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How to Make a Hippie Van

by Sameca Pandova

Nostagia for the 1960s can even extend to the hallmark of 1960s automobiles; the hippie van. As much a rolling statement as a piece of automotive machinery, the hippie van embodied the free and laid-back lifestyle of the kids born from America's WWII generation. Creating a modern day hippie van requires two things; a van and some imagination.

Find a van. The rise of minivans and SUVs has made real vans harder to source, but many companies including Ford, Dodge and Chevy still produce, or have until recently produced, traditional vans. The hippie vans of the 1960s were often the VW Samba Bus, but unless you are capable of restoring a vehicle that is 40 years old, you are better off buying a modern van and customizing it. A good option are conversion vans that were factory vans that were luxuriously customized by aftermarket companies to include interior lighting, leather captain chairs and wood trim.

Paint the exterior. A hippie van will be one that has a multitude of colors, graphics designs and patterns instead of a monotone paint job. Popular schemes include tie-dye colors, fantasy settings or even painting murals along the side. With the rise of automotive vinyl wrappings, you can also opt to have custom pattern vinyl cut and applied to your van. A big plus of this option is you can remove the vinyl when you want to sell the van.

Install shag carpeting and interior trim. Remove the interior seats and interior carpeting and replace it with shag carpeting. You can also have the van's headliner redone with shag carpeting as well. Bright vivid colors are expected, avoid the dull or conservative shag offerings.

Accessorize the interior. You can add a variety of things to the interior of your hippie van such as covering the rear bench in velour, installing a small disco globe into the roof that draws power from the interior lights and running LED accessory lights along the roof. The goal is to make the interior of the van reflect a lounge, rather than a vehicle.

Items you will need

About the Author

Based near Chicago, Sameca Pandova has been writing since 1995 and now contributes to various websites. He is an attorney with experience in health care, family and criminal prosecution issues. Pandova holds a Master of Laws in health law from Loyola University Chicago, a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Case Western.

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