Car Craft Magazine's 1976 Mini-van Sweepstakes

Article as written in November 1976 issue of Car Craft


Maybe we should have called it the Silver Bullet. Eye catching, isn't it? If nothing else, our little Vest-Pocket Van is certainly going to turn some heads in this winter's ISCA show car circuit. You haven't heard? Listen, here's the deal. In a few days we're going to be turning this little gem over to the International Show Car Association officials, and they, in turn, are going to be transporting the car around to some of the major car shows during the coming months. At each of these shows listed below there will be a special display area complete with entry blanks, information about the car, and the complete rules on how you can go about winning the car for yourself. It's really very simple: Fill out an entry blank, drop it into the box, raise your eyes heavenward, and hope that your card is the lucky on drawn. Obviously the odds on your winning are going to be determined by the total number of entries.

Now that you've seen what you're going to win, maybe we ought to fill you in on what we've been doing to the mini-van since you saw it last. Obviously the fender flares have been completed, and then we turned the car over to Bob Hatchman and Derryl Fitch of California Ideas custom painting in Monrovia, California. They hauled it into their deepest cave, and two weeks later this is what they rolled out the front door. Their layout and color scheme is without question exceptionally sharp. In case your wondering what kind of silver paint they used, worry not. Not one once of silver paint is on the car; its hue was achieved by applying multiple coats of pure metallic. The color bands are candy blue and red/orange, after which the car was liberally sprayed with clear lacquer.

On the inside things have been fancied up to match. No longer must one be bothered by such mundane tasks as cranking the windows up and down by hand, as Vilem B. Haan, Inc. of Los Angeles has supplied a set of Maserati Window Lifts. They're a blessing when you're cruising and the guy on your right wants to know something about the car.

Obviously, no up-to-date machine is complete without two-way communications, and in that area few can rival the products of Hy-Gain Electronics of Lincoln, Nebraska. The Vest-Pocket Van has been equipped with Hy-Gain's newest, and to our way of thinking, neatest combination CB/AM/FM antenna. One of the biggest problems cb fans have been running into lately in an inordinate numer of thefts, and this new antenna system eliminates the tell-tale CB antenna system of old. The junction box to mate the regular radio's wiring and that of the CB unit fits handily beneath the dash, and the existing hole in the fender is just the right size.

Lest you worry about someone spotting your CB by looking through the window some night, Hy-Gain has the answer for that as well with their Model 9 Transceiver (PN 2679-PR). A full 23-channel transceiver, the beauty of this unit is that the complete radio is mounted beneath the driver's seat. The wiring for the microphone has been run to a handy jack located beneath the dash so that when it's not in use it can be stored out of sight in the glovebox. The microphone contains all of the controls, including a digital readout channel indicator, volume and squelch controls, and a mini-speaker. Since the small speaker is less than perfect we've mounted a 7-inch Hy-Gain speaker beneath the dash for an added boost.

Since we installed a good CB radio and antenna, the next step was to build a good sound system around it. Our choice was a Motorola in-dash AM/FM Stereo/Cassette unit(Model TC876AX) which provides excellent reception and sound reproduction. The unit has everything from a fader-control to a new Pow-R-Boost switch that dramatically increases the higher tones. A fast forward feature also allows you to "edit" your cassettes.

As we'd earlier installed that highly efficient IECO suspension system we decided to add two more items to complete the car's GT-type feel. The first was a Racer Walsh steering wheel measuring just 13 inches across with a fully foam padded rim and brushed aluminum spokes. the smaller steering wheel made the already quick steering seem even quicker. Because the car had been lowered so dramatically by the suspension kit, and those huge fender flares and front plow made it appear even lower, nothing would do but that we added a set of heavily chromed Mercury Tube Industries sidepipes. Finally the car's appearance was perfect, save for the necessary low profile tires and trick wheels that every GT machine must have. Our friends at Autocessories of Sepulveda, California: 13x7 Dan Gurney Victory polished GT mags with a set of Pro-Trac B60x3.00 raised white letter tires.

Now that the project is truly complete. A mini-van that corners like a GT car, and looks good enough to win custom car show trophies. And it will most likely end up being yours. Check the list of show location below, fill out as many entry forms as you can get away with, and good luck in the drawing.

The Vest-Pocket Van Pinto will be appearing in the following major championship ISCA shows:
New York: November 19-21
Chicago: November 25-28
Detroit: January 6-9
Cleveland: February 4-6
Kansas City: March 25-27
Display areas with complete entry information will be available at the following ISCA shows:
Vancouver, B.C.: October 29-31
Portland: November 4-7
Seattle: November 11-14
Salt Lake City: November 25-28
Denver: December 2-5
Detroit: January 6-9
Cincinatti: January 14-16
Miami: January 21-23
New Orleans: January 28-30
Cleveland: February 4-6
Birmingham: February 11-13
Indianapolis: February 18-20
Washington D.C.: March 11-13
Kansas City: March 25-27
Omaha: April 1-3
Winnipeg: April 8-10
Edmonton: April 22-24
Calgary: April 29-May 1

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