Monday, May 5, 2014

G-Man, the heart and soul of Bakers has passed...

It is with a heavy heart that I share the passing of Chris Hatswell, a.k.a. G-Man...  A founding member of and the founder of Baker's of Milford Gathering of Earlys.
He was loved by many, a great friend to all who knew him and respected in the vanning world.  It is a very sad day as we have suffered a big loss...  God bless you G-Man...  You will never be forgotten...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Interiors EXPOSED! part 4

For this edition of our series, you get a triple treat of Chevy's!  From 1964 to 1966...  Without further ado....

Savage's 64 No Door

Digz's 65

BILLS66's 66 cargo area

I still have a couple more to show you next time, so stay tuned!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Interiors EXPOSED! part 3

Ready for a treat? If this doesn't take you back to Haight-Ashbury and you hear Jefferson Airplane playing in your head, nothing else will...


 Bought my 68 dodge A108 V8 318 van (Sunshine) a couple years ago from Florida, fell in love with it since I had one just like it in the early 70s. My wife and I had great memories with it, on this one we both worked together on the interior.  We insolated the entire van first, then added 3/8 plywood on the floor before adding the shag carpet. I built a bed with a 6'' piece of memory foam, added a boxed in sud, with amp, under the bed blocked off from the spare tire and storage area. 2 speakers and the stereo are mounted to the front of the bed and 2 speakers behind the front seats. She attached hippie material down the center of the roof and paneling on both sides. We also covered the walls in the same wood, plenty of lighting with a black light above the bed and battery operated peace sign lights around the top of the bed, tye dyed beach towels sown back to back separate the drivers area. Peace sign material was also used to make all the window curtains. I cut off the top of an old walking stick and used it for the shift handle, added my collection of patches around the top, also set up a (unused) water pipe to complete the theme. Plans are to replace the complete drive line this winter with the help of all my friends at, everyone on the site was a great help with the project.


Stay tuned!  More VANtastic interiors will be EXPOSED as we continue on with the series!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Interiors EXPOSED! part 2

For this edition, we have a nice "tour" of dix's van interior.... For the record, I'm not playing favorites with any, but I have to give kudos where it's due...  dix has gone above and beyond in this project's goal, spreading the word, inviting comments/conversation and more importantly...  submitting a "detailed back story" about his van and LOTS of pictures for you all to see!

My van is a 1969 Dodge A100. I bought it out of Georgia about 10 years ago.  That's where she got her name, Georgia, (that was better than “eBay”).  The van needed a complete restoration and that is what I did…  Striped and repainted, replaced the entire drive train, and then the inside. As you can tell, I enjoy working with wood.  We wanted to make it more current, so I picked up the electric couch that lays down to a bed, for Erin my wife and I, at camping trips and van runs! The front seats are also electric were from a 94 mustang GT.  The walls are a 3/8'' Mahogany wood with real stained glass to look like portholes in the back. The floor has a Mahogany border with aluminum and oak wood in the center.  I also built the rear cabinet and drink tray to match, with the tambour doors. Behind the couch is carpeted floor to use for hauling the tools, spare tire, camping gear and such. The ceiling has a red aluminum center, with front and back lighting, and an infinity led light in the center, and seat upholstery material on the sides of the roof and the doors.  At the 2011 van NATS, we won 2nd place and 2013 NATS, we won 1st place in our class! Also the van will be 1 of the 4 vans used on the cover of the2014 calendar… 

 Stay tuned for the next edition!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Van Interiors EXPOSED! part 1

When it comes to bringing back an Early Van to life, I would say it breaks down to 3 things (although some may argue there's more to it)....  The body, mechanically and the interior...  I want to focus on some really nice interiors! 

The response to my "cry for help" to write this article at forum has been awesome!  So much so, that I am going to run this topic into a series...  Let's get started!

I have a 1975 Chevy van STOW-A-WAY that has placed 1st in my class at the nationals a few years ago in Ohio.  I have owned it 32 years now, bought by my parents in 1979.  It has a 461 cubic inch Big Block Hi per. th 350 trans and a 12 bolt posi rear end.  I did everything myself; shag carpet, teak wood floors, Plexiglas dog house, except the Hugger Orange paint.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Restoring Back to Original or Uniquely Customized?

At least once a year it seems, I get an email from "movie makers" looking for vintage vans in original condition to play a bit part in whatever production they are working on.  They have been filming up around the San Francisco area, Los Angeles and as far away as New York.  It would be a nice gig, getting to spend a couple of days on a movie set and making a little cash at the same time...  But as most of them are making "period pieces", they INSIST the vans appear stock just as they were back in the day.  

Well now days, those vans are getting rarer and rarer as most enthusiasts are restoring their vans, but putting thier own "something special" on them and making each one truly unique.  And who can blame them?  I myself can't resist taking a second or third look at a van with a mural or theme graphics painted on it.  And if the inside theme matches, that's a bonus! 

The time, work and money involved in bringing these early vans back to life can be staggering...  It is something to be admired and respected at no matter what level of restoration or customization.  Very few vans actually ever get "completed" even after years of working on them.  Why?  Because even though it looks done to many, the owner may have some upgrade, new mod or "finishing touches" in mind after he/she gets home from the show!

So you rescued a van from the crusher, or found one abandoned in a field/garage/barn somewhere...  Do you intend to restore it back to it's original glory?  Or will you create a gas powered work of art on wheels unlike any one has seen before?

I look forward to your comments!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Who does the Work on Your Van?

There are many people out there who are skilled with a wrench in their hand...  Some have made a living at it, some are very proficient "hobby-ers", some do their best and end up needing help...  

Then of course there are those like me, who can describe what they want/need done and either wait until it's done, or watch as someone else busts a knuckle.  Don't get me wrong, I am well seasoned at the art of tinkering, but I leave the bigger jobs to those who are far more proficient than I am.

For some it comes down to dollars and cents...  Just affording the parts can be an issue, and the budget doesn't allow for paying someone else to put them on.  Others have the means and want things done right (better than they could do it themselves) so they hire the professionals.

Then there are those who love to do most or all of the work themselves, and the sense of accomplishment they feel when it's done is priceless...

Which are you? 
I'm looking forward to reading your comments!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Vanner Putting His Retirement to Good Use

Each year in early May, Don packs up his TransVan with his Honda Scrambler on the back and heads to Chicago...

to eat at Chicago's food joints, visit family and work on their vehicles... 
In THAT order!  

Along the way, we are treated with photos of his trip which include tourist spots and other vanners he stops by to visit...

"Nipring" travels 140 miles to have lunch with Don in Chicago

A retired mechanic who currently resides near the San Diego area, Don is still turning a wrench, only now he can pick and choose what he wants to work on and when he wants to do it (and he's always busy)...  Donivan65, as he is well know as in the & Vintage Chevy Van Club forums, goes above and beyond "the call of duty" to help other vanners out with their repair or restoration problems.  Don will often supply pictures, diagrams or use his own van to help explain...

In his own way, he is this generation's embodiment of the "Shell Answer Man"!

Work is a four letter word to Don...  No matter what he's doing, he likes to have a little fun too!  

If you would like to know more about Don, check out the member's page about him on main site...