Holden took the wraps off a spectacular design concept that pays modern homage to a fondly remembered automotive icon of the seventies - the Sandman Panel Van.
The Sandman features a ‘Bushfire’ custom paint finish in the blazing combination of red, orange and tangerine. There’s a new retro style Sandman graphic on the tailgate, and spray-painted on its sides are updated Mambo versions of the traditional panel van mural. Depicting uniquely Australian ‘beach and bush goddess’ themes, they are interpretations of original paintings by Mambo project art director, David McKay.
The Sandman interior is equally extravagant. The rear compartment, referred to as a ‘chill out zone’, has been transformed into a lush, plush relaxation space with freeform seating and a surround sound mobile theatre system that’s anything but a blast from the past.
In the cabin, Mambo’s ‘Burnin’ Love’ interior theme extends to flame appliqued red leather, tangerine suede and orange velour seats and custom touches such as a translucent red instrument facia and bushfire alert instrument cluster.
Holden’s Executive In Charge of Design, Michael Simcoe, says the Sandman panel van concept began as a sketch doodled in 1997 by young designer Andrew Smith, who was working on the new VU Holden Ute program.
"We liked the idea – not as a serious design project, but because we saw it as a chance for Holden to take a light-hearted look at the past and at itself. But the Sandman didn’t really get off the ground until we conceived the idea of sharing it with Mambo," he said.
"As I see it, here you have two Australian legends getting together and having fun. Mambo’s a cutting edge company with a whimsical outlook on life, while we tend to be a little more on the conservative side. When two talented design teams approach a task from entirely different directions, you’re bound to get a pretty amazing result."
"This is a recreational vehicle concept that’s not so far off the wall that you couldn’t build a more practical, roadgoing version," Michael Simcoe continued. "Everybody who worked on the Sandman concept got a big creative kick out it. They had a lot of fun, and it shows."