BY BETH ALLEN
I met Ted and his kitty co-pilot at the Gypsy Vanner River Run last spring, near Lake Isabella in Kern county, CA. There were a lot of vans at the run, but his really stood out to me. I just LOVE jacked up vans. And his was just so... BAD ASS. It looked like it would steamroll anything that got in it’s way. I was especially interested in all the modifications Ted had done to the van himself. With a roof rack on top, pull-out drawer under the back bumper, side shade awning, bumper hammock holder, hell, there was even a shower. Camping? No problem! I interviewed Ted about his van December 2016.
Tell us a little about yourself — name, age, where you live:
Ted Stanfield, age 47, Bakersfield, CA.
What do you do for a living?
Oil and power generation related. Valve and Instrument repair 20+ years.
Fill me in on your van stats (year, make, etc.)?
1974 Ford E-300 Quadra Van, Original Pathfinder conversion.
When did you buy it? And from where? It looked a lot different when you bought it, right?
I've owned it several years. Found it in Visalia, CA. It had the camo paint when I bought it. I liked the camo so much I kept it.
Does your van have a name?
No solid name. Co-workers call it “The Man Van.” Others refer to it as the “Cat Box” because of the mountian lion co-pilot!
Why did you want a van?
My folks had a van when I was a kid. Loved the road trips. Love the practicality and the uniqueness of each van.
Why the camo paint job?
It looks to originally have been white with green pinstripe. I actually found a picture before I bought it that had the camo paint and US Army with a white star on each door. That had been painted over when I got it.
Do you hunt? Fish? Your van looks like you would!
I do enjoy both hunting and fishing. Most of my hunting now is for lost people with Kern County Search and Rescue.
Where did you get the lion head that I’ve seen in the passenger window? Is that always in there?
I found the mountain lion on ebay in the taxidermy section. It stays co-pilot most of the time.
So you weld, how long have you been doing that?
Growing up on a ranch, my Pop and Grandpa were both good welders, I learned early on about both welding and some blacksmithing.
You have done a lot of customizing on your van, can you go over each thing, front to back, top to bottom, what’s it all for?
Front disc brake conversion, took about two months to source the correct parts. Glass shift knob was from the 110 year old cabin on my families property. I built my roof rack at 10 feet long 5 feet wide by 10 inches deep. The ladder I built has since been permanetly mounted behind the rear drivers side tire. I have a 4 x 10 foot long solar heated hot water storage on the roof. It can be gravity fed or pressurized. I also have a 3 x 10 foot PVC pipe mounted a long side the roof rack to hold my awning poles. Passenger side above side doors I have an 8 foot long roll up awning that extends out 9 feet. Custom rear bumper I built from wall box tube with back up lights and a 5 foot pull out drawer inside it for tool storage. I added to the rear bumper another 2 inch receiver hitch facing the passenger side on the end of the bumper. The van also has two two inch receiver hitches in the front. I built custom brackets that plug into both receivers and allow me to hang a hammock parallel to the van. In the belly box of the van I have two deep cycle batteries and a 1000 watt inverter. LED rope lighting inside the van. I also have a second 23 gallon fuel tank. I also have a custom rear receiver/bumper mounted motorcycle carrier for our Suzuki Dr-200.
Any future customizing plans you still want to do, the inside of your van is kind of bare, anything in mind for the interior?
Still thinking of the total layout. Looked at folding beds today. Just bought a two burner stove/oven combo. Looking at solar panels for the roof. Also stripping and insulating the interior.
How often do you drive your van?
It’s not my daily driver although sometimes for several weeks at a time If my truck is down. Just joined some other vanners to give away toys on Christmas morning. Great fun traveling with a group.
What are your favorite places to take your van?
Favorite places to go are Lake Isabella, Kern River and our family ranch to camp.
Any other past vans you’ve owned?
This is my first van although my parents had a 1972 Ford van they bought in 74 and had until 1986.
You are a Gypsy vanner, right? How long has the Gypsy vanner non-club been around?
That is correct, One of the original founding members. We've been around approximately five years.
Do you go to vanning events?
As time allows, definitly the Gypsy river runs. We also do a few car shows as well as toy runs every year
What other kinds of wheels do you roll? (RV? motorcycle? skateboard? etc...)
F-250, KTM 990 Adventure bike, Polaris RZR customized heavily by myself for Search and Rescue. Suzuki DR 250.
Sky’s the limit, describe your ULTIMATE wet dream van—or are you already building it?!
This van is semi-limited in suspension capabilities. I do love the look of this van and it a great project. Ultimite vehicle would be an Earthroamer XV-HD.
What are some must have tunes to crank while cruising in your van?
Can’t resist AC/DC, Iron Maiden or some Santana when camping.
Ford, Chevy or Dodge?
Bleed Ford forever!
Ass, gas or grass?
Van sex is the best, (I've been married 21 years, still rocking it!) the van loves gas. Nothing but tequila for me.
Any other comments for DON’T COME KNOCKIN’?
Thanks for doing what you do and thanks for having a look at my van.
Rock on Beth!!
PICTURED ABOVE: (Top to Bottom) Many views of “The Man Van.”