Van restorer brings A game

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Kelvin Laing, of Allanton, and his A-Team-themed 1977 Bedford CF van. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Kelvin Laing, of Allanton, talks to Shawn McAvinue about his 1977 Bedford CF Van.

How long have you owned it?

I bought it off a guy who I was in a Dunedin van club with – Whisky City Vans – about 20
years ago. It was pretty rough when I bought it – it had lots of rust and its paint was cracked. I took it off the road for six years while I stripped it back to bare metal and did it up.

Were you always going to make it look like the van owned by Sergeant Bosco Albert “B.A.” Baracus, a character from the television series The A-Team?

I was always planning on painting it black and then I decided to add a red stripe of paint with a thunderbolt to make it a little bit different to his van.

Are you a fan of The A-Team?

Yeah, I love it.

Who did the mural on the back?

My mate Dave at ABFX and Auto Panelbeaters.

Have you finished doing the van up?

Pretty much. I’d like to put some power steering in it. It has got a little steering wheel and big tyres and a big engine sitting over it, so it’s very heavy.

What’s the transmission and engine?

It’s automatic and it has a 307 Chev V8 and a 120-litre lpg tank. It’s cheap to run. It originally had a 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine.

Is the bed in the back comfortable to sleep in?
It’s all right for one person – if you lie on an angle.

What do you use the van for?

As a cruiser – it doesn’t get out of the garage a lot. Between its last two Wofs it had travelled about 200km.

What sort of reaction does it get when you’re out?

You get a big reaction wherever you go.

Does your effigy of B.A. Baracus always go on the ride?

I put him in the driver’s seat when I go to car shows and people talk to him.

How much have you insured it for?

About $23,000, but these tidy old Bedfords are getting to be worth a bit of money now so it’s probably a bit under-insured. Customised vans are not everyone’s cup of tea and it’s only worth what someone is willing to pay.

What is the meaning behind the number plate 4PUMPN?
It’s a nod to the van having a big stereo system in it.

What is the appeal of owning a van?

I like the look of them. I bought my first one when I was 17 – a Transit van with a 351 V8 engine in it.

What your favourite B.A. Baracus quote?

“I pity the fool.”