I am a Ford Econoline Van. I was purchased in the year of my birth, 1962, by Lad VanCleave of Eatonville, Washington. Lad owned the Ford dealership and used me for his parts delivery. His little girl used to accompany him and would often be seen riding atop my doghouse acting as co-pilot.
I was a daily driver for many years until I became old and feeble at which time I was garaged, stripped and forgotten.
In 1997 John Kosche rescued me by purchasing me from Lad who went from being a mutual classic car enthusiast to a very dear friend. Along with my rusty shell of a body John also inherited nearly every part imaginable, still in original boxes, to restore my body. Lad had great intentions of working on me himself someday so had stock piled many of the original items needed to make my heart beat again.
For more than 5 years John lovingly restored me with pride, precision, skill and patience to the award winner you see here. He customized my exterior and interior in excellent detail and rebuilt me to show quality. All of this was witnessed by his grandson who from the age of three to my completion asked a multitude of questions which lead to his love for me as well later on.
A 351 EFI fuel system, 235 HP, 8 Cyls, 5.8L Disp. Paint and interior upholstery perfect. C-4 Automatic transmission column shift, 9” Ford rear end, disc brake front end. Custom 3” Flowmaster exhaust system, custom gas filler, LED tail lamps, all chrome fully restored. Custom built rear bench seats, cloth upholstery. Bridgestone radials (225/60R15), new alloy wheels. Custom gauges and wiring. All systems restored. Custom vintage air conditioning, custom CD stereo system and alarm. All of this and more is who I am today.
John was very proud of me and Lad was very proud of John and his accomplishment. We showed off quite a bit together from Car shows, Show and Shines, parades and car club tours. Most affairs were local but we did some travelling also.
Together we garnered many trophies including Best In Show, which we were awarded from a field of over 400 cars in 2001 at the National Fordfest Car Show in Sacramento, California. As a side note, remember Lad’s little girl who rode with her Dad? She grew up and became a Las Vegas dancer. John used to jokingly brag that he was the only guy who owned a van that had a Las Vegas showgirl park her backside on his doghouse.
When John passed in 2012 it seemed only natural that his grandson Jacob Tiegs become my proud owner. We have achieved our own victories together what with Jake taking pride in me and showing me off. We have won our share of trophies, too. One humorous one was from an all van show. We won the award for “Most Likely To Conceive In”!
In memory of Lad and most especially his Gramps, Jake continues to care for me and show me off every chance we get. With a continued mutual love between vehicle and driver perhaps our trophy case will “runneth” over. It really doesn’t matter if it does or not, however. The main thing is I remain Gramp’s gift to Jake and live to make them both proud.