The History Of How The Humble Van Came To Be

Posted Posted by AAMCO Colorado in Blog, Colorado Automotive Advice     Comments No comments
Sep
4

How Did The Van Come To Be?

How The Van Came To Be
The van is a useful and practical vehicle that has a number of purposes. Vans have the ability to transport people and goods efficiently, which is why they are commonly used for commercial purposes by many businesses. They are also driven by people with large families, as a minivan has enough room to fit seven passengers, or sometimes more, comfortably.

But have you ever wondered how this type of vehicle was invented? What were the first types of vans and how did they evolve into the vehicles that we use today?

The Origins of the Van

The name “van” is derived from the word caravan, which referred to a covered vehicle. The early precursor was the sedan deliveries that were used in the USA in the late 1930s to the 1950s. These large vehicles delivered goods and services through the country. Later in the 1960s, compact vans such as the Volkswagen Bus started to appear.

It was the Volkswagen Transporter that established the template for many vans of the future. It was developed in 1950 in Germany and it was capable of transporting nine people with its variety of seating options. This van was built with a rear-mounted and air-cooled four cylinder engine and was also known as the “micro-bus”. Inspired by the Volkswagen Transporter, many other car manufacturers attempted to create their own versions in order to get a piece of the success, such as the Corvair GreenBrier.

The design of the van began to evolve, from the air-cooled rear-mounted engine design of the Corvair van to the flat nosed Ford Falcon with the engine mounted behind the front seats. Around this time, Ford released the standard or full sized van, which had the engine in the front under a short hood. It also used the taillights and components from pickup trucks. Over time, these vans evolved slimmer shapes and longer noses and became more aerodynamic in design. For example, the Dodge Sportsman extended its long wheelbase with a plug to create a van that could carry fifteen passengers. These large commuter vans have been used as an alternative to carpooling in order to perform ride shares.

Evolution of a Vehicle

These vans became popular with the general public as well as commercial enterprises and they were used as cargo and passenger vehicles. Car manufacturers also made vans with sliding doors and cutaway vans that were intended to be used as campers, ambulances, box vans and other vehicles. Also, manufacturers would modify the original body in order to create custom vans for specific companies and purposes.

There are many different types of vans, from the full size van to the cutaway van to the minivan. One of the most novel versions to be created was the Stout Scarab, manufactured by Stout Engineering Labs. It was a unique and strange “office on wheels” that was made in Art Deco style with an aluminium fuselage from an airplane and a low, flat floor that allowed for more interior space. However, this was a bit of a special experimental vehicle and only one hundred were produced.

The Modern Van

These days, the van has evolved a great deal from its early origins and it has become a sleeker, more modern and efficient design. Automobile manufacturing has shifted mostly to Japan and Korea and Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai have become major manufacturers of vans. These days vans are manufactured with all of the modern developments, from power steering to fuel efficient technology to power windows. The van has come a long way from its boxy and primitive origins to become a very powerful and useful vehicle.

Calvin Ford is a writer who believes that the van has developed into one of the most useful tools for any business to invest in. However, when looking for used transit vans for sale he recommends researching the history of each van before you decide to make a purchase.

At AAMCO Colorado, we love cars as much as you do. But we also want your vehicle to drive in a safe and properly operating condition.  If you live in  Colorado, and need a Transmission Service,  Radiator RepairBrake Repair,  or any other Automotive Repair, please contact your local AAMCO Colorado Locationto schedule an appointment. Because those who know, go to AAMCO!

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