Mick and I aren’t exactly petrol heads when it comes to cars. Mick even less so than me. We don’t go to the V8s and only take a cursory interest in them, although we love the fact that Bathurst hosts them.
However, when there is a big car display on in town we will definitely go along for a look see.
This Easter Bathurst hosted the Panel Van Nationals. Sunday was the one day that the show was open to the public and it was really well supported. Fortunately the rain held off all day.
I am showing my age when this takes me back to my teens. I loved all the stunning panel vans you would see around.
Of course, the most famous van is the Holden Sandman. There were many on display in a variety of colours.
The flashest vans were on display inside the pavilions.
The air brush artwork on some was stunning.
As were the internal fit outs.
I can’t say that I particularly liked the pointy front ends, but this van was so very 70s.
The interior was much more authentic than some of the others, despite them being beautifully executed.
Yep, very 70s.
There were a couple of FJs.
I had to laugh at this sign. It says it all. You’ll have to zoom in to read it properly.
This one gave me a chuckle as well.
There were a few Transit Vans as well.
Ford didn’t seem to do as many decals as Holden, but then I saw the Sunbird. I had forgotten about them.
It was good to see some with surf boards.
The show reminded me of the different vans that some of my mates had.
One mate had a sky blue Escort, but it didn’t have any windows in the back.
This one was sweet, with the picnic basket it the back, rather than being decked out for the drive-in.
Another mate had a little yellow Gemini, but the earlier model than the sole entrant in the show.
I’ll never forget one mate turning up in the roughest old HD Holden van, painted navy blue and I’m sure it was done with a paint brush. The version on display was in a different league.
This was actually my favourite van in the show. It was immaculate in and out.
One mate’s brother actually bought a show winning Panel Van. He only had it for a short while. It was an XY Falcon shape in a golden yellow and was stunning. I only saw one version of that model at the show, not long before we left. I was starting to wonder if my memory was tricking me with the model, but no, it was still OK. This one was rather stunning too.
Even Mick owned an orange XB Falcon panel van for a while in the mid 80s when he was in Western Australia. It was a real work horse travelling between Kalgoorlie and the mine he was working on. Nothing flash, but similar to this one.
And my favourite way back then. Well, there was only one of them on display. I thought there would have been more. My favourite was the Chrysler “Drifter”.
Yes, there was only the one, rather sorry looking example, but it was original and obviously much used.
My favourite colour was the white with blue trim and there was a ute on display, so you can get the drift (pardon the pun) of what they looked like.
There were some other Chrysler vans on display, but not in the Drifter livery.
I had to laugh when we were chatting to a mate at the end of the show. He was telling Mick about all the technical modifications that had been made on some and how clever they are. It just went over both our heads. I just know they look pretty.
So, what of the future of the panel van? There were a couple of modern Sandmans (or is it Sandmen?) I’m not sure if they were a factory release or specials.
Apparently Holden are about to release a new version of the Sandman, but only as a ute or sports wagon, not a panel van. We will have to wait and see what they look like.
Meanwhile, it appears that although the panel van seemed to disappear from the roads many years ago, they are hiding in lots of sheds and being well looked after. I think they will be around for many years to come.
Well done to the organisers for putting on a fabulous show and for sharing it with the people of Bathurst.