If you've been carefully reading the pages of Truckin' over the past several months, you've obviously noticed the special coverage of Truckin's 30th Anniversary. With our first issue being published in 1974, Truckin' entered the truck enthusiast market in a big way and has been leading the charge ever since. As you are probably aware, much of the early editorial coverage of Truckin' centered around the hottest aftermarket vehicle of that time, vans. We've paid a lot of tribute over the past few issues to the van craze of the '70s and '80s, and these wild creations definitely look pretty strange today.
However, it's a sad fact that while vans were a key ingredient in Truckin's success story, only two of our present editors are old enough to remember or appreciate the craze: myself and Senior Tech Editor Bob Ryder. You may remember reading this column in the Aug. '04 issue of Truckin' where we published the photos of how the staff looked in 1974 (the first year of Truckin'), and Bob and myself were the only grownups in the bunch. At the time ('70s and '80s), vans were cool. When you stepped into a buddy's van, you were not just getting into his chosen transportation, you were entering his domain, his lifestyle, and his mystique. Much like today's truck enthusiasts modify their trucks to fit their lifestyles and individual tastes, the vans of those days went beyond that to become definite extensions of a van owner's personality.
Although I did not own a van personally, I had plenty of friends and acquaintances who did, and virtually all of them modified their van in some way to suit their personalities. There were wild murals, crazy carpeting and textiles, all sorts of beds (the sleeping kind) and seats, layers and layers of leather and suede, interior lighting, art dcor, wild rims, assorted paraphernalia, and over everything, there was the sweet lingering scent of incense and other burning substances.