Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Al Brown, 1930-2011 R.I.P

Al Brown left us on Christmas Day, at the very feisty age of 81 years old. Al pretty much started organized vanning in Canada way back in the early 70's and actively participated in it with his last event being Vanfest 2011 this past June. The wheels are in motion to properly recognize Al for his dedication to vanning. Here's a collage of mainly recent photos of Al with some of his many friends.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The 2012 Showvans calendar is sold out.

Finally got a chance to see the 2012 Showvans calendar yesterday and send out some of the final orders. The printer once again did a bang up job. My buddy Johnny O did an incredible job mailing out 90% of the orders last week, that was a huge help this year especially.
This calendar project started in 2004 as a labor of love and turned into a lot of work trying to outdo the previous version and trying to keep everyone happy. It went from mostly a northeast thing to a world wide thing with a full 1/4 of orders coming from overseas this year.
The 2012 calendar is sold out, I have to scramble ro cover 2 remaining orders. There won't be another calendar until at least 2015 when a final 10th issue could come out to support the 2015 CofC in California.
Thanks to everyone who supported the calendars for all these years !

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The 2011 vanning season is winding down slowly, but there are a couple of big events left. So that means it's time to get crackin' on the 2012 Showvans calendar. Our friend Arne in Norway is busy taking orders to once again blow everyone away . He's aiming for 125 this year !  He asked me to do a preview for him. Once again I need a disclaimer ... this is not the cover and the pictures you see aren't necessarily going to be the ones used. Order info here:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

39th National Truck-In

The 39th National Truck-In will go into the history books as one of the best ! How about I let the pictures do the talking about the 6 amazing days we had in Old Washington Ohio with 614 vans through the gates from the 4 corners of North America.
Check it all out here on :

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

39th Van Nationals a.k.a National Truck-In July 13-17

The big one is almost here. Expect to see 600+ custom vans converge on Old Washington Ohio next week. The pre-event starts Monday and the event officially opens at noon on Wednesday. Right out of the start it will be action packed, Wednesday night is Vanners Night at the Races. You will get to see the fastest custom vans on the planet with possibly 3 sub 10 second drag vans. Astro from has arranged to have a hot sport to broadcast a few of the events live. Expect to see video , pictures and blogging live from the event, but I'll warn you now that will make it even harder on you watching this from afar. Do try to be there by any and all means :). Full details here:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Vanfest 16 is less than a week away, the fun actually begins for many of us on Wednesday at a campout at one of the vanner's places. I've been involved with this great event since about 2002 doing the website and then a bit more once we moved to Toronto. The one thing that still eludes us is getting coverage for Vanfest in a national magazine. So I'll be ramping up that effort this year especially seeing that we somehow managed to get our coverage in Truckin' of the 2010 Nationals and more recently get the 2011 CofC van show event covered in both Hot Rod and Drive Magazines (so far).

Vanfest 2011 will be another interesting run with new attendees coming from the East and West of the U.S.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vans are back in Hot Rod this month !

Vans are back in Hot Rod this month. The caption on the cover says Vans are Cool Again (don't blame us). There's a good bunch of people of vanners and van owners to blame for vans being cool again. First off big thanks to Howard and Todd for helping to get Rob Kinnan from Hot Rod interested in vans again. Howard and I visited with Rob at his office on the Thursday before the CofC show, then both him and Dave Wallace who is credited with the article and pictures came to the show. The California van scene has been very hot lately many thanks to my friends Brad and Tom from Wheels of Confusion as well as Jay and the Vandoleros. It's also fitting that there is a picture of Coby driving Vango on the intro page to the story. This van has broken down all the barriers and is appreciated by everyone. Coby of course comes from the hot rod and drag racing world so that is huge in the acceptance of his amazing creation. Ron's Octopus's Garden has also been an inspiration to many and has been seen by ten of thousands of car people at both the 2010 SEMA and the GNRS. It was a great meeting all these people in February during the Council of Councils. I'm hoping we can do it all again very soon. For now we'll just have to appreciate this extra 15 minutes of fame :).  Keep on vannin' !

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fresh van porn from California and 2012 Showvans calendars

A fresh batch of van art arrived this week from California via mail and vanner express. When I was at the CofC I picked up a ton of stuff and had no room to bring back the Jason Cruz Utility board. Originally I thought I would only see it at the Nationals so i twas a pleasnat surprise to get yesterday at our Spring all Ontario van club meeting. Dirty Donny's print and decal arrived as well this week. All of this California sunshine arriving makes the itch to get back there even stronger.

The decision has been made to go ahead with the 9th edition of the Showvans calendar. 2011 was going to be the final one but somehow that never works out. Full details here: 2012 Showvans Calendar order info
Each year I try something different but also keep some of the favorite pages going. I have some ideas to keep it fresh and updated.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Vango cover feature in next issue of Rod & Kulture

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well this picture may be worth a few more. Coby's thinking of doing a whole edition of CHURCH Magazine just on the van from start to finish. This edition of Rod&Kulture will be out in June. Coby and his brother Marc both amazing photographers shot the cover and pictures for the 6 page feature. In the meantime we get to see it in a number of magazines in their Grand National Roadster Show coverage: Car Culture Deluxe, Custom Classic Trucks, Rod & Kulture, Rod & Custom, Street Rodder and Truckin' so far that I've heard of.
The R & K cover feature was many months in the planning and I was even involved fending off another publication to not scoop a feature on this amazing van.
Next stop for the van is the huge West Coast Kustoms Cruisin' Nationals May 27-29 in Santa Maria Ca. If all goes well Coby will be driving the van up there. He's already done the shake down and is rarin' to get it out on the open road away from the craziness of L.A traffic.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Night at the Races July 13, 2001

Here's something different in the works that we haven't seen in a long time. In the early days many van runs were held at race tracks from road courses like Watkins Glen and Mosport to drag strips like Englishtown and National Trail. Seeing this year's Nationals will be a fairly close to National Trail and that both Blastro and Headstone were confirmed attending it was natural to plan a "Nigh at at the Races."  More details as we get closer to the event. We're still lining up high performance vans for this including possibly 2 10 second street vans.

Vans continue to show up in magazines this month. If you are on Facebook, Hot Rod's David Freiburger is eyeing up a mid Dodge maxi for himself. Kinnan already has a mid Chevy.

My Dirty Donny art print is in the mail, can't wait to see it. Check out his blog for full info. He has 3 new prints of mid Ford,Dodge and Chevy vans. Dirty Donny's Blog 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Getting the word out. Vans in the media

Vans have been popping up in the media on a regular basis these days. Stride has been using vans in their commercials, the latest one featuring a blue Mid Ford. That van just happened to be at the CofC van show along with some other vans that have been gathering a fair amount of media attention. Vango is in the current issue of Rod & Kulture and will be getting a full cover feature in an upcoming issue. Coby and his brother Marc are currently putting this together. Octopus's Garden will be featured in upcoming tech articles in Truckin'. Both Vango and Octopus's Garden were at the 2011 Grand National Roadster Show. Octopus's Garden was also at the 2010 SEMA along with John Jackson's Boogie Van. John is the latest contributor to R&K Magazine and his Corvan is also in the latest issue. The cover shot is also his:

For the CofC we did quite well with the magazines as Ed Sanchez was with us at Barris' shop tour and ran coverage from there on the site and a few of us took an extensive tour of the Truckin' facilities and met with Dan Ward, Bob Ryder and Ed again. Bob invited us to Ron's afterwards to see Octopus's Garden and projects Ron and his buddies are working on.  Bob also met up with us at the Donut Derelicts very early Saturday and was at the CofC van show along with Ed. Howard and i ventured over to Hot Rod Magazine on the Thursday and met with Rob Kinnan. We've been going back and forth with Rob for a number of years. He also attended the CofC van show along with Dave Wallace. Hot Rod is planning to run their coverage in the July issue.
Here's the online coverage from Truckin' :

Here's the online coverage from Hot Rod :

Monday, February 21, 2011

From dream to reality

This picture pretty well sums it up. Tom's California Dream'n taken on PCH 1 in Huntington Beach California.The day after an incredible van show that some of my friends and I put together.

I lived the dream and will write more about it when I get home. It was a bunch of work for us to put this together and I owe a number of people a lot for putting themselves out so much to help make this happen. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

CofC van show update

We're getting down to the wire, still a few loose ends to connect but all the important stuff is taken care of.
The dash plaques are done, awards are done and in my grubby little hands 3000 miles from where they will end up. Sending out reminders to some of our attendees and burning up the telephone wires cross country to California. Still have plenty to do for then show to make it even more special. The image above is a mockup for something that will be awarded at the CofC van show.

Here are some of the invited vans and some that will be there for sure. We've had one or two drop out but you will get to see many of these vans next Saturday either at the Donut Derelict Cruise in Huntington Beach from 5:00 am to 9:00 am or at the CofC van show from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

I've been fortunate to be able to help out with the CofC in a very big way this year with the 2011 calendar funds as well as a number of other van related projects and events. We'll be hearing more on one of those projects next Thursday from the CofC. Vanners from all over North America keep stepping up to the plate and hitting it out of the park. This project I'm referring to is a grand slam.

For more details on the CofC van show and eventual show coverage go here:

For more details on the 2011 CofC :

Thursday, January 27, 2011

VANGO making it's debut at Grand National Roadster Show this weekend !

There has been a tremendous buzz on the street from the World of Wheels in Atlanta Ga. and now on the show floor of the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona Ca. it's all about a van that has been a few years in the making called VANGO. That buzz is also on Facebook and many internet forums from customs vans as you would expect as well as a 200 post and growing thread on the H.A.M.B:  VANGO thread on the H.A.M.B

Coby has raised the bar, broken the mold and changed the game with this 1963 Econoline. We are hoping to see him at the Council of Councils van show Feb 19th in Buena Park Ca. But everyone already wants a piece of this van and we'll be seeing more of it at the indoor shows and in the magazines coming out in 2011.

Wish Coby all the best with his masterpiece and that he gets all his wishes for it. If you are in our around Pomona this weekend do get out to GNRS and be one of the first to see VANGO.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Council of Councils Van Show Feb 19th. 39th Nationals

The final details of the Council of Councils are being put into place now. The Left Coast Vanners have been hard at it getting this all done with a minimal staff. Hats off to them for the enthusiasm and effort they put into these events for the benefit of all vanners.
The van show on Feb 19th is also falling into place. The invites have been sent out and we're hoping to have a great turnout. Vans will now be let in to the show area as of 10:00 am. There's limited space but we will work on that.

Onwards into 2011, Vans on the Run the hosts of the 39th National Truck-In in Old Washington Ohio are also busy getting their event ready. Coop let me in on some details that I need to keep secret but will be rather mind blowing, vanners keep raising the bar with their van events which is great to see.
I had an idea for the Nats, bounced it off of Coop and he said run with it. Vanners and racing have gone hand in hand since day one. Some of the early van runs in Ohio were held at the National Trails dragstrip. Yesterday I contacted them to see if anything was going on the week of the Nationals, sure enough there is Grudge Match Wednesday. So now we're in the process of getting some of our high performance vans lined up for this. If we can get some of the notable drag vans on board then consider that event on the Nats calendar. Van drags were very common in the early days, it will be great if this works out.

Some of my friends from the Midwest and Arizona have been putting lettered stickers on their vans and trailers for a while now. It's something I wanted to do for a while myself so along with I had some decals and t-shirts made up. I'll have the details on them on the website this weekend. I'll bring a few shirts to the CofC with me a good bunch of decals.

The indoor shows start this month, we'll be seeing two amazing Econos to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary.  Alpine Express in the Pittsburgh World of Wheels show Jan 21-23 and the grand premier of VANGO in the Grand National Roadster Show Jan 28-31. This van is a game changer and one of the most talked about vans out of the realm of vanning ever. Coby a well known artist, Church magazine guy and hot rod builder has created a masterpiece. Octopus' Garden will also be in GNRS, this van was first shown at the 2010 SEMA and will be featured in upcoming issues of Truckin'. Both VANGO and Octopus' Garden are suppose to be coming to the CofC van show.