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Shag Wagon

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You've seen it on the road, or (more likely) in a parking lot with the sound of either Led Zeppelin or a sexophone coming from the speakers and smoke that ain't tobacco coming out the windows and doors. It's a classic full-size work van, but it's definitely not being used as a work vehicle, unless you're talking about The Oldest Profession. Most of the interior behind the front seats has been gutted and replaced with camper-like living quarters, often with such amenities as a bed, a TV, a mini fridge, and shag carpeting, where a bunch of people can smoke cannabis and get laid. It may have a custom paint job lifted straight off the cover of a Heavy Metal album or a High Fantasy novel, filled with Rated M for Manly imagery like dragons, demons, fire, lightning, barbarian warriors, and scantily-clad women. Either that, or it has a lot of earth-tone stripes, spirals, and arrows running down the length of the vehicle. And its owner has probably given it a sweet name, possibly printed on the side of the van. Remember: if the van's a-rockin', Don't Come A-Knockin'.

As for the owner, he (and it's usually a he) usually falls into one of two categories. First, he's probably either working-class or a Lower-Class Lout, decidedly countercultural in his tastes (often a metalhead), and likely to be somebody's cool older cousin or sibling. Second, he's The Casanova who uses his van as a rolling bachelor pad or private room to get laid, or at least a Casanova Wannabe who tries to.

In short, you're looking at a Shag Wagon.

Also known as a conversion van, a sin bin, or a shag cart, a Shag Wagon is similar to a Hippie Van and can be seen as its successor, but has some key differences. First, and most importantly, you probably won't find actual hippies around it, but a crowd whose idea of free living is more about Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll than peace and love. Second, a Shag Wagon typically (though not always) puts a greater emphasis on creature comforts, whereas a Hippie Van is typically more utilitarian. Furthermore, while a Hippie Van is usually either a Volkswagen Type 2 or (less commonly) a converted school bus, a proper Shag Wagon is usually an all-American Chevrolet, Dodge, or Ford van. Finally, while the Hippie Van is a symbol of The '60s, the Shag Wagon and the associated van culture are both deeply associated with The '70s. American automakers at the time were fully aware of what their vans were being used for and eagerly exploited this trope, marketing their vans as being built for "cruising" and even making their own factory conversion packages.

A Boyfriend-Blocking Dad will not take kindly to his daughter's date showing up in one of these, as it broadcasts loud and clear what his intentions are.

A type of Pimped-Out Car. Very likely to be a Cool Car or at least thought of as such by its owner. Often used as a form of Vehicle-Based Characterization, to show that its owner holds libertine views on sex and drug use. Contrast the Van in Black, the Creepy Stalker Van, and the Mommy Mobile.


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    Films — Animated 
  • In Onward, the protagonist Ian Lightfoot's older brother Barley drives a van that he calls Guinevere, which has a pegasus painted on the side and Barley's living quarters in the back. It's The Alleged Car, but Barley still treats it as The Precious, Precious Car, until he sacrifices it so that he and Ian can complete their quest without getting arrested. He replaces it with a new van, Guinevere II, at the end.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Harry from Dumb and Dumber has a customized van... modded to resemble a dog's head, complete with fake fur all over it. He runs a mobile pet-grooming service out of the back, but he's also dumb enough to think he can use it to pick up chicks. He outright calls the van his "shaggin' wagon" while attempting to flirt with a woman at a gas station.
  • Sam in Ginger Snaps drives a yellow Chevrolet Astro that he uses to run over the werewolf that bit Ginger. The tools on the roof and in the back indicate that he does in fact use it as a work vehicle, but some of his classmates also use it as a place to privately get stoned.
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: Jay and Silent Bob, while hitchhiking to Hollywood, come across a group that are clearly parodies of the crew from Scooby-Doo. They try to soothe an argument with the group by offering them "doobie snacks", i.e. pot, in the back of a large van that's suspiciously not the Mystery Machine.
  • The band Low Shoulder in Jennifer's Body travel in one. It doubles as a Creepy Stalker Van given how they use it to lure in underage fans, including Jennifer, who they sacrifice to Satan in order to make it big.
  • Kill Bill has a pickup truck being used for this purpose. After waking up in a hospital bed and killing the orderly who raped her and pimped her out while she was in a coma, Beatrix steals the orderly's truck, a customized yellow Chevrolet Silverado with the words "Pussy Wagon" printed on the sides and the tailgate in funky pink lettering. She is visibly disgusted by it and insults its late owner when she sees it. Given the film's Genre Throwback to '70s martial arts movies, Quentin Tarantino was likely invoking this trope, even if the Pussy Wagon wasn't actually a van.
  • Slick in Prom Night (1980) drives one that he uses to try and run over the killer, who instead hitches an Outside Ride on it that ends with the van getting blown up and Slick and Jude killed.
  • In the opening of Scooby-Doo (2002), it's revealed that Shaggy and Scooby turned the Mystery Machine into one of these after Mystery, Inc. broke up, living in the van along the beach while getting "toasted" (actually cooking burgers inside, but the film pulls a Getting Crap Past the Radar joke with smoke billowing out the van before the reveal).
  • Sin Bin is about a teenage virgin who loans out his old Dodge van to his classmates for them to have sex in.
  • The '70s, the peak of the van craze, saw a wave of "vansploitation" films (mostly in the Sex Comedy genre) about free-wheeling guys who drove around in vans and enjoyed a lifestyle of abundant sex. This article goes into more detail.
    • Blue Summer (aka Love Truck), the 1973 film that's often held to have invented the genre, is about two beer-swilling young men who use their van, nicknamed the Meat Wagon and boasting a custom floral paint job, to pick up chicks.
    • The 1976 film C.B. Hustlers is about a prostitution ring that operates out of a pair of these, traveling up and down Interstate 5 on the West Coast and doing sexual favors for truckers and other travelers.
    • The 1976 film Supervan is about a man who enters his highly customized van, the Sea Witch, into a contest. He loses his van while in the process of saving a runaway from a group of rapist bikers, leading to his friend loaning him the titular "supervan" Vandora, which boasts such features as solar panels and a laser cannon.
    • The 1977 film The Van is about a nerdy guy who buys a shag wagon called the Straight Arrow upon graduating high school so he can land the girl of his dreams, only to find his best friend getting more use out of it than he does.
  • The main characters in X have a more subtle example than most. They drive a van with only the words "Plowing Service" written on the side, seemingly innocuous until you realize that they're the cast and crew of a pornographic film.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Hitchcock and Scully drive around in a old van which is a relic from a bygone era inside and out. Hitchcock calls it "The Beaver Trap", which is painted in very large letters on the outside. When Jake and Charles have to drive it, they feel very skeevy and regret not taking an Uber.
  • Friends: When Monica and Phoebe are setting up a catering business they buy a van to use as transport. The van they get was originally one of these judging by the mural of a busty woman with light-up nipples riding a dragon that's airbrushed on the side. In the extended cut of the episode Rachel jokes it might be the van she lost her virginity in.
  • That '70s Show: Kelso bought his uncle's used van for this very purpose.

  • The 1973 Sammy Johns song "Chevy Van" is about, well, getting laid in a Chevrolet van. It is often credited with popularizing vans as symbols of the '70s counterculture.

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto Online: At Benny's Original Motor Works, you can get the Declasse Moonbeam (based on the Chevrolet Astro) and the Vapid Minivan (based on the Dodge Caravan) customized into one of these.
  • Interstate '76 and its console spinoff Vigilante 8, both Genre Throwbacks to '70s Exploitation Film tropes, naturally have these. The former has the GrooVan driven by the mechanic Skeeter, while the latter has the hippie-ish UFO enthusiast Dave drive one of these (called simply the Van in the original game, and the Groovan in the Updated Re-release for the Xbox 360).

    Visual Novels 
  • Nukitashi: Seiran Island features magic mirror vans. While not as pimped-out as other examples, they are still designed to transport people having sex inside. Thanks to the special mirrors, the procreators can see what's outside, but people from outside can't see them. The vans are Misaki's vehicle of choice for escaping the SHO and in her route the NLNS use them to pick up lots of girls for Junnosuke.

    Western Animation 
  • In Archer, the Mad Scientist Krieger has owned a succession of these kind of vans, each one with a different Rush mural painted on the side. At least one Cutaway Gag has shown that Krieger uses these vans for sex, in addition to his less seemly activities.
    Malory: I swear, if anyone saw me in this awful van—!
    Lana: How could they with this illegal-ass window tint? Dude, this van's, like, rolling probable cause.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Dawn of the Eds", the Eds use a dilapidated van in a junkyard as their base while reenacting the R-rated movie they couldn't see in theaters, one equipped with a stereo, shag carpeting, and a water bed.
  • Justice League: In "Eclipsed", the Flash uses money he earned as an advertising spokesman to buy one of these. Green Lantern questions why a speedster would need a vehicle before realizing that he probably doesn't want to know.