Sandman Panel Van

On the 16 November 2000, Sydney International Motor Show:

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.

Based on the VU Holden Ute the one-off special Holden Sandman is the result of a creative collaboration with Australian surf and streetwear company, Mambo.

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."

Dare Jennings, Creative Director, Mambo, said a significant year for the company had been made even more special by the invitation from Holden to participate in this exciting project.

"The Holden Sandman represents one of the most important eras in the motoring and cultural history of Australia. Certainly many of us here at Mambo have a strong sentimental, even spiritual attachment to this much-loved classic having owned one, in the case of several staff members, or having been conceived in one, in the case of several junior staff members.

"We look forward to seeing highways throughout Australia eventually gridlocked by a whole new generation of Sandmen and women," Dare Jennings concluded.


1 - 5.7 litre Gen III V8

2 - 19 Inch alloy wheels

3 - 'Burnin' Love' paint theme

4 - DVD/VCD/CD player

5 - 'Beach and Bush Goddess' mural

6 - Harrop brakes

7 - Retro Sandman graphic

8 - 16 additional speakers

9 - 'Chill Out Zone' rear compartment

10 - Mambo badging


Features and specifications

Control and Handling
5.7 litre Generation III alloy V8 engine
19" alloy wheels
Translucent red Harrop brakes with milled Mambo Napstel logo
Translucent red engine cover
Custom 3 tone 'Burnin' Love' flame job
Original David McKay 'beach and bush goddess' murals
Black bezel headlamps
Sandman retro tailgate graphic
Mambo badging
Tinted windows
One-off Mambo design short board
'Burnin' Love' themed cabin in red leather, tangerine suede and orange velour
Flame appliqued suede seats with piped leather
Translucent red instrument fascia
'Bushfire alert' instrument cluster
Black & orange leather trim steering wheel with Mambo Optimism motif Airbag cover with Mambo Optimism motif
Hot velour rear 'chill out' space with freeform seating
'Flame persuader' fire extinguisher
Custom designed flame motif roof lining
Concealed aircraft-style cabin lighting
Additional warm mood lighting