Car Show Classic: The Highway Star – The Most ’70s Van I’ve Ever Seen

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Okay, I was not even born until after the Van Craze was on the way out. Missed it by “that” much! But for you friendly folks who lived through the ’70s, I’m sure you remember it well. It happened after the Musclecar Era and about in the middle of the Great Brougham Epoch, to be later replaced by the CRX Digi-Dash Administration, when anything made in Japan and sporty (RX-7, CRX, 280ZX etc.) with trick ’80s features ruled the land–well, except for in the Midwest. But I digress. Let’s take a look at a very customized Econoline.

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Bright orange paint, a really cool mural (so much neater than the usual horse/unicorn/naked lady/naked lady on a unicorn), RWL tires and chrome deep-dish wheels, and even side pipes! What is confusing is the standard exhaust pipe is present and accounted for. So are the chrome side pipes dummies? I don’t know, as I didn’t even notice it until writing up this car just last week.

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Oh. My. Do you not see every split-level ’70s home cliché in here? Fake brick, the decorative wooden balusters oft-seen in rec rooms, shag carpet, velour…yikes. Yet I still love it. This is very much a custom staying true to its era!

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Hey look, it even has a Princess phone? I’ve no idea if it works (could you make it functional by using cell phone components?) but if it did that would be so cool! A fridge and mini-bar are also in evidence–all the comforts of home. Note there is also a flip-up sunroof up front.

Labor Day Weekend 2013 110 (800x533)The front compartment is much more business-like, with black high-back bucket seats and a Grant GT steering wheel (natch). Note the special cup holders, with slots for cans as well as coffee mugs. Should we credit ’70s “Vanners” for today’s ever-present cup holders? Seems they were way ahead of the curve…

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A pretty neat van, wouldn’t you say? It has it all–bedroom (if this van is a rockin’…), living room and a kitchen. If this was four-wheel drive and you didn’t mind not having a bathroom or shower, this could be a most excellent way to drive across the country. Not everybody needs a billboard-sized Winnebago or some such. Sometimes, less is more–especially when it’s over the top!

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Seeing this van at the 2013 Nauvoo Grape Festival car show made my day. Lots more cool cars were in evidence too–a ’57 Saratoga hardtop, paisley-roofed ’67 Camaro with bench seat and column shift, a ’71-’72 Chevelle Concours wagon..darn, I need to write some of those cars up too!

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