A Brief History of Midwest Vans Ltd.
Midwest Vans Ltd was founded in spring 1972. The club started as many did then, blue collar workers and returning vets looking for a place to hang out and party with their friends. Vans were purchased as inexpensive transportation, and a way to go camping and cruising. Flyers were printed and windshields were plastered. On a Sunday in March, in a park at 159th and Torrence, across from River Oaks mall, the seeds were planted. From there, it has been a long and winding road. Later that year, there was an announcement in Hot Rod Magazine about a national gathering of van owners in Tiger Run, Colorado. 20 MVL members made the trip. Only Vans Ltd. from California had more vans there(21). At the event, Terry Cook had the idea to form the words "Keep on Truckin" with Vans. MVL formed the "on" and got their first national media exposure. MVL is spelled out in beer cans on the roof of George Kettell's Dodge in the photo.
Upon returning from the event, recruiting was in full swing, and the club was growing rapidly. Nearly 200 members attended the 2nd anniversary party in 1974, and shortly thereafter, the club hosted its first truck-in, Memorial Day Weekend, 1974. In the meantime, politics was becoming a larger part of vanning, and MVL had spawned a few "breakoff" clubs; Windy City Vans and Just Truckin were among the first.
Due to the geography involved, and the logistics of managing a now 500 member club, in 1975, the MVL Van Council was formed. Chapters were started in all the areas of the suburbs, with the idea to have monthly meetings of the "Board of Directors", while each chapter would hold weekly meetings in their own area. The voting on the council level was held on a 2 votes per chapter system, giving each chapter an equal voice, regardless of the chapter's size. This setup is still in place today.
On the road, MVL was quickly establishing a reputation as one of the largest and most visible clubs around. Membership peaked in 1977 at over 750 vans, and the club's truck-in that year was the largest one ever held, with over 7000 vans at Monticello, Indiana. On the national scene, MVL was truckin' to events all over North America, and was awarded the largest attending club trophy at the Nationals for most of the years from 1975 through the 1990s. In 1976-77, Arnold Wolfe traveled with MVL members and wrote a book about it - "Vans and Vanners". At one point, MVL members were NSVA reps for Indiana and Northern Illinois, writers for "Custom Vans", "Vanews", "Van and Truckin News", and "Vans and Trucks" magazines, and National directors for NAVA.The club currently has members serving on both the National Truck-in Board and the Council of Councils Board.
MVL has hosted the 6th National Truck-In, 31 Memorial Day Truck-ins, the Truckin' Magazine Nationals, and well over 200 road rallies, hall parties, van shows, and small events. In addition to helping host the 2003 Council of Councils (as an active member of DIVC), MVL has, and continues to provide help and support to various clubs, councils, and events on a national, regional, and local level.