Every vanner has a story… or 10… and they enjoy sharing them. Dave and I listened to quite a few on Saturday at Super Somer – A Custom Van/Truck Event, in Somers, CT. The day was humid, but we paid no attention as we got talking to folks and photographing plenty of one-of-a-kind vans. More than three hours very passed quickly.
We watched Paul Mennett, of Cruisin’ New England, interview Pete Guthrie for a segment on vanning to be aired later this year on the NESN TV channel. Pete’s van, Golden Voyager, was not to be missed, though I could say that about each van Dave and I photographed.
Guthrie, president of the Spindle City Truckers back home in Fall River, MA, bought his van on July 10, 1981. “I’ve done all the work myself except for the paint and artwork. The 1970s were a great time in America. Gas was about $1.00-a-gallon. People were working. Even in the early 1980s, it only cost $12.00 to fill Golden Voyager up.”
Ron and Lucy McCasland drove 289 miles from Saranac Lake, NY, to Super Somer in their van, Knighty. “We live in our van most of the summer, traveling to different events. We’ve been vanning since 1977 and we’ve attended this event from the time it started as Boogie Bash. It’s been called Super Somer for the last 10 years.” The McCaslands got into vanning when they joined the Adirondack Show-Van-Ists, a club that had its beginnings at Plattsburgh Air Force Base in New York. Eventually, the club members who were servicemen were transferred elsewhere and the club consisted of the only McCaslands, who now belong to Northeast Custom Vans.
Jim Robinson drove from North Bennington, VT to show his 1942 fire truck. The yellow and green beauty was an eye-catcher at last year’s Super Somer, when Dave and I got our first taste of a large-scale van event.
Trish Kenney and her husband Joe “Rooster” Kenney met while vanning. “We were both involved in vanning before we were married,” said Trish, owner of Emerald City. “I was selling t-shirts as a vendor at the Washington County Fairgrounds, and Joe bought one. Well he bought a few,” she laughed. “I love t-shirts,” according to Joe, whose van is called Neverending Story.
Bernie Aunchman traveled two and a half hours from Schenectady, NY in Blubeast. “I’ve owned this 1978 van for seven years. I’d say I’ve done 85% of the work on the van. I didn’t do the wiring, but I designed 100% of the work. I added the skulls and true fire this season.”
Brian Leite drove Wild Side, a 1977 Dodge B200 van, from Somerset, MA. “I bought the van from a plumber in 1983 so I could move my drum set around. I met some guys in a van club and decided to join. I haven’t missed a Boogie Bash or Super Somer event. “I did all of the custom work, including the body work, and built the engine. Vanning is an addicting hobby, but it keeps me out of trouble. The name Wildside came from a Motley Crue song. I’m a big fan. Plus people have always said I was a little bit wild. I never planned to get into vanning. It just happened.”