Saturday, December 18, 2010

2011 Council of Councils and CofC van show Feb 19th

The custom van world will be descending on Southern California Feb 18-20 and many before for the annual Council of Councils van convention. This event is hosted by a different group in a different city on an annual basis. The Left Coast Vanners are no strangers to hosting this event and always do a great job. I'm happy to be able to help out a bit with this event by donating funds from the 2011 calendar towards the actual event as well as sponsoring the van show that will be held on Saturday Feb 19th. The California van scene is red hot right now with new clubs forming whose members were not even born when the van craze swept through. One of these clubs the Van Creeps had a recent show in Costa Mesa Ca. with 40 vans. Hot rodders have also taken to vans and have created some amazing game changing vans that we have seen at the 2010 Sema and will be seeing at the upcoming Grand National Roadster Show.
The van show is open free to the entrants, you don't need a full blown show van to enter bring your custom van down to the show park it and hang out. All the van owners who do show up with their vans will be given a dash plaque, a goodie bag,  be eligible for door prizes as well as awards. This event will also be free admission to the public. We're inviting Truckin', Dice, Street Trucks, Hot Rod, Church and other magazines to the event and the response is already looking very good. Speaking of magazines we keep seeing a rendering of an Econoline popping up, first in Hot Rod and more recently in Street Trucks. Howard managed to see that van last week in his travels at Midwest Images. It's still under construction but the plan is to have it done by the summer. He had a good talk with Mike the owner/builder of the van and there's a good chance we'll see it at a van event or two down the line.

The CofC van show will start at approximately 1:00 pm after the CofC meetings. A number of vanners will be  attending the Donut Derelict Breakfast in Huntington Beach early Saturday morning (5:30 am to 9:00 am). This will be kind of tribute to the late Rick Finn one of the originators of that event who invited us there personally the last time we were in Anaheim. Rick came out on the Friday to our show, showed his kool 53 F100 panel and hung out with us all afternoon. Unfortunately he passed away suddenly later on that year.

for more info on the actual CofC check here:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2011 will be a huge year for vanning.

2011 will be rather significant for vanning. Both the Econoline and the Corvan will be celebrating 50 year anniversaries. Ford is producing a limited edition 50th Anniversary XLT. I've heard they are doing 100 of them. The emblems have just come out and one of my extremely good vanning buddies sent me one. You can order them on Ebay or get them direct from your Ford dealer a bit cheaper using part BC2Z-1642528-A.

This year at SEMA there were a few vans in attendance. One that is quite familiar to many online hot rod lovers being the Corvair Boogie Van. John has been all over the place with the van this year taking some of the most amazing shots as he goes. Another van there we first heard Bob Ryder mention a while back in Truckin', Octopus' Garden a Mid Dodge. There was also an A-Team replica van there and a couple of others. Through Facebook today I found out that Octopus' Garden will be joining Coby's Vango Econoline at the Grand National Roadster Show. This is incredible news that I would never have foreseen a few years ago. Having hot rod builders building custom vans to this level is amazing. It's looking good to have both of these vans for the CofC van show in Buena Park Ca. Feb 19th. The interest in the show is picking up, I'm putting together a package for the media to give them a good idea of what we've been doing in vanning when the spot light was not quite as bright.
Stardreamer will be at the World of Wheels/Autorama finals in Houston over Thanksgiving weekend. If your in the area please stop by and say hi to Dave and his family.
There are still 2011 Showvans calendars available and there will be some on hand at the CofC in Buena Park Ca. Feb 18-20 2011.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It never slows down, calendar done, now onto 2011

Last weekend I made a whirlwind trip to pickup the 2011 Showvans calendars direct from the printer's in Connecticut. Pat and I loaded them into my van, processed them at his place Friday and Saturday morning then mailed them out with help from his brother Terry. Huge thanks to Pat and Alaine for their hospitality !
The timing was quite good for this as I was able to attend the Getaway Halloween party as well. Never one to miss killing a number of birds with one stone we also made a side trip to Frank and Karen's to see his Project #9 and his rather famous garage. Here's Frank perusing the latest Truckin' Magazine Issue 13, some details on project #9 in with the Nats coverage. 

Frank is actually doing some welding here, not just posing. He made some good progress on the van in the past week even since we were there.

It's great to see project vans like this happening right across the U.S. Coby's wrapping up VANGO in California and Mike is just about done his Econo in the Midwest. All 3 of these vans have unique features that have never been used on custom vans previously. 

Now that the calendar is pretty much a done deal it's time to get serious about the 2011 Vanarama show season and the 2011 CofC van show.  It has been very hard to get people to commit to anything lately but hopefully now that we're getting closer to the actual events we'll get some answers. The Econoheads are busy behind the scenes getting stuff ready for the 50th Anniversary of the Econo. Some very good stuff happening with regards to this. I'll hopefully share some of this in my next post. The future is so bright right we gotta wear shades :)

Alaine and Pat at Getaway's Halloween Party, great hosts and they can rock too :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good things come to those who wait ... 4 pages in Truckin'

28 years ago I had a story and pictures in Truckin' featuring 2 of our club's vans at an ISCA show in Montréal. Fast forward to yesterday and I get a call from one of my major partners in crime and mentor Howard letting me know that Issue 13 of Truckin' is out with our 2010 National Truck-In feature. There are 4 pages of coverage including many pictures that Ken and I took as well as the story that Howard and I wrote that went almost unedited. What a great feeling it was to hear all of this but the first thing I asked was if the credits were right, unfortunately they left out Superbeast's name. I hope to make that right when this coverage runs on the website and will be sure to include all the names in triplicate if we're asked to do this again. I have yet to see the actual magazine. You can bet that when I do I'll be buying a few of them and maybe give some to those who helped make this happen and encouraged me all along with this and the many other things I get into.

The Van Creeps are doing a van show in Costa Mesa Ca. this weekend. A prelude to what Ed from Truckin' describes as the "humongous" show we'll be having in Buena Park. So get out there and support the event this weekend and make sure to invite everything to the CofC show. For more info:
I'm hoping to see many pictures posted from the event. Our friends from Wheels of Confusion will be there with a bunch of their awesome vans.

Van Creeps website

Putting the final touches on the 2011 calendar. It needs to go to Pat Altruk for pre-press in the next week and then off to the printer. Scheduled arrival date in your mailboxes Nov 12. The cover is always one of the toughest pages to do. Here's an idea that I have for it so far. This is not the final cover, this image may not even be on the cover but it will be featured prominently within if it's not. If you order by Nov 1 it will guarantee that you will get it in time for Christmas, any orders after that date will likely arrive in 2011. This is a non profit project, the bulk of the profits from calendar sales will be going towards the 2011 CofC in Buena Park California Feb 18-20. The van show on Feb 19th will be sponsored entirely by these proceeds, if your interested in sponsoring a trophy or anything else with regards to the van show let me know.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Showvans calendar, looking ahead to 2011

It's that time again where I have to put my nose to the grindstone and do up the calendar. This is #8 and I'm happy to say that even after 8 years there are of new vans coming onto the scene and older vans getting redone. I try to keep it fresh and add some new and interesting stuff each year. A few years ago I found the H.A.M.B (google if you don't know it). It's a traditional hot rod site and each Friday there is an incredible art show on it done by some incredible artist (some who are van owners like Notstock Photography, Church and Lordmodelbuilder). Notstock turned me on to road shots and even gave me some pointers. Well all the stars aligned on Labor Day and my long time partner in crime and photography Superbeast and I hopped in my van and started shooting 5 very hot and legendary vans on the road. We both love chopped vans, they look like they are going 60 just standing still. So go 60 with Nautilus in tow and this is what you get:                        

Nautilus legendary radical custom van rollin' towards Remember Butler 2010

This isn't even the best shot, you'll have to buy a calendar to see it, lol.
2011 is fast approaching and what better way to kick it off than with a Council of Councils in Buena Park California Feb 18-20 2011. Back in 2006 for the 2006 CofC in Anaheim Ca. I was involved with the Leftcoasters on a small scale to encourage the van and panel show. This time around will be sponsoring all the awards (unless someone else jumps for one or two). Hoping to make the show on Saturday Feb 19th a real big happening. The invites are going out to all the top van builders in the land to show their stuff. More details to follow. Vanarama 2011 will be happening as well. 2010 was a big year for vanners to get out to the indoor shows all over the U.S. Most recently there were 5 vanner vans at Charlotte Auto Expo inside, they were one of the feature attractions ! Junior, White Lightning and Flamed were there with there vans and had a great time. Had a chance to talk to Ron (Flamed) about this at Remember Butler and he couldn't say enough good things about the experience.
The next big show is in Houston Texas for the 2010 World of Wheels finals. 30 of the top 35 vehicles will there including Dave with Stardreamer, that event will be held over Thanksgiving weekend.
The 2011 Nationals will be a big one. Ohio always draws a huge crowd, easy 600+ vans expected and this being the 50th Anniversary of the Econoline and Corvan we're encouraging as many early vans as possible to make the trip. We're also hoping for a wicked photoshoot with all 50 years of Econolines represented. Here's a  Ford press release on 50th anniversary of the Econoline

Keep an eye out for the 38th National Truck-In coverage in upcoming Truckin' and DropJaw Magazine. Glenn from DropJaw has made 3 appearances at 2010 van events already, thanks for the support buddy !

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The 2010 National Truck-In

The van show Friday from 40 feet above

The 38th National Truck-In was another great one. 589 vans and panels through the gates is quite a feat in this day and age.  I arrived on Wednesday just in time for the Nats Board members meeting. This is the group that oversees this annual event. Being part of the support team for the Board I was involved in this event going back to Sept 2008. There is so much behind the scenes planning that goes into making this 4 day event special. VANNY did a great job this year.
I'll let the pictures tell part of the story, let the video tell some of the rest and hopefully we'll see the end of the story in Truckin' Magazine. Bob Ryder called me on the Tuesday of the Nats to see if I was still up to do the coverage. Getting this in Truckin' would be golden. Many many hours were spent taking pictures from every conceivable angle and every photo op was taken from 40 feet in the air to being one of only tow people allowed on the burnout field.
On Saturday during the awards I was surprised with two awards. Astro and I were presented with awards from Todd and Mary who have done some amazing promotion of vanning in New England thanking us for what we have done. The second award was presented by Howard on behalf of Gary owner of Alpine Express as a Vanner Appreciation. This is something very dear to my heart and finally opens the door to me getting this rolling in a big way with no sense that I'm doing it for myself. My feeling and some of my good friends is that vanners should be recognized for their efforts while they are with us and not only when they are being eulogized. One of the arguments is that every vanner is a vanner of the year ... however there are many who have been at this non stop for over 30 years and been involved in keeping vanning going and interesting for everyone every one of those years. There are many who have put their lives on hold, their reputations on the line doing great things for vanning. I was thrilled to get the awards but totally surprised and not at all prepared to thank those who have been supporting what I do for so many years. I'll try to make amends for that and will do a proper thank you down the line.

The Cruise into Greenwich, 105 vans strong !

Alpine Express, winner Best of Show 2010 Nationals

Homebrew "Up in Smoke" during burnout contest

Video compilation

Onward and upward I'll post where we're headed from here shortly. Good stuff coming. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

2010 vannin' season kicking into high gear

Less than a week away from Vanfest now. This will be the official start of my vanning season although it seems like there is always something going on. I came another step closer to getting back on track but then had other stuff to get onto like Vanfest, the 2010 Nationals and talking to Glenn from Dropjaw and Bob from Truckin'. I'll be collaborating with both of them in 2010 and into 2011.
There's plenty to keep the media happy these days and thanks to the effort of many vanners and custom hot rod builders doing vans this will be happening well into 2011. One of the more interesting events this year will be the rollout of the 50th Anniversary of the Econoline at the Ford plant near Cleveland. One of the gurus of Econolines has been contacted by a Ford executive who is inviting vanners to this grand event with their Econolines of all eras. Hopefully we will get that date in July soon so we can plan on having a respectable showing. We'll see if we can keep the whole 50th Anniversary thing rolling into 2011 with the CofC, the Nationals  and other events. We're going to have an Econo guru summit of sorts this Tuesday in Toronto to discuss this.
Battlestar is featured in the latest issue of Truckin'. Bob also introduces us to a long term feature Mid Dodge van.  I spoke to Coop this week as well and the work on the Battlestar/Deathstar is proceeding slowly but surely, it might not be ready for the 2010 Nationals. Perfection unfortunately does take time and from the sounds of it Coop has taken this van to the next level. 

Keep on Vannin' by any and all means !

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Tearing the site down and rebuilding it from scratch. Instead of blowing money on hosting I approached Astro over at and asked if we could have Showvans over on the server again. We had it there originally but it grew  too fast at a time when bandwith was charged at a major premium.

It's a bunch of work to have the site but it is a tremendous showcase for custom vans at a time where we have the opportunity to shine with a bunch of big events in 2010 and even more so in 2011 with the 2011 CofC in California.  It's also at a time where our media connections are ata n all time high with the magazines both national and regional.  Glenn from Drop Jaw is planning on being at Vanfest and will be at the Nationals. Last year we managed to get web exclusive coverage on for both of those events. I'll be submitting coverage again this year and hope to do even better things with them next year on their own turf and at the 2011 Nationals.

I wish I could show the pictures of the 3 vans I am following that are currently being built and or totally rebuilt. 2 will be finished this summer, one hopefully next. These 3 vans are incredible and will show everyone that custom vans are extremely cool and worth a look. Also been told we'll have another newly built van making it's debut at Vanfest.

Although my main interest is in vans I also have a very strong interest in all cars and trucks.  It expands my horizons and opens me up to different ideas and helps expose people who would not usually be interested in vans to take a look at the other things I do. For the Detroit Autorama I collaborated with and helped them achieve their highest single day hit count with exclusive coverage of the Great 8 Ridler contenders. This little adventure pushed my photo abilities to the max and I'm happy to say that these were the best indoor pictures I've ever taken.  Last week the Gumball3000 Rally roared through town and I did another story for them on this event.  


I mentioned to Randy that I really think this $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron looks like Heavy Metal, :).

So plenty going on and it seems more crazy ideas floating through my head than ever. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Detroit, Vanfest, Nationals and beyond

Detroit was a great time once again. In the end we managed to get 3 vanner vans in Autorama. It was very disappointing not having all 5 vans there especially Coop's Flying Eagle II as he was there anyway for the pinstriper's jam.  Before the event I mentioned that I would be going to Autorama on the forum.  Craig got in touch with me about taking pictures for them, the end result was helping that website achieve their biggest day ever with exclusive Great 8 shots. At the time only Street Rodder Magazine had anything on the net from Autorama. A bunch of my Detroit pictures are headed to Drop Jaw Magazine for their website. 

Woody's Smokin Chop custom van at the 2010 Detroit Autorama

Karson's custom drag van at the 2010 Detroit Autorama

Ken's Shelby E-100 custom van at the 2010 Detroit Autorama

2010 will be another great year in vanning. My travels will be limited unfortunately, not sure if I will make any van events before Vanfest in June.  Vanfest 15 is going to be Kevin's last at the helm. So if ever I have been motivated to do something special it will be for this one. Have some ideas in mind. 
The Nationals will kind of be in my backyard, 6 hours away. I'm doing the website for this event and will be fairly involved with the Auction from there and likely take a couple of pictures for Truckin'. Not likely to see them at this one. 
Onward to 2011 and the Council of Councils in Buena Park California. This will be one heck of an opportunity to showcase vans in the mecca of car/truck culture. I've already been scheming on this one since I heard of the bid back in early 2009. Thanks to a bit of help from my friends, we also managed to convince everyone at this year's CofC in Wisconsin to do the van show on the Saturday afternoon of the event. This opens the doors very wide to get the non vanners and the media more involved in the show.  Plenty more info on this will be coming.

Also in the process of moving back over to so it could be a bit wonky for a while.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Headed to Autorama this weekend !

Last year was my first trip to Autorama and we did it up big bringing 5 vanner vans there. It was an amazing show with 800+  cars,trucks, bikes and last year 7 vans. We got there Thursday night and were back daily and then rolled the vans out Sunday night.  This year it seems like there were more entrants than ever and many vehicles were turned away. We're headed there with 3 different vans this year, all of them in a class of their own and totally different than one another. I'll be taking a ton of pictures as usual for, for Drop Jaw Magazine and I also have been asked to take some for an up and coming online automotive community. 
Issue 4 of Truckin' features Pirates of the Caravan. A very nice 4 page spread on Donnie's amazing van. This feature was along time in the planning stages, they used 3 of my pictures in the feature that went uncredited but hey life happens and it looks good to see more of my pictures in there soon.  This feature came out the same week that Donnie had Pirates in the Kansas City World of Wheels with 7 other vans and 2 vanner owned panels.
The 2010 Council of Councils (custom van convention) was held in Wisconsin this past weekend. It was a well attended event and for the first time the meetings were broadcast live on  I was fortunate to catch both meetings on Saturday and even participated through Howard who was there. It was announced that the 2011 CofC will be in Buena Park California in Feb 2011. I've been following that bid for as long as it has been in play and working my non vanner contacts in California. We had a great time in 2006 the last time it was in nearby Anaheim. The 2011 event is shaping up to be even better. 
That's all the positive news for now, plenty more to come next time. On a sad note Lynn from Bad Girls N.Y passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 60 years old. Lynn was very active in vanning for the past 30 + years. We started crossing paths back in the 1970s at events like Van Canada and Van America (which her club hosted). Lynn had been keeping busy helping to plan the 2010 National Truck-In.  There will be a Memorial service for her near Rochester N.Y March 20th. It will likely be a very well attended event with vanners from all several states and Canada attending.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2010 another great year of vanning

Wow it's taking a while to get settled in to 2010. As usual have a bunch of stuff on the go. Winter is almost as busy as summer as I seem to get myself involved in more stuff each year. Last week I got the applications sent in to Detroit for 5 vans for Autorama. Also started working on the for my very good friends in Pennsylvania. Ongoing stuff on the 38th Nationals website. Even though I'm not going to the CofC this year I have been scheming some major stuff for the 2011 CofC at an as yet undisclosed location. 
If that's not enough I'm getting together an online charitable fundraiser for a vanner in Pennsylvania who passed away in October from Cancer.