Tag: Van Life

By on February 19, 2019

With the 50th anniversary of Woodstock nearly upon us, it was only a matter of time before Volkswagen released a commemorative vehicle acknowledging the Microbus. The Type 2, a staple of the hippie movement, was frequently found painted in psychedelic patterns and hues. Case in point is the “Light Bus,” which appeared in numerous photos of the 1969 Woodstock Art and Music Fair — including the official Woodstock album — and became emblematic of the moment.

Driven by (and named after) the Baltimore-based band that drove it, the vehicle eventually vanished into obscurity.

Three years ago, artist Dr. Bob Hieronimus and Canadian documentarian John Wesley Chisholm sought to acquire the van, hoping to restore it to its former glory. Unfortunately, a six-month search turned up no trace of the van, so the two made do with an unmolested 1963 VW Standard Microbus sourced via a crowd-funding campaign. It may not be the Type 2 that attended the historic music festival, but the attention to detail here barely makes that an issue.  (Read More…)

By on December 30, 2018

Mitsubishi announced that it would be bringing a new concept vehicle to next month’s Tokyo Auto Salon and it’s… certainly something. Based on the upscale “Urban Gear” variant of the new Delica D:5, the show car aims to take Japanese van life offroad by bestowing the MPV with protective scaffolding, a roof rack, more lamps, and some red mudflaps.

Though, with three tiers of forward illumination (four if you count the roof) and one of the boxiest designs we’ve seen since the Volvo 240, the Delica looks like something straight out of an 1980s sci-fi film. Our own Steph Willems even went so far as to claim a rather uncanny resemblance to the titular hero from the film Robocop when presented with the above photo.  (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2018


While the United States seems intent on pushing vans into the work-vehicle category, Europe continues to enjoy them for leisure activities. That’s a shame because there’s a chance some of that interesting van culture would have trickled over the ocean were it not for the chicken tax and unwarranted prejudice.

Volkswagen has several such lifestyle units, with the California being arguably the best in its fleet. Funnily enough, the model isn’t sold in California — nor anywhere else in the U.S. — but a recent update could hint at the direction VW will be taking with the I.D. Buzz. Based on the Transporter and outfitted as a camper van, the California is the true spiritual successor to the microbus. It can certainly trace its linage back to the Type 2 via the Transporter, while its motorhome amenities and optional paint schemes help to finish the job.  (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

There was an odd bit of PR posted to Ford’s media site this week — something that’s not altogether surprising, given the current socio-economic climate. You know about vans, right? Thought so. While the Econoline van is gone and the Windstar/Freestar a distant memory, Ford still has two boxes on wheels ready for the taking.

How’d you like to live in one? (Read More…)

By on February 6, 2018

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2018

Nobody knows why the custom van lifestyle ended. Despite the keep on truckin’ imperative, the 1970s ended and took those kaleidoscopic fun-wagons with it. Maybe the Baby Boomers grew up and decided to stop smoking weed in the back of large vehicles with words like “Vandy Apple” painted on the side so they could get a real job and start smoking weed at home.

Perhaps the trend simply passed and foreign-built economy cars were the next must-have item. All we know for sure is that it was a mistake.

Fortunately, vans have only gotten better since the ’70s ended. The objectively perfect minivan had its heyday when leisure travel vans still held a corner of the market. While not so popular anymore, the van’s unparalleled versatility has kept it a viable option for work fleets and individual private owners who want a jack-of-all-trades vehicle in the driveway.

Mercedes-Benz is hip to this, revealing its third-generation Sprinter with all the customizable variables one would expect. However, it’s also adding load of new technologies and hardware as part of the brand’s “adVANce” philosophy. That includes new internet integration, driveline configurations, and a forthcoming electric model. Does this amount to the most exciting model in Mercedes’ lineup? (Read More…)

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