You may have noticed that we have been featuring vans in recent issues of Truckin'. This month we featured Tom Chronister's '77 Dodge Tradesman six-wheeler named "Battle Star". Yes, the '70s van culture still has a pulse. We have noticed a swell of van builds from coast to coast.
The other day, I was introduced to Ron Cambra from Orange, California, by custom paint guru Steve Vandemon. Ron has been a serious garage builder of many street rods and muscle cars, as his eight-car garage-mahal proves, being filled with finished and ongoing projects. During the '70s, Ron was a dedicated vanner when he belonged to the Nor Cal Van club in Hayward, California. Ron cruised the boulevards in his '63 Ford Econoline named "Little River Van." He named it after the Little River Band, an Australian rock band of the '60s and '70s. Ron attended many van gatherings throughout California during the '70s.
Ron has decided to revisit his past as he found a straight '71 Dodge Tradesman van in El Monte, California. His intensions are to build a nostalgic Tradesman. Ron wants to bring back some of yesterdays flavor, but mixed with today's styling. The van rolls on a set of throwback Cragar SS five-spoke chrome wheels and knock-offs, wrapped with Mickey Thompson rubber with white letters out. The wheelwells received the traditional flares that merge into a front air dam. To obtain the lowered stance, Ron will airbag the suspension tucking those Mickey's. A pair of functional Patriot chrome 82x31/2-inch side pipes will hug the rockers. The factory 318ci V-8 engine will be rebuilt with all the right stuff. The interior will feature a retro décor complete with shag carpet- don't worry, we're joking. Ron has teamed up with Garette Leake to do the bodywork and prep before Steve Vandemon puts his well-known talents to work painting it black with deep purple wispy flames. The van will match Ron's '70 Sanger hull flat-bottom boat with a wicked Chevy 468ci tunnel ram. Oh yeah, the van and boat are named "Smoke On The Water" from Deep Purple, a '70s rock band.
We will be following the buildup of Ron's '71 Dodge in the upcoming issues of Truckin' so stay tuned.
For more cool van happenings, check out vannin.com.