What Is VANkulture?
If you've ever attended either of the Wekfest events or any local import car show, chances are you've come across what is known as "VANkulture." Once you see the unmistakable "VK" logo, it's safe to assume that a row of modified vans aren't far away. But what does it really mean? Why do people willingly modify vans? What is VANkulture?
Is it a belief in the almighty being of third-row-seating? The tradition of operating dual sliding doors? The art of being one with the swagger wagon? Quite the contrary, actually; it's much simpler than that. VANkulture allows automotive enthusiasts to share their passion for both cars and family in one integrated lifestyle.
Most members were highly respected tuners of the import car world and have been since well in their teen years. Fast forward a decade or two later, and most of these guys have families and new priorities. They are all happy — in most cases happier now — but it's a different kind of happy. Finally selling that two-door coupe you've spent years building to make room for a new van that fits the entire family isn't always the easiest move to make, but you know it's an easy decision. The VANkulture movement helps scratch the itch of the tuner bug by finding ways to modify vans. Just like when you would search the internet to find the right size Recaro bucket seat for your track car, you will start to look up which wheels will match the Recaro baby seats you recently bought. You will never grow out of the import car scene; you just grow up within it.
Needless to say, those part of VANkulture will never be compared to the typical soccer parent. Most of the time, vans are modified simply (and I use that term lightly) as air suspension, fancy wheels and some type of roof storage. But at the other end of the spectrum, the heavy hitters can be seen with full VIP style modifications: JDM conversions, luxury interiors from seats to the headliners, LEDs inside and out, VIP tables and accessories, stereo system and/or air suspension display and much, much more.
Officially, VANkulture was established in 2012 in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it has recently grown worldwide, reaching areas such as Canada, Japan, Philippines and Indonesia. Don't be surprised if you visit your local park and see a row of modified vans with kids running around and eating ice cream while some older dudes are hanging out and laughing; that's just a sign that VANkulture has found you.