For the uninitiated, the National Truck-in is an event exclusively for vans,and panel trucks, on a national scale. What goes on at the Nationals? There is a judged van show, games and activities for both kids and adults, live music, seminars,vendors and more. The vanners will come in for up to a week and camp. Some just in their van, some with camp trailers some in tents. But The attendees at the National Truck-in all have a van or panel truck. Most would be considered to be a custom van, to some degree. The custom van has been described as being part hot rod and part RV. Some vans are more hot rod than RV and some vans are more RV than hot rod, but nearly all have some aspects of both. The custom van originally grew out of the 70s hippie movement, and became very popular with the younger crowd.
For the first time people were buying what were then nothing but bare bone work trucks and converting them to personal use, and personalizing them with interiors, paint and accessories never before seen on a "work truck". This was the birth of the sport utility vehicle that is so popular today. Vanners started it all !
The Younger crowd is now the older crowd, but they are still into their custom vans. And there is now another younger generation discovering the versatility of the van.
The most popular vintage of van is the pre 80's American built vans. The 60's vintage vans, what we call early models, are wildly popular. Those are the vans with the engine inside between the seats. A well preserved Early van can bring 5 to 10 times what the van was worth new. The early 70's vans are also highly coveted. That classic custom van look is just too cool.
You will see vans in any stage of customization from the bone stock to fully finished highly polished show vans. But, you don't need a finished "fancy" van to come to the National Truck-in, or any van event for that matter. All vans are welcome no matter what state, or condition they are in. All that matters is you are a van person and you are there. Sharing your interest in the vans with like minded people. People who will become your friends instantly.
This years Nationals marks the 45th year for this event. The first Nationals was held in Tiger run, Colorado, in 1973. The idea for this national gathering of vans was proposed by the then editor of Hot Rod magazine,Terry Cook. The first was hosted by Rocky Mountain Vans. The decision after that first Nationals, was to pass the honor of hosting the event around to worthy clubs around the country and the Nationals would travel to different locations each year. Rocky Mountain Vans being the original host accepted the task of awarding the Nats each year to the best bidding club or group. After a decade, R.M.V. set up a board of directors to take their place, as it became too much for them to continue. The National Truck-in is unique in the automotive world as it is the only National event run totally by the average vanners without any professional promoter being involved. All the hosting groups give much of the proceeds to charity. No one profits personally . All vanners involved in running the event are volunteers.
When coming to the Nationals or any vanner run Truck-in you will find the people very welcoming and friendly. Maybe it's time You got a van. Coop, pres. Vans on the Run