Winning trophies with your van (or other car or truck) is not hard really,
and you don't need a terrible amount of money to buy everything JC Whitney
has in their catalog. The trick toward showing your van is NOT how
much junk you can cram in the 174 cubic feet of space the Astro offers,
but how well you make what you have look good! Here are several good
pointers to keep in mind if you want to enter your van in Show-N-Shines.
The whole idea behind a custom van is to allow you to be transported to
a differrent place, not only physically, but emotionally. A custom
van is basically your little island of paradise on a hostile highway full
of ballistic yuppies in expensive imported SUV's
Have a Theme: Anybody can open up a catalog and pick out a bunch of custom gadgets and intall them. What makes a theme so important is that it gives your customizing a direction, and kinda organizes your work. For instance, my Astro is done up with an electronic theme, it's call the Cybervan. Woodgrain trim doesn't look quite appropriate in it, but billet alumnium does! Other themes I have seen for custom jobs include Star Wars, Jungle/wild animals, Fire/Rescue department, The Simpsons, etc. It goes on and on. Pick one that matches your interests!
Play some Music: get a CD or tape of some music fitting to your theme, and play it in your system while your van's on display. For my van, I choose to play industrial / techno music. Not only does this enhance the theme, it demonstrates your sound system too, which can give you points if it sounds pretty good. A CD is only about $12-15, so this is an easy way to enhance your "curb appeal"
Turn on the rest of your stuff: This could run your battery down quickly, so don't do it till the judges come around. Start the engine to solve this problem, which will also allow you to demonstrate the cool sound from your exhaust system upgrades!
Show your paperwork: Paperwork like the dealer's window sticker, advertisment brochures, user's and service manuals, and other such documentation are good for a few points too, especially if you have a real classic. I have some paperwork for mine that shows that this is one of 1500 built that year with the 5 speed transmission. It's neat to look at pictures from previous shows too. Get a photo album together of some of the other vans you've seen to display
Accessories give you points too! There's all kinds of neet gadgets you can put out for display with your van that will give you points. Here's a list of some of the stuff me, and other vanners carry to their shows, and display with their vans:
Maps, GPS, and other navigation aids.
Tools. The more the better.
Extra fluids, like oil, water, etc
Spare parts, such as belts and such you can use to fix a roadside breakdown
other toys and memorbilia that relates to your vehicle.