The Most Popular Vans in Classic Films and TV Shows
From handymen to hippie weekenders and everything in between, the van is a permanent fixture on Britain’s roads, spawning various cultural tropes.
While not as glamorous as James Bond’s Aston Martin or as retro-futuristic as Marty McFly’s DeLorean, the trusty old van still plays an enduring part in TV and cinema history.
Here, van specialists Van Ninja celebrate the best of these four-wheeled celebrities from both big screen and small.
Perhaps the most iconic van ever, B.A Baracus’ custom black GMC in The A-Team is a symbol of 80s television before crossing over to the big screen in 2010. The van was the A-Team’s main form of transportation when busting out of military prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Sporting a racing red stripe, custom spokes and blacked out windows, the GMC wasn’t the most subtle but did assist the gang in escaping various scrapes with gun battles and hanging air time.
Del Boy’s Reliant Regal
Nothing fitted the Trotter clan’s comedic image better than Del Boy’s canary yellow Reliant Regal (often mistaken for Robin) spluttering into view in Only Fools And Horses. Emblazoned with company name, ‘Trotters Independent Traders’, the van shuttled the boys and some of their most outlandish products down to market. Think blow-up dolls, fire-damaged woks and dry-clean-only raincoats. This time next year they’ll be millionaires….
The Mystery Machine
First appearing in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? way back in 1969, the bumper Ford Econoline was adorned with the flower power and psychedelia of the era. Playing home to Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Fred and Daphne, the van was pretty much the sixth member of Mystery Inc. and shuttled those pesky, meddling kids from crime to crime. The van was also perfect for carrying anything the teenage detectives needed in their latest quest, be it Shaggy’s sandwiches, scooby snacks or Fred’s booby traps.
Walter White’s Campervan
Perhaps TV’s most famous portable meth lab, Walter White’s 1986 Fleetwood Bounder became an instant icon when it exploded onto our screens on Breaking Bad in 2008. The camper became a recurring motif from the pilot episode in which Walt and Jesse drive out to cook meth in the New Mexico desert. Later, the van crashed into a ditch with Walt left standing bereft in his underpants, which remains one of the show’s most enduring images.
Postman Pat’s Van
The first animated entry on this list is no less iconic. Taking loose styling cues from the 1980 Lambretta William Voiturette, Postman Pat’s van became a stop-motion classic of children’s television until its final season in 2017. In the series, Pat would traverse the valley of Greendale, delivering letters and helping locals. Its boxy shape wasn’t the most aerodynamic, but bearing the personalised plate PAT 1, it was the ever-reliable vehicle for Pat and his black and white cat Jess.
If you’re considering purchasing a van or reviewing some of your van leasing options, take inspiration from some of these all-time classics. Whether for business or pleasure, driving a van needn’t be dull.