar

      Snooze you lose. My love for the delica knows no bounds. The ultimate answer to the question "What do we do if the soccer field is wet, and in a lake, on the other side of that mountain?"

      1. Feds_II Avatar

        Saw one out and about this weekend in Port dover. Was an 88 or 89, and had some ridiculous japenglish on the door about how it is SPECIFICALLY MANUFACTURED FOR THE OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE OF ACTIVE LIFESTYLE OFFROAD ACTIVITIES or some such. Wish I had taken a picture.

  4. Alff Avatar

    I built this as a kid. It's still cool.
    <img src="http://www.scalemates.com/products/img/115044-10592.jpg"width=500&gt;
    I wish I'd remembered this for the last encyclopedia post.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I remember building that kit, too!
      Reminds me of another Tom Daniel/Monogram design I enjoyed building as a kid:
      <img src="http://www.showrods.com/images/fast_buck/fast_buck_big&quot; width="500">

      1. Alff Avatar

        I don't remember the armored car but here's another of his designs that I built…
        <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/ff184/ClassicPlastic/60Wagonbody003.jpg&quot; width=500>
        Now that I think about it, my vehicular tastes haven't changed since I was 10 years old.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          I've still got one of those!

  5. OA5599 Avatar

    [youtube e7jC9087Pvo&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7jC9087Pvo&feature=related youtube]

  6. Hopman Avatar

    One of mt favorite vans is (and probably will be) the GM "Dustbuster" triplets: The Lumina APV, Pontiac Transsport, and the Oldsmobile Shilouette.
    I had the pleasure of owning a '91 Shilouette. It was durable as all heck, had all sorts of cool features (like the five individual seats that could be moved easily and reconfigured on a whim.
    Besides that, it looked cool (at least in my eyes!) and had good power (any vehicle than can do over 105 mph while loaded to the gills is pretty good!)

    1. west_coaster Avatar

      And don't forget: It was the "Cadillac of minivans."

      1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

        I came to say that, but you… hey look beer!

    2. P161911 Avatar

      I remember hearing at the time those were the most aerodynamically efficient vehicles that GM had ever made.

    3. tonyola Avatar

      There was an odd thing about the Dustbuster vans and that is the fact that the windshield is so far forward on them, leaving a huge dash top. It's like looking at the world over a ping-pong table.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Not only that, but the rear edge of the door curves back very dramatically toward the top, so that when they're open there's a very sharp metal point sticking out right at head level.
        Don't ask me how I learned this.

        1. Tim Odell Avatar
          Tim Odell

          As I recall, they actually had a warning sticker about that.
          I suspect it was placed so as to be completely useless until after you'd already finished getting stitches.

      2. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        I know how that works.
        <img src="http://0.tqn.com/d/cars/1/0/f/E/1/ag_08nb_dash.jpg&quot; width=600>
        Everyone's family needs a car that can hold a small/medium pizza on its dashboard.

  7. $kaycog Avatar

    I've always liked convertibles.
    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3418/3957154845_cf6f45c8da.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Add a roll bar and that would make a great LeMons entry.

    2. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      Needs more sidepipes!

  8. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Bingo! In fact that was my profile pic on (redacted) before I changed it out for a lovely takedown notice. Those E100's were basically Falcons or Mustangs with a more useful body. One of the most space efficient vehicles ever made, so simple to work on, and a lot of fun to own and drive. Wish I still had one of mine…

  9. west_coaster Avatar

    Aside from iffy build quality, the Chevy Astro / GMC Safari twins were pretty good, especially toward the end of the run.
    Decent power from the 3/4s of a SBC V6, decent ride, and a surprising amount of room inside while still being easy to park. The only real design flaw was that the poor front seat passenger had to deal with a footwell that only had room in it for one foot.

    1. sporty88 Avatar

      Love the corrugated box. With the patina on it, it reminds me of some kind of post-apocalyptic ice cream van.

      1. jeremy![™] Avatar

        citreon hy van if you dont already know it.

  10. RWB Avatar

    People seem to forget that while he did admonish for knocking, he was in fact telling them not to bother, and to come on in!
    Different times…

  11. tonyola Avatar

    Hm. I can certainly appreciate the usefulness of vans but I've never really wanted to own one. Maybe that's because I've driven many, many vans of all sorts for work since the late 1970s and any sense of fun associated with them has long been erased. There's no novelty left, and if I really need a van for any reason, I know where I can borrow one. It's hard to think of a favorite. If it's something I'd want to drive everyday in traffic, maybe a 2012 Ram Cargo Van? Yes, it's coming back to do battle against the Sprinter and Transit Connect.
    <img src="http://vehixwp.s3.amazonaws.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Caravan3.jpg&quot; width="400/">

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      I've seen the pictures of those, and it's no competitor to the Transit Connect and Sprinter.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        Dodge calls it a competitor, even though it's really only a stopgap until some sort of Fiat-based van finds its way to our shores. I would also say that the Ram is probably the best one to drive on a day-to-day basis because it's the least "truckiest". Don't forget that the cheapest Sprinter is still $36,000 and the Transit Connect is really best for urban/short-distance use.

  12. Feds_II Avatar

    While more on the industrial scale, you can't argue with the cartoon-in-real-life proportions of the DIVCO:
    <img src="http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/archer/2002/july/crystal_springs_divco.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. tonyola Avatar

      We could also include the always-cute International Metro. Chances are it won't smell like sour milk, either.
      <img src="http://www.binderplanet.com/photopost/data/621/Green_Metro_Ideal_Cleaners.JPG&quot; width="400/">
      Oops, the Metro was already posted by Tanshanomi. Oh well, it's still a nice picture.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      I will take 2 fish tacos, a Mt. Dew, and a chainsaw please.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      <img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6060/5891712236_c483239f26_b.jpg&quot; width="350">
      No, apparently those are minivans. Who knew?

  13. Devin Avatar

    <img src="http://home.comcast.net/~bs1/images/misc/6x6econoline.jpg"&gt;
    All I know is the picture, and that is enough.

    1. crinklesmith Avatar

      Apparently built by Icecool, and apparently it's not messing around.
      Name:IceCool 6X6
      Make:Ford Encoline '96, specially modified 1999 by Snaridjan in Selfoss
      Color:Pearl blue
      Tires:6 x 44" Super Swamper.
      Max. number of passengers:14
      Engine:7,3 l. power stroke turbo diesel.
      Axles:3 x Dana 60"
      Gear:4,88 airlock
      Suspension:Air suspension. Range 40 cm
      Electric system:By Aukaraf
      Oil tanks:420 liters
      Transfer case:1356 and aux transfer case (extra low gear)
      Additional special equipment:GPS Navigational system
      CB radio
      NMT mobile telephone
      5 t. Hydraulic winch
      Pioneer CD player, amplifier and a microphone
      Lights:2 x 150 w spotlights
      2 x 180 w spotlights
      1 x 110 w search spotlight
      ComputerLaptop with map

  14. joe Avatar

    <object width="425" height="349"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/_PH8YBRpBsM?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/_PH8YBRpBsM?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="349" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>

    1. joe Avatar

      <iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/_PH8YBRpBsM?rel=0&quot; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  15. Jim-Bob Avatar
    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi
        1. Van Sarockin Avatar
          Van Sarockin


        2. jeremy![™] Avatar

          ooooooo, the things you are shown on this site!

  16. joe Avatar
  17. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    I can't believe that the aluminum bodied Grumman step van hasn't gotten any love yet.

  18. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    In keeping with my usual Hoonivanswers, I'm going with something in my life. Nobody besides me seems to appreciate the '04+ Nissan Quest.
    <img src="http://www.dealercarsearch.com/Media/3192/358725_17.jpg"&gt;
    It's too big and the wheels are too far out – like driving a river barge – but the engine is fantastic, the styling still stands out seven years later, and there is no other vehicle with so roomy and bright an interior. Other minivans smack of compromise. The Quest looks like it was meant to be a minivan. It always lost the comparison tests on details, but I've been in a hundred Odysseys and Siennas, and they're all boring compared to the Quest.
    Build quality was weaker than for most Nissans, not the highest bar to begin with, but somehow my mother's has been flawless since late '03.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      In the '80s, an environmental firm I worked for had a fullsize 1984 Dodge van converted to four-wheel-drive, and I got to drive it around quite a bit. A tall, mean-looking thing – tan with black steel-plate bumpers and a massive winch on the front.

  19. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    <img src="http://imcdb.org/images/167/885.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Vanessa, from the movie with a young beautiful Annie Potts "Corvette Summer." The van was way better than the 'vette too. The movie though, except for Annie Potts, Vanessa, a Z, and some low riders, was very very bad though.My parents had two conversion vans as I was growing-up, I thought that they were great too. We took a lot of camping trips for vacations and I had boyish fantasies about Annie Potts. When I was in college I used the couch-a-bed with my girlfriend. She had a resemblance to that young Annie Potts. It was great! Wait what was talking about again? Oh I loved our old conversion vans.

    1. Alff Avatar

      This was also Mark Hamil's other big movie.
      Annie Potts has a funny walk.

      1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        You can blame zsm for that.

    2. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq


    3. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      I love the Summervette. I have no shame.

  20. Lotte Avatar

    <img src="http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/7232/hiace002.jpg&quot; width="500/">
    I came across this piece of awesome while on a trip in Australia (the other piece of awesome was the tour bus with a floor stick shift, road train push bars and shag carpeting/seats/ceiling). The taillights say Toyota Coaster, but it's got a Hino badge…I dunno
    <img src="http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/1282/hiace003.jpg&quot; width="300/">
    Check out those stacks!!

  21. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Hrm, 11,500ish pounds.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Ah…missed the kg.
      Seems about right, then.

  22. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Seriously. Seriously? No love for the A100? Or are we waiting for Murilee to weigh in?

  23. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    Volvo 245L (Australia).
    Aha, thought I couldn't use a Volvo for this one?
    <img src="http://zyrex.org/gallery/d/104879-1/245L+055.jpg&quot; width=600>
    Right, then. Volvo sold it as a van, so it's a van.
    Here's that fellow's restoration thread on Turbobricks.

  24. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    East German Barkas:<img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1314/1397550607_bb6345f8f5.jpg">Take that, capitalist pigs!

    1. Alff Avatar

      I had the good fortune to go speeding (relative term) through East Berlin with an East German TV crew in one of those. A ride I'll never forget.

  25. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    You buy the van, and I'll bring the beer and sawzall. Same back at ya!

  26. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    Breadvan, anyone?

  27. brazilreporter Avatar

    I allways found the Tempo Matador a killer_<img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nGQhgTxbzTU/TNG3XcvsHdI/AAAAAAAAZIc/ajiYRLlIQ1Y/s1600/49+Tempo.jpg"&gt;

  28. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    Any of the old forward controls are sweet, Econoline Falcon, A100, VW Bus etc…
    But give me a good old Dodge van any day. Bonus for shag, bubble windows and side-pipes.
    Oh look, here's one from the world's best Automotive site!
    <img src="http://hooniverse.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/0_rightfront.jpg&quot; width-"500" />

  29. jjd241 Avatar

    Sporstmobile ALL THE WAY BABY!
    <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://sportsmobile.com/sections/4×4/sports-4×4/4x4ford_bw1.jpg&quot; width=500>
    <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://sportsmobile.com/sections/4×4/ultimate/UAV_02.jpg&quot; width=500>
    &lt;DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"&gt;
    <DIV style="OVERFLOW: auto"><img src="http://sportsmobile.com/sections/4×4/sports-4×4/03_4x4_bmtn033_72dpi.jpg&quot; width=500>