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Monday, November 24, 2014

Johnny Lightning Big 3 Boogie Vans

Now for Johnny Lightning's try at their shot of the van's of the 1970's with a series that they created in the 2000's known as Boogie Vans.  Each van represent each company for the Big 3 American automakers, and each has their unique way of showing off with wild colors and shapes on the body.  Out of all of this psychadellic colors, there's these three plain white service vans.  There the type that looks good for a dealership diorama, and I though they were cool, so I picked up each version that I can find.  I was surprised (and lucky) to get all three over a period of months, never thinking I'd ever see a Dodge version until I found one at a former major toy store mall retailer.

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Short and Squatty Chevy

The Chevy seems odd: it's based on the short-wheelbase model so it has a pudgier appearance than the long-wheelbase models.  Also it has the same look as the Racing Champions version even though this casting was designed under the Playing Mantis-era years before JL bought out RC2/Ertl and started using their tools.  The front has a nicely-detailed grille and lights; check out the touches for the center grille vent openings.  The sides and rear is all covered after the B-pillars (even the rear doors) and has door handles on all doors (you see this, Greenlight?).  The Craiger mags look good here, with the rears a bit taller for a raked appearance.  The interior has a nicely-done dash with the correct steering wheel setup (see again, Greenlight?).  Blue bowtie with Chevrolet parts and service adorn the side center panels and rear door and gives it an old-school touch.  The metal base features a well-laid-out design over the Greenlight version with the gas tank position in the rear (did I mention this is based on the 1975 model).  This parts van was the very first one in the Boogie Van line.

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The hip-to-be-square Ford

Next up is the Ford Econoline with its boxy-look that looks more crisp than the bloated Chevy.  The front wears a crate grille with round headlights and a slightly-canted down hood with FORD letters.  The sides have more body lines with integrated side lights, while the rear has the same blocked-out rear windows as the Chevy with vertical round oval taillights.  The blue Ford oval logo with Parts and Service also resides  on the middle sides and rear doors.  The interior features a more cleaner look with less of a hump protruding the passenger compartment.  The dashboard is more squarer than the Chevy's dashboard.  The metal body features a more robust drivetrain detail than the Chevy, and the wheels featured to cool Hot Wheels Redline-style 5-spoke.  The Econoline has always been based on Ford Trucks since the 1960's, but during the later years the engine and hood would creep more forward to the final look shown here.  Unlike the GM van's the Ford's were redesigned earlier in 1992, but still continued on until 2015 when the Transit will replace it.  Power is from a 351 Windsor V8 with three-speed automatic.

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Johnny-be-late Dodge

The final one is also the last new tooling for the Boogie Vans line, the Dodge B-150 Van.  This one uses a longer wheelbase with windows that are detailed at the back even though they are also blacked-out with the body just like the other two.  The Dodge seems to be the Goldilocks and Three Bears "Just Right" of the group as the details and dimensions look right and the stance is level and not raked, even on the 5-spoke wheels.  The front has a black grille with integrated headlights and signal lights.  The sides have a middle body line that wraps around the rear to taillights that are horizontal and change positions over its lifespan.  The interior has a driver-centric setup with gauges, radio, and ventilation controls all located closer to the driver.  The Dodge and Parts and Service logos are separate from each other: Dodge logo to the right of Parts and Service on the sides and occupying the left rear door as the Parts and Service take the other door.  The base seems less-detailed of the bunch with missing exhaust system and two pads on the frame i'm still trying to figure out.  The Dodge van was a late addition, but joined the decade just in time.  The van would get redesigned in 1994 to match the new Ram pickup, and get the new Ram name in the early 1990's as the Ram Van.  The dashboard, oddly, stays the same until adopting the 1998 Ram pickup's unit with dual airbags in 1998.  In 2003 the Ram Van's life was cut short to allow foreign-made vans from the Mercedes Sprinter and now the Fiat-based ProMaster.  Powertrain would be the 5.9L V8 and three-speed automatic.

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These three vans, while not appealing, look great in anyone's dealership or service department diorama, whether you're a Chevy, Ford, or Dodge/MOPAR fan, and their bare bones inners would make them more inept for typical parts delivery than fancy shaggin' wagon's!

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