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Don and Becky Noone Resurrect 1976 Ford Van from 18 Year Slumber

Custom wood interior for the "Pirates of the Caravan"
Custom wood interior for the "Pirates of the Caravan"
One year after graduating High School in 1975, Don and Becky Noone of Kansas City, Kansas, transformed their 1971 Chevy into a show van they called "Knights in White Satin." This move soon turned into a lifestyle of vanning that would include customizing the common van and attending van shows around the U.S. and Canada. The couple started the Vantasia Van Club in 1976 and have been hosting the Springfever Van-In since 1976. "Knights in White Satin" was later stripped down and converted into the "Rocky Van."
Don and Becky Noone's "Pirates of the Caravan" with K&N custom air cleaner assembly
Don and Becky Noone's "Pirates of the Caravan" with K&N custom air cleaner assembly

In February, 2007, the couple purchased a 1976 Ford van from an old friend in Des Moines, Iowa. This van had not been out of the garage in over 18 years. After pushing the van out of the garage and winching it onto a trailer, Don Noone was on his way home to begin a resurrection that would turn this ordinary van into a showpiece.

This was only the beginning for Noone. "The paint was in bad shape, tires dry rotted and the carpet and upholstery needed to be replaced," Noone stated. "A gallon of paint thinner had fallen on the hood and the interior wood was very dry and needed oil."

The van was sent to a local mechanic to get it in running condition. This required a lot of work, including a radiator, master cylinder, gas tanks, wires, plugs, wheels, tires and brakes.

After getting the van in running condition, Noone took the outside wood, molding and emblems off of the vehicle. He then installed new 16" wheels and tires he purchased from a local tire shop.
"Pirates of the Caravan" was built from the ground up
"Pirates of the Caravan" was built from the ground up

It was time to begin the body transformation process. Noone took the van to a body shop where a fellow club member was the service manager. The crew began by blasting the van with baking soda to completely strip the paint down to bare metal. Next, they welded all of the holes left from the outer molding and emblems while taking care not to set fire to the interior of the van. Once the body work was complete, they applied a base coat of blue paint.

Noone transferred the van to a local motorcycle shop where four skilled artists painted the mural and artwork that covers the van. Back at the body shop, they applied the final coats of clear paint and buffed out the finish.

"I took off all of the door panels and seats and had them reupholstered," Noone said. "I also painted the batteries to look like wooden boxes and the trailer hitch to look like wood." Noone installed the newly upholstered door panels along with new carpet in the van. "I ordered a tilt steering column and wheel then had it painted to look like wood," he said, "Along with the windshield wipers, door straps, shocks, and anything I could find under the hood."

Noone installed two moving fish lights on the back side of the port holes and had some upper back door panels made with pirate heads in them. "The spare tire originally laid flat under the couch," Noone said. "I cut out a place for the tire and made a bracket to hold it upright. This made room for storage under the couch."

A local audio shop was the next to get the van. They installed power windows, power door locks, Jensen 7" flip down touch screen DVD player in the dash, 10" rear flip down monitor, Low Lux night vision rear camera, Rockford Fosgate 6.5 coaxial in rear with components set in front, MTX 300 watt mono sub amp, MTX Thunder 500 watt 12" sub woofer and Dakota digital clock & temperature gauge in the overhead console.

LED lighting was installed in the tube grill, around the back window and under the van to help accent the theme. Don and Becky Noone named their new van "Pirates of the Caravan."

The "Pirates of the Caravan" is equipped with K&N custom air cleaner assembly 60-1300. "I like the performance of my K&N assembly," Noone said. "I like the looks too."

Noone's K&N equipped "Pirates of the Caravan" has won numerous awards. He has attended many car shows including World of Wheels, Everything on Wheels, Truck-In's Lone Stars, CIV Van-In, Three Trails Van-In, E-Z-Life Van-In, Woody Boogie Van-In, Fast Lanes Vans, Midwest All Truck Nationals and a lot more.

Don and Becky Noone enjoy their many adventures together. "As you can tell we love vanning," Noone said. "We enjoy showing our van not only for the awards but to see people's reactions and promote vanning."

Find K&N products for your vehicle using the application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

Custom 1976 Ford Van known as "Pirates of the Caravan"
"Pirates of the Caravan" with doors and hood open "Pirates of the Caravan" uses K&N air cleaner assembly "Pirates of the Caravan" display K&N at Van Show Custom interior of the "Pirates of the Caravan" Custom paint took months to complete Major modifiactions went in to the "Pirates of the Caravan"


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