The Boogie Van is what piqued my interest in converting vehicles into livable houses. I have converted School Buses, Utility Vans and even a couple of VW Buses, none would compare to how awesome the Boogie Vans were. From the Mystery Machine to Dazed and Confused to Fu Manchu, the Van followed me throughout life until it was time to work on one.
My First Time Building a “Livable” Vehicle
I was 17. My first car, a Toyota Carolla that I bought from my sister didn’t live to see a full-year under my belt. She killed that thing and sold it to me for a mere $350. Next up was my dads ’94 Nissan King Cab. It was a small 4-banger front wheel drive pickup truck, but it was cool. It had a lift kit installed and a bed cap. My first thought was to instantly pick up a twin-sized mattress and throw it in the back. It fit, but just barely. This, I would consider, now looking back, was the first time I had the idea to convert a car into a house. From then on, I had many options to do the same, and I did.
A Few Conversions Later…
I had the opportunity to work on a multitude of vehicles. From turning sprinter vans into livable houses to converting full-sized school buses complete with a woodstove, I felt I was ready to handle any conversion that could come my way. My experiences brought me new lessons and “outside the box” thinking when it came to form and function for a small area. I loved working on each and every one of them and the people I was building them for felt the same.
Then Came The Boogie Van
I had enough experience to completely redesign an old 70’s Ford Supervan. The concept was the most tedious project I had done. Where the school buses and the sprinter vans were easy to rip everything out and resheath, the Boogie Van needed a lot more tedious work. The person I was working on it with had the grand design that would be the ultimate swingers pad on wheels. Orange, shag carpet that lined both the floors and walls, a ceiling sized mirror and a waterbed. After all, was said and done, the carpet installed and the frame for the waterbed in place, came time to fill-up. Unfortunately, vans are different from school buses.
The average weight to be help on a school bus can easily accommodate for a waterbed, but a Boogie Van is just a van with a little more reinforcement than your average car. We could see the struts really straining when we filled it up. After filling her up and driving around the block twice, we decided to swap out the bed for other means of coolness.
Boogie Van: Lessons Learned
Don’t put a waterbed in the back of your van. Never think that any van can handle the weight. Don’t expect to have decently working struts. As cool as a Boogie Van is, they are nothing considerably “practical”. The difference between what I would have built in the ’70s vs what I built in 2014 is that they aren’t that cool anymore. Yeah, the novelty is there for people who still want one, but they aren’t nearly for everyone. I can imagine how cool it must be to actually own one. As impractical as they are, though, I still think they’re the coolest vans on the planet.