In our final instalment of old-school vanning memories, we look back on seven more iconic customs including Mystic Illusions and Invader. Check out more of our favourites in Iconic Vans: Part One and Iconic Vans: Part Two
This article on iconic vans was originally published in the June 2015 issue of Street Machine
1. Mystic Illusions - XY Falcon
Powered by a tough 351 Clevo, Doug and Jeanette Cundy’s XY Falcon was a standout with its wraparound murals and red bubble windows. Doug and Mystic Illusions were also famous for their bushfire-spec smoky burnouts. Sadly, years of neglect by a trusted tradesman made Mystic Illusions a shadow of her former self; she’s now seeing out her days as a yard ornament on the Cundys’ property.
2. Wrest Point - Holden Belmont
Mark Simons’s yellow Belmont was transformed into the casino-themed show-stopper Wrest Point, featuring a Meteor custom nose, Doug Thorley Show Tubes and droolworthy interior. Part of the most famous Van Wheels photo shoot ever [can’t think why – Ed.], and we would love to know what happened to it.
3. Humpy Mekka - Holden FJ hearse
Owned by a man even more famous than his van, the Humpy Mekka FJ hearse and the late Pat Fay were both legends of the Australian car scene. Pat’s FJ underwent many changes in nearly 40 years and amassed hundreds of awards as he toured the country. The murals were the work of the legendary Frank Lee.
4. Dream Warrior - Bedford CF2
Robb Howard became Australia’s first ‘professional vanner’, touring shows all over the country and living off the prize money. His Bedford van, Dream Warrior, ran a tunnel-rammed 350 Chev and featured murals by hot rodding legend Dave Hart. Dream Warrior was recently advertised for sale, but needs some serious TLC to be at its former best.
5. Concorde - Ford XC
Which came first: the Concorde or the Interceptor? Definitely the Concorde, Ford Australia’s jaw-dropping show van designed by styling guru Peter Arcadipane and made a reality with Sam Midgley. It blew everyone away when it was unveiled at the Melbourne Motor Show in ’77.
6. Sheer Heart Attack
Rumoured to have cost $52K to build back in ’79 (!), Sheer Heart Attack was one of NT’s first custom vans, built by David Kouimanis and a group of mates. Set to take on the southern competition in a bid for Australia’s Top Van, Sheer was often shrouded in controversy, and a mystery fire while in transit gutted it completely.
7. Invader 2001 - HZ Sandman
The peak of custom vanning in Australia – gullwing doors, split-level wagon roof and an interior jammed full of the latest electronics, including 3000 LEDs. Greg Mercer’s space-themed HZ Sandman had every panel modified and packed a Weber-fed 308. Sadly, a subsequent owner slid Invader’s chassis and running gear under a ute shell, and the complete custom body with interior was crushed.
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Street Machine is the bible of Aussie modified auto culture, celebrating wild muscle cars, customs and hot rods – and the incredible humans who create them.
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