Beloved van seeking its family history

TRUE COLOURS: Dragen Lady in her Nambucca Valley prime
TRUE COLOURS: Dragen Lady in her Nambucca Valley prime

Do you recognise this iconic panel van?

Apart from being one of the prestigious Summernats poster pin-up vans and featuring on the cover of Extreme magazine in December 2015, it also apparently has a long history on the Mid North Coast.

And its current owner, Al Bennett, is hoping you can help find more pieces to the puzzle.

Al bought the van from Dave Single in 1994, who got it from the yard at (Geoff King) Eastland Holden.

Before that Macksville local Peter Alaban owned it, having bought it from Nambucca Valley Motors. Back another step, in 1978 Nambucca Heads Auto Electrician’s Chris Mitchell found the car at Casino Holden.

Macksville's Peter Alaban gets a visit from Al Bennett and 'Dragen Lady'

Macksville's Peter Alaban gets a visit from Al Bennett and 'Dragen Lady'

Al and his partner Ashleigh said they met Chris, who now lives in Ballina and also Peter, learning from the latter that it was he who put in the unique bubble windows and named her ‘Dragen Lady’.

They also heard how the velvet shag interior came from another Nambucca friend, following an accident that put his own panel van off the road. 

“It was such a well-known van around here back then and we believe there might be quite a few people with stories or photos … we’d be happy for any information,” Ashleigh said. 

The van, now called ‘Brutle’, is just about to undergo a $100,000 plus rebuild. It’s already bagged trophies for Best Holden in Australia and NSW as well as a swag of other accolades and the couple are planning to take it to the United States and New Zealand.

You can contact the couple at astuterecoveries@bigpond.com.

Impressive record:

Brutle won Top NSW Van, Top Holden Van, 4th Best in Australia, Toughest Van, Stev Abbotts (VANRAT) choice award at the 2015 Van Nationals.

Then it took out Best In Show, Best Engine Bay, Best Australian Muscle Car, Best Van/Wagon at the Port Motor Mania 2015.

It was ‘Car of the Day’ at the All Holden Day, once in 2007 and again in 2013.

Plus Best Custom at the Raceline Auto Show at the Sydney V8 Supercars at Homebush in 2015.