At the risk of making this blog seem like it’s too much about Uncle Rico – today we’re gonna talk about conversion vans. It’s really kind of sad that vans have gotten such a bad wrap. Every single car on the road today is some kind of cross-over SUV. They’re boring and they all look the same.
I wish the conversion van would make a comeback. The timing seems right. People are loving big truck-like vehicles with a ton of interior room. But for some reason, vans became the associated with child molesters and rapists. I used to own a 1972 Dodge Tradesman B300 van that was converted into a school bus. It was blue. It had a bed in the back.
There is something cozy and clandestine about the dark plush interior of a conversion van. Maybe it has a fold down seat that turns into a bed with the push of a button. Maybe it has a small kitchen and old CRT TV. Maybe it has fancy lights and shag carpeting. Every conversion van was different. It was personalized to the driver. It was a home away from home. An escape pod in case life ever got too real.
Look – it’s hard to divorce the conversion van from it’s terrible reputation. It didn’t deserve to be treated like it has, but it’s not like a style of vehicle has a PR team out there defending it. I just love that at one point – these vans were highly promoted and there was an entire economy of accessories for them. People took their conversion vans seriously. And those people – whether they be in a band, or cross-country travelers, or just your bachelor uncle – were the best kind of people with the best kinds of stories.
So next time you see a conversion van – give it a little credit. The guy or gal running that thing loves it more than life itself. It takes serious effort to keep a conversion van on the road in 2019. They’re not some creepy child molester or rapist. They’re just a bachelor uncle looking for their next good time. And if it takes awhile for the good times to come? It’s alright man – they got a bed in the back and they can wait it out.
4 thoughts on “Conversion Vans”
I want that wizard with the computer on the side of my conversion van.
A fine choice! You definitely need a conversion van.
I met a guy once in a hot tub. True story. He came to the pool I worked at all the time just to use the sauna and hot tub. He had a seventies haircut, wore bell-bottoms and he just loved talking to me about marijuana. He was making a documentary about why it should be legal and he wanted to interview me for the film. I lived in a small town, and didn’t have a car. So he picked me up in his converted van with carpet, 2 swivel chairs and a small TV in the back. We would drive out to the beach and play Frisbee first. Then he’d take me to the middle of the woods to smoke more weed in his treehouse. The guy lived in a treehouse on some grower’s property. He’d make me watch his entire documentary when we were good and stoned. He’d tell me all about this commune that he wanted to start. And eventually he would take me back to town. This happened a few times. I came to find out that he was a hermit, and never came to town unless it was to get groceries and use the hot tub/showers at the community pool. I also found out that he had served a long prison sentence. I was 19 and really naive at the time. Looking back, I’m pretty sure that guy was a child molester.
This took quite the turn at the end. I love the part about the treehouse and his cool van though.
Maybe this is how conversion vans got their terrible reputation.