Editor's note: This is part of a series at KSL.com featuring some of Utah's coolest cars. If you own a customized vehicle — from sports cars to semitrucks — email firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of the vehicle and a brief description for consideration.
SANDY — Gus Steadman and his 1964 Ford Econoline eight-door custom cargo van have experienced a lot in their 40 years together.
Steadman and his van have done everything. The Sandy resident said that together they’ve been to too many campsites and music festivals.
“I can get in and drive it and feel like I’m 19 again,” Steadman said. “When people talk about ‘back in the day’ there is no ‘back in the day’ for me because it’s always ‘the day’ when I’m driving it.”
Steadman said that “there aren’t many vans like this around.” The ‘64 Ford features eight doors, including two on the back of the vehicle. The inside of the custom cargo van features a hardwood floor and paneling from the ‘70s. Amenities include a DVD player and a couch that folds into a bed.
Steadman bought the van in California while he was living in Palm Springs. He took the vehicle with him to Grand Teton National Park, where he met his wife, Janet, while they were working together in the Jackson Lake Lodge. He describes the van as “a festival van.”
Steadman lists his son, Dallen, as his co-pilot. The duo has driven to many music festivals in the van, of which Steadman said the Red Rocks and Ned Fest, both in Colorado, are his favorites to attend.
“It always brings good vibes,” Steadman said. “There’s always a good feeling when you’re in (the van.) It gives out good vibes.”
In addition to music festivals, the '64 Ford is great for camping for Steadman and his daughter, Paige. Steadman said their camping trips to Moab are some of his favorite expeditions in the van.
One of the vehicle's most unique quirks is the location of its engine. It sits between the driver and passenger seat in a casing.
“It looks like a table between the two seats,” Steadman said. “I’ve got it where you can put water bottles and stuff on it.”
In the past 40 years, Steadman has done all of the work on his custom cargo himself, aside from the paint job. When he bought the vehicle from a friend, who he described as “a bit of a gearhead,” it was in good condition, and he has worked hard to keep it that way.
“Prepping the body to have it painted was some work,” Steadman said. “It sat for a while and had some rust, so I went to the boneyard and got some donor parts. I was able to restore it and then I had it painted.”
The custom cargo features its original motor and transmission. The straight-six and its "three-on-the-tree" manual transmission team up to top out at about 65 mph, but that’s all Steadman needs. After all, it’s not about getting there fast when getting there is so fun.
Wes Mangum is a Utah State University student and a citizen of Logan. Wes can be reached on Twitter @hjmangum or by email at email@example.com.