Sex, Drugs and Custom Vans

Forgot how omnipresent adult themes were in the 70's? Look no further than the custom van culture that bloomed in the latter half of the decade. The 1977 film, The Van, and its theme song, "Chevy Van" are perfect time capsules of a time when attitudes towards sex were overt and uninhibited. Let's face it, the vans were customized for two, and only two, purposes: loose sex and drug abuse.

Listen to Sammy Johns' theme song (you can hear it in the video clip below). The song is perhaps even dirtier than "Afternoon Delight", and that's saying a lot. Basically, the lyrics revolve around picking up a stranger (in his van, of course), having sex with her, and dumping her off on a dirt road somewhere.

The movie stars Stan Getz (he played the nerdy guy who wanted to date Marcia Brady in spite of her grotesquely swollen nose) and Danny DeVito, and basically revolves around one plot point: he has customized his van for the purpose of loose sex, and now it's time to find an eager participant. I implore you to check out the clip from the movie where Mr. Getz and mate tour a van show with "Chevy Van" playing in the background. Classic!

Check this site out for hundreds of 1970's van advertisements. I mean, even major automobile manufacturers like Dodge promoted the sex and drugs theme in their van advertisements. Of course, this was a time when the baby boomers were at their sexual peak and everything seemed to be revved up sexually.

Check out the Adventures Through the Mines of Mellow Gold for more exposition on "Chevy Van" and other 70's soft hits. To me, this music exemplifies why I prefer music from the 1970's over contemporary hits: the songs covered sexual topics in an adult and nonchalant way - without snickering and juvenile exhibitionism. "Afternoon Delight" is as matter of fact as a can be imagined - whereas modern songs with sexual themes seem to relish their "naughtiness" like when you used a curse word for the first time. As in: "Ooo, you're so controversial". Shocking your average sexually liberated 1970's baby boomer with adult themes would have been like shocking a coroner with a drop of blood - not likely.


  1. Gilligan, I don't know if you ever pop over to The Manchester Morgue - however Phelpster has just posted the soundtrack to the Van: http://the-manchester-morgue.blogspot.com/2008/07/sammy-johns-van.html

  2. Thank you! The file is downloading as I type this!

  3. this article seems judgmental, what's wrong with drugs and loose sex?