Joe Madonia

My Vanning interests started in 1971, while my brother was away in the service his Hot Rod magazines were still coming to the house. The van in the mags were an immediate attraction to me, and my love grew from there. I started a scrapbook of pictures cut from the pages of Hot Rod and never looked back. A friend of mine had a van that he delivered pizza’s in and I rode along a lot with him in 73 and early 74. He went on vacation in early 74 to California and brought me back lots of pictures of vans out west and man was I hooked !

I bought my first van, a 1967 Econoline in 1974. It was an old Marathon oil delivery van. It needed a lot of work and TLC and spending time on it was all I wanted to do. The interior was done in 2x4 carpet samples, and my brother painted it black for me.

I attended a lot of local van events and shows and joined Action Vans of Michigan in the summer of 1975. I attempted to go to the 3rd Nationals in Kentucky that year but my van was not yet ready for the journey. I was never the same after that. My first truckin was the 4th annual N.S.V.A. National truckin in 1976 and I have not missed the Nationals since. 2007 marks 32 Nationals in a row.

In 1976 I bought my second van. A 1974 Econoline I called the Royal Coach. This van would change my life. I attended more than 200 Truckins in ten years, seeing most of the U.S. and parts of Canada in it. In May of 1979 the Royal Coach was featured on the cover of Vans and Trucks magazine. The magazine coverage and the numerous awards, the traveling and the lifelong friends I have made have been the highlight of my life.

In 1979 I moved to the east side of Detroit and joined Breezin Easy Van Club, holding an officers position every year I was in the club. During those years I produced our club newsletter called the Vanity Fair and was the West Lake Erie Van Council rep. In 1983 I appointed to the National Truckin Board and still hold that position till this day.

In 1988 I was chairman of the Council of Councils held in Detroit Michigan. Records still stand as the largest attended, most seated for the inaugural banquet and the coldest. It was also the last to be covered by a national magazine. (Truckin)

In 1984 I bought my third van. My first new Econoline. I still have the Coach ! In 1994 I found a clean 1970 Econoline in Florida where I currently live and it is my current project. It is Mustang yellow with purple graphics and a Pink Flamingo gangster painted on it, I call it Panic in Detroit. I also own a 1985 Chevy van.

Since 1990 I have been responsible for most of the National Truckin collectible memorabilia . I have been in on the latest collectable rage of van toy collecting from the start and produce a newsletter called the Van Toy Collector.

It has always been a dream of mine to see a museum of Vanning history. I have amassed the largest collection of Vanning memorabilia in the world with the hope that someday there would be a place for it all for Vanners to enjoy. Phase one of that dream is now a reality. A large portion of the collection is now on display in a special addition I have put on my house. I welcome all of you to please visit. Hopefully someday soon, the next phase of my dream will become a reality, a large building housing the entire collection and a Vanner Hall of Fame ! I have owned a van for 32 years and can never see a time that I won’t .

Keep on Vannin !!

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