Dean and Hayley Lavers have restored an electric blue 1974 HQ Belmont panel van

VAN LOVERS: Dean and Hayley Lavers with their restored 1974 HQ Belmont panel van. They've done all the restoration work themselves in a farm shed. Photo: Supplied.
VAN LOVERS: Dean and Hayley Lavers with their restored 1974 HQ Belmont panel van. They've done all the restoration work themselves in a farm shed. Photo: Supplied.

When planning a camping trip most people buy a tent and a kettle but Dean and Hayley Lavers went one better and bought themselves a panel van.

I recently caught up with them at their home near Millthorpe to find out a bit more of the story.

"It was around about 2007 when we were planning a trip to Tassie that we decided to look for a van," Hayley said.

"We already had an HQ ute, wagon and Monaro so there was no question on the van - it had to be an HQ."

Ironically, when they found this one for sale in Kiama it had made the trip there from Tasmania so maybe that was fate.

"It had a huge Aussie flag sticker down the side, the back was decked out in neoprene wetsuit material, it was full of sand, and it stunk like fish," Dean laughed.

"Underneath was very original with minimal rust, so we drove it home and started the restoration."

It had a huge Aussie flag sticker...the back was decked out in neoprene wetsuit material, was full of sand, and it stunk like fish.

Dean Lavers

It's a 1974 HQ Belmont panel van and Dean and Hayley decided on a Sandman tribute theme initially with the Sandman eyebrow stripes and GTS rims and fitted a bull bar for the trip down south.

"All vans seem to have a name and we called it Wild Blue Yonder and the locals in Tassie love HQ vans we found out, so we got treated like royals" the pair chuckled.

That trip and a few others out west had them cemented in the van scene and for the 2015 Van Nationals in Bathurst, Dean and Hayley decided on a slightly different look.

"We had some fun and went with a bit of a B and S look with bull bar, side skirts, wide Dragways and a 253 V8.

"That didn't go so well really, the 253 only made it 300 metres down the road before it went bang and punched a hole in the sump so we had to source another engine and start again," laughed Dean.

To their credit, Dean and Hayley have done all the work themselves in a farm shed. They're members of the Central West Car Club which is based in Parkes and meets regularly once a month plus holds organised car runs and a monthly social street meet for members and guests.

For more about the club you can search http://www.centralwestcarclub.com/ or find on Facebook.

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