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Austin Van / Bedford Van

I started out with a pug nose ugly Bedford van (bottom pic). Slow as it looked, but at 17, it was freedom.  Then I saw the "upgraded" Austin Van.  My brother-in-law had one, & I thought it was the coolest thing. When the Salvation army in Paris hung a For Sale on theirs, I was there with my $250 bucks.  2 Austin vans in Paris, and we owned 'em both.

The ideal vehicle to go through the high school years 1966 to 1971. I painted it with a brush with peace signs & other hippy stuff. I replaced the drivers seat with a used arm chair. Nothing like drawing attention to yourself, especially in a town of 6000. Al's had sliding doors (just like the one on the left except in bright yellow) so you could ride around with the doors open. How cool was that? Mine had regular doors but it had the windows - just like the red one below - same color too except mine didn't have the pop up roof. The cops thought...well... I don't now what they thought. I thought it was the most awesome thing. A real bonafide "shaggin' wagon". I don't know how I missed Woodstock. Probably just as well. But there was a time in freshman year in college when a bunch of us guys decided it was the perfect vehicle for a "road trip" to the Kitchener bars and then go visit our marketing professor at home (yup we found him). To this day I don't know why the officer let me go. What a site he saw when he opened the rear door. About 8 guys, drunk out of their minds flopped all over each other greeted him with big smiles on their faces "helloooo occifer". I think he figured compared to them, I was relatively in control. "Get outta' here and don't let me see you again". That wouldn't happen today.

Thankfully the Austin van was uber slow too (68 mph top speed), or I probably may not have survived this one.




















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