Opinion: Vanning Perspective


One of the VK brothers hit me up and asked about my introduction post. He asked me about my perspective on vans in general.

I told him I could only offer my perspective on vanning and everyone interprets things differently.

The term vanning is a term that has been used since the 70s/80s according to my research. I have seen it used in a broad sense such as 70s VW bus or someone using a camper van to the guys in Japan that build the extreme looking Toyota Hiace van.

My perspective of vanning takes the approach of an enthusiast of the van itself first and foremost. I want to see what the engineers and designers see in the vehicle. I want to appreciate the vehicle as is.

Then, I imagine the potential of the vehicle.

I feel this perspective gives me more appreciation of the vehicle. I am the type of person who gets sentimental with my cars/vans. I feel that you don't only invest time and money into a vehicle, but emotions too. That common phrase of "Blood, sweat and tears" comes to mind.

The fallacy of this mentality, if we can call it that, is that I end up enjoying vehicles inclusively. That means I can enjoy an unmodded van and be content with it. Again though, I have to really feel for the van. If I don't, then I overlook or don't consider it.

An example: Style wise, I wasn't impressed with the 1st generation Nissan Quest.

Now 3rd generation Nissan Quest, that is something I wouldn't mind owning!!!

Having that perspective can also be a downfall in a sense I might not build a vehicle to the extremes like I used to or want to.

What does that mean? Part of my perspective is functionality in daily use. Not to say that any of the VK family with bagged vans can't or don't drive daily. I'm sure many of them do.

For me, the functionality of daily use by family members who are not careful when driving (ahem, my wife) and kids (many of us have kids) that don't understand the precious care of the van (in this case, my 2014 Sienna). You know how many times my kids have rode their bikes near my van only to have the end of the handlebars contact it? With an older van, the small stuff doesn't seem to bug me as I inherited a bunch of dings and scrapes with my 95 Previa.

As for practicality, well modding any vehicle can be considered "impractical". So in that sense, I don't see an issue with having a van that looks nice! (again my perspective).

I am truly envious of the people who can keep a really nice show car.

The last part is enjoying the van as is. Even though my Sienna is stock height, adding some of the small body aero such as a front lip or top wing extension makes the van a bit more attractive to a van that already looks good to me.

With that mindset, I can look at a stock van and be happy as long as I can add some touches to it. I am/can be an observer and enjoy vans in their purest stock for to the most outrageously modded van.

Example. I can easily enjoy a Mitsubishi Delica as is. I can also enjoy the Toyota Hiace as a stock van, camper van, "stanced" van or the insanely custom, long front and rear bumpers, super wide body and Pikachu wing.

Since I like the Toyota Hiace in its basic stock form, I can enjoy it at all levels of modification as long as it fits my narrative of tuning.

With styling, well, I always tell people, styling is subjective. Some people hate seeing a van with aero and some with throw the rice word around.

But most of these guys don't take the time to appreciate the van and know the person who owns it. Being quick to judge has always happened, it's just now it is more prominent because people on social media can share things and have a "mob mentality" about a topic. Others are just one dimensional and only don't consider other vehicles besides what fits their narrative (for example someone into drifting only).

As an enthusiast, I always take a step back and see what the vision the owner wants me (as an observer)

to see. I look at the time they put into a car/van. Often times, I talked the owner to get a better perspective.

In conclusion, I hope you don't mind me ranting or sharing my opinion on these topics. I want to make sure that just because you don't have an Odyssey or a well done 3rd generation Sienna that you don't fit into the vanning lifestyle.

Let's enjoy vanning - F31roger

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