The 1970’s was a time of transition in the automotive world. Soaring gas prices, the first bloom of emissions control requirements, and the end of the original musclecar era meant that people had to come up with a new definition of an “interesting” car.
Since going fast was now off the table, manufacturers worldwide sought to turn their automotive offerings into “lifestyle vehicles,” where the car part was incidental to whatever other activity you engaged in.
In the US, that activity was often sex or drug related (though the OEM’s would never actually say as much) so America ended up with a custom van conversion craze. In Australia, Volkswagen had at least the drug part covered, as documented in the words of a familiar Aussie folk tune:
For the wholesome, non-stoner surfing crowd, however, Holden had the Sandman panel van. Looking like a day-glow hearse more than anything else, it was marketed as the perfect companion to a beach lifestyle.
Now, thanks to Jalopnik, we have become aware of how Red Bull Racing Australia and Holden commissioned Triple Eight Race Engineering in Brisbane to create the re-imagined Sandman V8 Supercar concept shown here.
More than just an homage to a bygone era, this long-roof is actually a technology demonstrator for paddle shift transmissions and throttle-by-wire, two features commonly found on today’s road cars but still absent from V8 Supercars. While it might not be the best vehicle for camping at the beach, we still love the modern Sandman, carbon fiber surfboards and all.