BACK in the 70s giveaway cars were properly customised vans, and some of the awesomest giveaway cars were built for the coolest stations on the wireless.
Thus the Coca Cola/3XY Freedom Roller was born. It’s based around a more user-friendly CF Bedford and built in the workshops of Vanmakers Australia.
John Evans was the man responsible for much of the design and fabrication of the 3XY vans. “I knew some of the DJs at 3XY,” John says. “We rode dirt bikes together so they knew my background and figured I’d be the man for the job.”
A set of Manta flares, made famous on John’s HQ van Tangerine Dream II, were adapted and combined with XC Fairmont headlamps and a custom grille for a truly unique appearance. Black, yellow, orange and red stripes were laid over the white base, while K-Mac suspension, Sunraysia rims and a Garrett turbo for the 202 were added to downplay the ‘commercial’ roots of the van.
So just a few weeks out from the Bathurst Van Nationals Don Haile and John Evans decided to throw together a tribute van. John looked after the outside while Don was overseas and Don got a shock when he returned. “I said to John: ‘You son of a bitch. Now we’re going to have to do the interior!’” he recalls. Don got busy decking out the rear in a mix of coloured vinyls, wrapping laminated timber chairs and fitting a round-top table covered in Coke livery and John blew the dust off his bubble-window skills and whipped up a pair of red versions for the rear barn doors.
The Freedom Roller was a huge hit at the Nationals, picking up 6th Top Lifestyle Van, and draws plenty of attention on the streets. “A lot of the comments come from ‘era-correct’ ladies,” Don says. “It’s great that the van and long-gone 3XY name are the source of fond memories for many people.”
So join us as we sit down for a chat with Don and John in the Van’s roomy interior. If you want more then grab a copy of SM June 2015; it’s 244 pages and chock full of cool vans, including a full feature on the Freedom Roller. Don’t miss it.