Vintage Wheels #6: Shaggin Wagons

(click the image to enlarge)

Your clothes are distinctive
Your lifestyle different
So why should your means of transportation
be the same as everyone else's?
You want something personal, unique
You want something that says,
"This is me."

This is 70s poetry at its finest. Emily Dickinson eat your heart out.

Take me back to glory days of the custom van. In the 1970s, vans were a private space to have sex and do drugs..... oh, yeah - they also were a means of transportation. One of my very first posts on Retrospace was about the custom van - they are the definitive symbol of the seventies.The interiors were often shag carpeted dens of iniquity - dimly lit rooms that smelled like pot and Hai Karate. They were the ultimate 70s male lair. If, for some reason, you wound up in this place, the odds were high that you were seconds away from getting stoned or shagged.... probably both.


Take a minute to enjoy a few images from the heyday of the shaggin wagon. The first picture is one of my favorite images from the 70s. "Keep on truckin,!"

click here to view full size image

1973 custom vans


  1. I had that issue of Hot Rod. I spent hours looking at it, dreaming of having my own kustom van some day, a chick with no bra, and a dog wearing a T-shirt.

    1. Buddy, that's awesome :D

  2. My dad wanted one of these real bad. I remember going to some car lots and looking at them. They were just too expensive for a married father of two. We ended up with a plain old van.

  3. In the late-1970s, my best friend's girl friend (now his wife) bought a stripped down Dodge van. When I say stripped, I mean it had nothing. No windows, no roof vents, no rear seat. I helped them customize it. She had a professional put a bubble window vent over the front seats. We put in a rear seat, side windows, a rear roof vent and shag carpeting. What fun. We had no idea what we were doing but it turned out pretty good. I still remember being on the roof with my friend to install the rear vent, the first thing we did. He couldn't bring himself to drill into the roof. He was afraid if he messed it up it would be all over with the girl friend. So I got the honor of drilling the first hole in the sheet metal. Of all the work we did, the worst work was the professionally installed bubble window. It leaked from day one, eventually rusting out the floor of the van.

  4. Not to long ago I was trying to explain what Van Culture was to a dude in his early 20s. I don't think he believed me.

  5. analogmoon - Most kids my age associate vans with pedophiles. It comes from watching too much tv.

  6. What I remember was how unique the paint jobs were.

  7. I remember when a friend of my brother's traded in the Buick Skyhawk that his parents bought him, for a shagged out van. His father, who wasn't happy, looked at it and called it a "whore house on wheels". Mirrors on the ceiling, and white fur everywhere. The master stroke was a plaque on the inside wall that showed various sexual positions. Yep, if I was a parent, I'd think whore house!

  8. @ Armpit Studios: man, I still want that.