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Americans are known for their love for adventure, which led to the popularity of the Good Times, Inc. custom vans. This vehicle modification venture specialized in van conversions, bringing a new dimension to Fords, Chevys, and Dodges—one that elicited a spirit of adventure and outdoor fun. Hence, the name “Good Times.”
Although the company ceased operation some decades ago, its vans were once so trendy that a waiting list had to be taken. Let’s take a look at what made the Good Times vans so popular and how the pandemic has influenced the resurgence of the camper van as a safe, family-friendly travel option.
The Good Times van lived up to its name
According to Fonts In Use, the van outfitting brand started in the early 1970s, and, if its impressive sales are any reflection, the company was already a great success during its first couple years, producing 10 vans per day valued at $7,250 apiece.
The company’s factory was based in Arlington, TX, and remained active until around 1989, if not later, according to a February 1975 article in D Magazine quoted by Fonts In Use.
Seventy assembly line staff worked to meet market demand, enhancing the road travel experience with their quirky, customized vans.
Good Times added luxurious elements like stereo systems, waterbeds, carpeting, and other features to enhance owners' comfort and convenience, making road trips all the better.
The pandemic brought unprecedented changes in everyday life. Surprisingly, it also led to a boom in van living as noted by The New York Times. Think of it as owning a tiny home on wheels, which can represent a refreshing sense of minimalist freedom for those seeking to get away from it all.
With social distancing and enhanced health and safety guidelines becoming norms, many people discovered that being out on the road in a tricked-out van kept COVID away.
In light of this, many new companies have emerged, intending to sell or rent modified camper vans to the rapidly expanding market. According to The New York Times, some even have year-long reservation lists, which promise steady business in the long term.
One factor that has led to the boom in #vanlife is supportive apps, which help van drivers locate legal parking areas. The shift for many to work-from-home setups has also meant that folks can work remotely from virtually anywhere, making flexible mobile living a real possibility for those so inclined.
Some popular camper and conversion vans that might suit your budget
Camper vans have long bridged the gap between large motorhomes and tent-style camping. They are a convenient option, namely because their conventional size makes parking and maneuvering a whole lot easier.
If you're looking for a retrofitted van, here are some options from MotorTrend that may suit your taste and budget.
Boho Camper Vans. This company doesn't have a specific line or trims as automakers do; instead, it works on a custom order basis. Just choose a van and Boho will transform its interior into a chill, cozy wooden cabin. Costs vary based on the design, but the base price is $29,000, excluding the van.
Mercedes-Benz Getaway Van. Also known as the Weekender, this customizable Mercedes-Benz camper van offers everything a discerning camper needs. With a starting price tag of $61,564, the van boasts a pop-up roof and a convertible bench in the back that can transform into a bed for two, and swiveling front seats.
Airstream Interstate Nineteen. The crème de la crème of converted camper vans, the Interstate Nineteen comes equipped with a restroom, kitchen, a large bed, and rotating front seats. As MotorTrend explains, it is the smallest “Touring Coach” made by Airstream, yet it will set you back at least $165,143. At this price, the Interstate Nineteen certainly brings luxury to van living.
If you’re thinking of piling into one of these converted camper vans and hitting the road for some good times, don’t head out before getting the right insurance for your vehicle. This is where Jerry can help.
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