Back in the 1970s, the custom van craze had everyone’s attention. Those vans were often wearing wild paint jobs, had unique port windows, and often times a catchy name lettered on the side of the van. With hopped up engines and mag wheels, these rolling love machines looked cool, made some noise, and just about everyone wanted to get a van and have it customized.
Then there are people like Robert Cleland, the owner of Xtreme Xhaust in Fairfield, California. His 1969 Chevy G10 HandyVan isn’t exactly a love machine – unless you love blown big-blocks stuffed into a van. Yeah, a blown big-block stuffed between the seats of a 1969 Chevy Van.
When Rob showed us a few pictures of his van, we had to see more. Was it all show and no go, or did it pack a mighty punch? Well, Rob answered that question before we could even ask it with the video he shared with us above.
The van is smaller than the product of the 1970s, so that makes this beastly powerplant even more impressive. The van has a little bit of custom paintwork, but the body is otherwise stock. Underneath, there’s a custom subframe and an engine trans cradle that was fabbed up by Xtreme Xhaust.
The front suspension has a WACustoms straight axle, and out back you’ll find a Ford 9-inch with a Strange center section running a 4.56 geared spool. Robert’s running a set of Mickey Thompson tires wrapped around Cragar mags, with 15×6-inch up front a 15×12-inch in the rear.
The Heart Of The Beast
Of course, all of that info about wheels, tires, and suspension pale in comparison to what is stuffed down between the seats. Just off of Robert’s elbow, as he’s piloting the Boogy Van, is a 496 cubic inch BBC. The engine is a full roller, and sitting between the heads is an 8-71 Weiand blower fed by a pair of 600cfm Edelbrock carburetors.
Robert has had the van for about four years and spent about three of them putting the Boogy Van together. He says this build is never going to be finished, but he’s always loved these old vans. He tells us that he does drive it every day, and while he only attends local shows he did win one award. “Most Obnoxious” was the reason for his single trophy, and we call that a compliment.
One of the more interesting modifications, however, is what Robert has done with the braking system. He’s running a full-manual TH400 transmission, so he found another use for the clutch pedal: he’s using it as part of a dual brake system, with the clutch pedal serving as a mechanical line lock.
Robert is no stranger to hot rods and musclecars, with a trio of T-buckets and a couple of other interesting vehicles. He also has another “obnoxious” car to his credits: a 1970 more-door Chevelle sititng on a 4×4 chassis – we’d love to see that one, too. Check out Robert’s YouTube channel for some more hijinks and cool rides.
Robert saw our Street Feature series and wanted to know if we would be interested in the Boogy Van. I’ll bet you can guess what our reaction was. If you’ve got an interesting car, or an interesting story, shoot us an email with a couple pictures and a little information on your ride, you might just see it here as one of our Street Features. Still a work in progress? No worries, we’d always like to see a project for our What Are You Working On series.