"The Galloping Goose" ,
my Fullsize Van with travel-trailer
As a member of the circle of narrow gauge friends, Kiel, Germany, I traveled during the years 1986 - 1990 all over germany and other european countrys, showing my On39 1/4-modules. In 1987, my VW-dasher-station with cargo-trailer with canvas-roof was no longer big enough for transportation of the modules and the equipment like buildings and rolling stock.
The meetings and exhibitions were often in sportsheds or other halls, were I was able to stay with a motorhome or a traveltrailer. This was the reason, why in 1987 I bought a Volkswagen Vanagon, type "Multivan", which I got in november. The next step for my career as a custom-car-fan was buying my first custom-car-magazines, and at last, visiting the 7. international van & custom-car-show in Sinsheim, South Germany. At this show, during lining up for the convoy, the foto of my vanagon was done.
As you can see on the photo, at this time I had modified my "Bully" (german affectionate name for all european vans of this size) with Mangels chromed wheels (7x15 with 215/65 in front and 235/60 on the rear), a frontspoiler and a rear spare-wheel-carrier with chromed cover.
The next logical step was becoming a member of the (at that time) biggest german exclusively van club, the "Friends of VANS, Hamburg, Germany". With the other members of this club, I visited some interesting custom car- & van-meetings until the dissolving of the club.
During fall 1990, big problems with my friends in the narrow gauge modelrailroad scene appeared. The reason for this was the much meetings during the year, we have done ( up to 7 times a year). The troubles growed up, and at last, I cancled my membership.
Meanwhile I learned how cheap (without the gas-price) it is to drive a fullsize VAN with a V8-engine in germany. At the moment (1997), my Volkswagen van with a diesel-engine coasts more tax and insurance than my V8-van. So, I cancled the planed rebuilding of my vanagon and ordered a used VAN (Dodge or Chevy) with a raised roof at a german dealer. What a bad idea. The van was to expensive and in bad condition. First, to get the german licence, the whole exhaust system behind the header hat to be renewed. Next I had to buy a set of new wheel-tyres. The whole interior was in very bad condition. Also, the engine was in no better condition. During spring 1993, I removed most of the interior and build up a bed with enough space to sleep. After that, I got a used V8 Chevy SB 305, which was rebuild of two friends of mine, for a reasonable price - many thanks to them forever. With the empty van - only a bed carrying -, during the next years until summer 1995 I visited many meetings in Germany and the Benelux-states. In 1993 at the Big City Run, Amsterdam, Netherlands, I won a cup for the exterior. For this VAN, I had constructed a small kitchentrailer. I used a open cargo-trailer, gvw 1.300 lbs., added a sidewall raising and a metal cover. In this trailer, there was a camping-refrigerator, 2 cans with freshwater, 1 can for sewage, a bottle with 11 lbs. LPG, a sink and a LPG-cooker. Also, there was a beer-box, a table, two chairs and a grill. This trailer was very useful, but after a distance of 6.000 miles the tyres were defect. The reason for this problem was an incorrect axle, which was defect produced.
Trying to get a new axle was very hard and needed a very long time. So, in spring 1995 I bought my first Eriba Pan travel-trailer. I removed the refrigerator from the kitchen-trailer and built it in the travel-trailer. Immediatly I used this trailer on my next trip to a meeting in South Germany. After return, I weighted the travel-trailer and found out, that the real weight was the same as the GVW. Because of this problem, I sold the trailer and ordered a new Eriba Pan T with a small rest room. As I got the new trailer, the first thing I did was driving with the trailer to a paint shop. After adding new paint to the trailer, which looks good behind my VAN at that time, I fetched the trailer to my home and added some more parts like a stereo-radio, more lighting equipment and other parts for the show-future of the trailer.
The picture shows the interior of the travel-trailer during the Halloween-Custom-Run 1996 in Spa, Belgium.
During summer 1995, more and more rumours came up, that in future cars without a controlled catalystic exhaust system are not allowed to drive during an OZON (O³)-alert. So I decided to sell my VAN and buy a newer VAN with such a exhaust system. In august 1995, I found a GMC Vandura 2500, model 1987, first registration 1988, in Germany since 1989, equipped with the needed trailing hitch. The price was convenient, and also, the interior was rebuilt. So, I bought this VAN and used it one week later on my next trip to the friendship-meeting of the "Franken Vanner" in South Germany. But again, I had bad luck. The weather was very rainy during this meeting, and on saturday morning the bedarea was very wet. I had to face the fact, that there is a leak in the raised roof. Thanks god, in summer 1997 I found the leak and was able to seal it. Since that date, the van is dry. And in august 1997, together with the offical car check, I gave the van into the garage for check up. Since this time it runs very well.
With my VAN and his travel trailer I visited from april to november custom-car-meetings in Germany, Netherland and Belgium. Because the VAN was not perfect in my opinion, I only used the travel-trailer for Show-N-Shine. I also need the travel-trailer to transport the food and for cooking coffee.
|Halloween Run 1996 Spa (Belgium)
the passenger side of my VAN
|graphics on the driver side bay windows|
|Ready to go for the VAN-Rallye
only the German A1 direction Koeln