Seventies Vannin’: Vintage Ads (Including A Racy One) Mixed In With Some Curbside Finds

Van 1976 Dodge cutom

Needless to say, the seventies were the vannin’ golden years. Why? Well, like much of the seventies, all of a sudden everybody wanted a slice of the free-wheeling ’60s hippie lifestyle. Having seen how much fun they seemed to be having in their VW buses and psychedelic school buses, everyone grew their hair long and bought a van, or motorcycle, or preferably both. Even if it did involve a car loan, and a proper job to pay for it. So much for the hippie lifestyle…but there’s always the weekends.

Detroit responded to the fad with gusto, marketing their vans with lots of lifestyle ads and packages geared towards DIY customization orΒ  through customizers. Not many of these are left on the streets here, but I’ve found a few. We’ll add in plenty of free-wheelin’ ads, including one from a Playboy magazine.

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This early seventies Chevy swb van is a bit plain, with just that crescent moon side window added. But it’s an oldie, and pretty representative of what were once seen everywhere. As far as I’m concerned, that original Chevy van grille was by far the best looking one ever.

Van 1970s-ford-van

Ford and Dodge seemed to be much more aggressive in their van culture marketing efforts, while Chevy kept a lower profile. It’s pure speculation, but perhaps Chevrolet was more capacity restrained? I know that Dodge went gangbusters in the late seventies with vans and van-based motorhome chassis, as it was one of their few bright spots during a very dismal time for them. And Ford pushed the Econoline pretty hard too.

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This particular ad was actually shot by well-known surf photographer LeRoy Grannis.

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Ford even offered a factory direct “Cruising Van”, with a companion Pinto Cruising wagon.

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Here’s another survivor I found, at the Time Warp Motel.

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Let the good times roll…with a Dodge.

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“Where’s the guy selling coke? He’s usually right here on this corner”

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Another somewhat dull survivor. Where did all the colorful ones go?

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Tasty Large Ribeye Steak for $2.95.

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And for the grand finale, here’s what its poster claimed is a Dodge van ad from a Playboy magazine. Looks plausible enough. And it kind of sums up what vans and the seventies were really all about. eh? The Shagadelic Decade.